How to Build a Brand that Communicates Effectively?
This often times how a small business started -
Scenario 1: We created something or found our talent by accident, and family and friends told us that we should create a business around it to make money.
Scenario 2: We think that there’s a need in a market which we consider ourselves pretty familiar with, and decided to fill that gap.
Neither of this scenario involves any effort in trying to understand who we’re serving and figuring out their wants. It is totally possible that whatever we’re selling just isn’t what people need, and it is also likely that our brand message isn’t clear and people are confused. And this is why entrepreneurs and business owners run into struggles with growth.
Here are the things to get clear on to have a brand that speak clearly and that grows. If we can communicate with other people fine everyday, there shouldn’t be a reason why we can’t do the same with our business. After all, this is a business created by people for people. It shouldn’t be complicated. Branding isn’t rocket science. It’s simply about finding the system that works and is repeatable and and applicable for every part of your business..
Now, here are what you should get clear on before spending more money and time on marketing and copywriting. After spending the time to think through these, you should be very clear on your purpose and the voice of your business, and how you can serve, communicate and market better.
Let’s start from the very basics that are extremely crucial:
Who are you serving?
The most common marketing strategy now is to come up with avatars of our target customers, based on demographics, such as their age, where they live, what they do for a living, whether they’re married or have a family, etc.
While this may work for some people, our real breakthrough happened when we stop segmenting our people through this common marketing approach. Instead, we started focus on psychographic. Psychographic is about their world view, their opinions, their values, their desires in life, what they find fulfilling, their personality, their interest and behavior. We find that this works extremely more effective, unless if your offering is age, gender, or location exclusive of course.
Get clear on who you’re serving. This will go a long way. I especially love this analogy from Seth Godin: You don’t make a key and try to find the door that works, Your find the door you want to open, and make the key for it.
Spend time to think through exactly what type of people do you want serve, beyond just demographic. For example, if you want to serve small business owners, think about what industries are they in, what’s their day in a life look like, what do they value, what niche are they in. And if you’re serving individuals, like students, moms, or young professionals, the same thing applies, think beyond their location, more about their lifestyle. It is impossible that your solution solves everyone’s problem, so be specific, and serve them extremely well.
What are their needs vs wants?
Now that you have a better idea on who you want to be serving, next is to think about their wants. This also was a turning point for us. There is often a difference between what your people want versus what you think they need.
For example, a luxury watch maker may think that a good quality watch should be made with craftsmanship, top notch engineering, and premium components, whereas the people looking for luxury watches simply are looking for a social status upgrade and the feeling of a superior lifestyle. They usually think that the engineering excellence just comes with an expensive watch, but that’s not the reason why they want a luxury watch.
Now , you should obviously still give them all the fantastic practical attributes you wanted to give them, but you sell them what they need, which is the status. So, market them what they actually want, and give them what you think they need with it. This is only a mindset switch, but it is so powerful when it comes to marketing your offering.
What can you offer?
Know the gifts you have. There are two pats to this.
First, is your hard skills, These are the ones you usually put on your resume, the skills that you’ve built through school, years of training, and perhaps you previous jobs. This is also tied to how we identify ourselves - a coder, photographer, painter, marketer, designer, writer, film maker, makeup artist, accountant, lawyer, doctor, etc. These are skills that you can continue to get better at, but so can other people. This is your tool of serving.
Second, is your soft skills. Think of these as your gifts that you're born with. They are often times tied to your personality. They evolve, but usually over a very long period of time. These soft skills are often what people tend to neglect. But they are so crucial in defining your brand voice, and finding your differentiator. Once you get clear on your soft skills, you’ll communicate more effectively, and have the power to create, market, and deliver your offerings in ways that are unique and are the reason why people choose you over everyone else.
Knowing your soft kills, combined with your people’s needs and wants, you’ll have the power to create an attractive and personal solution for those you seek to serve.
Why you exist?
This is the reason why many people who have been running their businesses for years now are still struggling to grow. Know your purpose as a brand, and the mission you’re working towards. You Brand Purpose and Brand Mission should be very clear from the start. Your purpose and mission can evolve over time, but they should be clear at any point in time. Otherwise, the services or products you spent so much time created will be lost in translation, and they will simply be keys that don’t have any door to open.
Again, being clear on why your business exist and how it adds value to the world and to your people will help you find your door to open, and empowers you to create the key, or solution, the will open the door.
Who’s the hero here?
Don’t forget that your business isn’t about you, it’s about the people you’re serving. I especially love how Donald Miller puts it in his book Building A Story Brand.
Every person is on his or her own journey. We all have a story, and we’re the hero of our own story. As a business, who’s purpose is to help solve a problem either with a product or a service, you’re a guide, a mentor on their journey. You are creating a turning point with them, but you are not the hero. Your audience is. This is about making their lives better, not about how great your business is. Approaching your business this way will bring more meaningful connections, customer loyalty and trust.
Now, spend this week on getting clear on all 5 areas. Trust me, all your marketing and branding efforts that comes after this will be way easier.
I can’t wait to see more doors opened because of you!