We’ve been working a lot on our own branding, so the topic has been on my mind a lot lately.
We tend to get more mixed responses when we talk to customers about branding, so I wanted to address it and start out simple:
What is a brand?
Again, I get a lot of answers for this. Some people say it’s your logo, it’s how you look, it’s your colors, it’s your fonts. That’s true, but a brand is really all of those things; a brand is a person’s perception of your product or service, and that can come across in anything you do. Whether it’s your website or your printed materials or how you represent yourself online, that is your brand. That’s how people see you.
So how do you stay true to your brand? How does that really matter to your business?
Knowing your brand is a big deal. You have to have a defined demographic, a defined ideal customer. You have to know what sets you apart, what makes you different, and then you have to stay focused on your ideal client. Having a clear understanding of who you best serve allows you to target that exact same client for future sales.
I see this all the time–when I first started out I was guilty of it, too–you want to be everything to everybody. It’s never everybody. It’s a clear, concise picture of who’s best for you. If you look back over the years or one year or, if you’re new, your very best sale, you’ll find that 80 percent of your sales come from 20 percent of your audience–your best audience. What I’ve found over the years is the further you get outside your target, the harder you make your own life and the ability to focus on your ideal customer. Once you have a clear definition of who your best audience is, it helps you get more people who fit that exact same definition. That’s what you want.
Once you know what your brand is, then you have to really be true to that brand. So whatever your message is, you have to make sure you’re consistent with it in all of your marketing. These could be big things or small things. Small things like your URL or your handles you use across your social media handles. If you’re going to be Joe’s Best Real Estate Agent on Facebook, you need to be Joe’s Best Real Estate Agent on Instagram, and you can’t be Joe Sells Houses on YouTube. It has to be consistent with the same message across all platforms.
That doesn’t just mean what you call yourself or your logo, it means you, too. I did so much better when I embraced my personality in my branding. I’m not super strait-laced. I have a tendency to be sarcastic and a little bit snarky. I have a big personality and I need to embrace that. When I started to embrace that, my branding started to grow. People either like me or don’t, but they ones who like me are the people I want to do business with anyway. Once I stepped into that, it helped me identify who my best client was and start moving in that direction.
That leads me to the next thing: don’t be afraid to scare people away. You will scare people away. There will be people who are a terrible fit for you; there will be people you rub the wrong way. That’s how you know you’re doing it right. Not everybody’s perfect for you, and you probably don’t want to work with those people anyway.
If you’re funny, be funny. If you’re serious, be serious. Whoever you are, stay true to that brand so you can attract your best and biggest fans. The more closely you stick to your brand, the easier that will be. If people don’t like you, that’s OK. That’s not really your problem, it’s their problem. Be who you are so you can attract the best fit for you and help your business grow.
Branding really matters. You make your business unique. What makes you special? Embrace whatever that difference is and allow it to attract your best client and grow your business.