How To Brand Yourself
We all know that in today’s age (2018), in order to have some type of presence or if you are trying to sell a product, advice or even become an influencer and get paid for your outreach a big key is branding. When someone says or thinks about your name what picture pops up in their head? The definition of branding is, “the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.” I put together 10 easy steps on how to brand yourself.
Lets dive right In.
- Define what it is you do.
By defining what it is you do or what your small business/company does helps narrow down how you will brand yourself to a specific niche and target the right audience. Break down your company by the value it provides. How others think or what impression you will have on others. What views do you want to display to the world? What is your mission statement? Answering those questions will help you to define what you do.
This can be time consuming and you wont see results right away so don’t get discouraged.
- Get a logo or something that represents you or the company. A signature could also work.
Graphic design can cost a fortune but with Fiverr you can have something designed for as low as $5. Once you get your logo you are going to want to place it everywhere and share it anywhere you feel fit. (Tip – personally I would find narrow target groups, forums, and go to meetings that fall under your niche and hand out business cards with your logo on it.)
“Your brand is what other people say about you when your not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos
Not saying that you need to wear uniforms unless you have a big crew walking around. For example, a landscaping company with all the employees wearing the logo on their polo or shirt would look more professional than going to pick up random guys wearing all types of colors in different clothing. Uniform in the way you market, how you carry yourself and even how you answer the phone.
- What does your brand sound like?
You can be the spokesperson for your brand but remember you will need to carry on your personal life and behave and act accordingly to your brands culture. Meaning you cant change hobbies or decide to check out and portray different interest outside of your market or sub-market. If that sounds like something you would do, speak in third person and always say, “we here at (company name)” etc. or anything in that fashion.
- Does your brand have a slogan?
A slogan can give your brand some character. Something that in short says what you do and how you the brand brings value to the client. For example, a marketing firm can be “brand” – “Where marketing seems effortless” followed by “Come see how.”
Marketing is a whole other world aside from just branding. We won’t get too deep into marketing your brand but strictly just creating the brand first. When making a piece of content whether it be written, picture or video, always have your logo displayed somewhere and make sure your content is always branded with your logo. For example, I bought an 80D Canon camera and recorded clips, pieced them together and used Adobe Spark to brand any content picture or video with my brand colors and logo. Spark makes it easy by storing your logo and colors and branding any content with a few simple clicks.
This would definitely fall under marketing your brand but how you build awareness will say a lot about your brand. Make sure you are building awareness that expresses how your business runs. This means hosting events. For example, if you are a nutritionist one way would be to find an influencer in lets say a yoga practitioner and provide them with some free merch (branded clothing). Add them to your email list and try building a relationship that would lead to your company hosting a yoga event. You would then be able to brand the event and have some type of space set up where people can sign up and find out more info about your company. Give away branded mats, water bottle containers, etc – get creative.
- What is your competition doing to brand themselves?
Looking at your closest competition, what are they doing that is working or what are they not doing that you can get the upper hand on? Fighters, basketball players and football players study the opponents previous matches or games to get the upper hand. Recently, Tide took a page from Old Spice and recreated their commercials to make it seem like it was theirs. In advertising, triggers make you think of a brand so when Tide used the closing whistle famously made by Old Spice, it shook up viewers because the whistle was ingrained as Old Spice but to many peoples’ surprise, it was Tide. You know the whistle I’m talking about.
What led to the creation of this brand? If your origin story touches or resinates with anyone that had a familiar path, they will feel an instant bond with the brand. Take City Insight Houston for example. A real estate firm helping local Houston real estate agents navigate from part time agents to full time agents without breaking the bank. As a real estate agent, you must work under a good brokerage. If you are a brand spanking new agent and need a lot of training and hands on help, you look for a brokerage with the most training available. All new agents have been there and at this point and know that most major brokerages that offer intensive training charge a monthly fee $$$ or a flat fee of a crazy high yearly payment plus anywhere from 60/40 -70/30% split on all commission. After training, if you need any hands on help the brokerage or lead agent helping usually requests an extra 10% of your commission. Some leads may be provided with a higher split upwards of 50/50% on leads given to you. The training includes marketing and how to do it but marketing gets really pricey and if you don’t have any clients, this can cause you to close up shop quickly. After a year of giving up such a huge portion of commission only to be under a well known brand, I decided to join a small brokerage that had low monthly fees and very low commission splits and/or a flat fee. In doing so, I realized that there was no support team, no training, everyone was segregated into groups of friends within the office, no marketing, nothing. I was on my own. If I requested any help, I would be hit with an increase on commission split. I had to hire a photographer for both the big brokerage and the small brokerage for headshots, listings or anything else I needed photos for. One listing wanted a video done of their home so to adhere the clients needs, I had to hire a videographer. Each listing photo cost me $100 plus $195 for video. Aerial video cost me $250. Before making anything, I had already spent $545 not to mention the split with the brokerage as well. I thought, if only there was a brokerage that had intensive training, hands on help without taking more of my commission, paid for photographs and video for all my listings AND had low commission splits. That would be all I’d need to run a successful real estate business with out worrying about going broke. City Insight Houston was the answer. The monthly fee was comparable to all brokerages. The split was 85/15% no matter what questions or help I needed and they cover – wait yes, you guessed it, all of the photos and video for my personal brand and listings saving me anywhere around $545-$700 on each listing!
If you are a real estate agent, you might fall under one of the one of the high priced real estate brokerages or the cheap brokerages. Either way, you can relate to their origin story and how their brand is making a difference. See how their brand resinates with agents in that predicament. If your brand’s origin story resinates with your audience, you can for sure know you will have people valuing your brand because you have been there and done that and have found a solution to the problem you brand is solving.
- Create a branding strategy.
Use the tips on this blog as a guideline to form a plan to implement your branding strategy and stick to it. Sticking to your branding strategy will keep you on track and keep the foundation of your branding stable and not all over the place. Look at Chik Fil A for example. They don’t stride away from their values and never open on Sunday. Their staff says, “my pleasure” at the end of every order staying uniform and are well known for their excellent fast food service. Closing on Sundays doesn’t hurt their business but holds true to their brand.
This might be the most important tip of all. Make sure to (incorporate) LLC. A DBA is not enough. Your competition can come up from under you and take your name if you are not careful and prepared.
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