A common question I get from new business owners is, “What is a brand, and why do I need one, anyway?”
It’s a great question! Branding can be confusing and/or sound like a term that means you need to be something you’re not.
Nothing can be further from the truth.
When you brand your business in a way that accurately reflects who you are and the work you do, you set yourself up to attract your ideal clients and grow your business.
So let’s dispel some myths and instead talk about what a brand really is, why you need one, and what to consider when defining your own.
A brand is an experience.
In the olden days, it was simply a mark that identified a company, like a logo. But today, a brand is so much more!
A brand evokes images, memories, and thoughts in someone’s mind. Think: Coca-Cola, Nordstrom, Apple. They all have their own distinct, yet different characteristics.
Here are a few definitions for you:
- The overall experience of a customer that distinguishes an organization or product from its rivals in the eyes of the customer. – Wikipedia
- The promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from that of your competitors. – Entrepreneur
- The set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. – Seth Godin
As you can see, a brand is a holistic experience, not simply one thing.
A brand is not marketing
While marketing and branding are interrelated, they are not the same thing.
Your brand is who you are as a business.
Marketing refers to the activities that communicate your brand with the goal of connecting with your ideal audience. (Read more definitions here.)
10 reasons you need a brand
You might be thinking, “But I just want to run my business, I don’t want to worry about defining my brand!”
Here are a few reasons why you might want to reconsider.
- You already have a brand. If you put yourself out there as a business — at a networking event, on your website, or on Instagram — you already have a brand! Might as well be the one that you want.
- It’s stronger than a business. If you’re worried you might not stay in this specific business, remember that building a strong brand (think: Virgin), can help you branch out into new arenas.
- A brand speaks for you. You can’t be everywhere at once. But your brand can. Anywhere you have a presence, your brand represents who you are.
- It helps you establish credibility. A brand gives you a professional look and feel, which creates trust in the eyes of customers.
- It sets you apart from your competitors. You’re not like everyone else and you want to show why.
- A brand makes marketing easier. When you know your brand, you set the foundation for all marketing activities.
- It gives you a compass. A brand provides focus and direction for all of your business activities — who you serve, what you offer, what you share.
- A brand helps you express yourself. It gives you the opportunity to communicate key aspects of yourself that make you, you.
- Your brand helps you get clients. You spend less time chasing customers and more time attracting them. Plus – referrals! People love to talk about brands they love.
- You can make a bigger impact. As a purpose-driven solopreneur, the more you can share your vision, the more opportunities you have to make an impact.
Are you convinced? If you’re ready to start building your brand, but you don’t know where to start, sign up for a free consult today.