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YOUR BRAND IS YOU, embrace it if you want to do the “branding your business” thing successfully.
I know, again with those floaty hard to pin down statements. Luckily, I love to explain my train of thought in long thought provoking articles.
Even though you don’t have a billion dollar valuation, you’re as much a brand as Coke, Apple, and Google.
If you don’t know whether you’re the main driver of your brand or not then I need to tell you something, you are.
The only difference is, you can’t hide behind thousands of T.V. commercials and marketing billboards.
But, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We’re all human beings and we do business with people we know, like, and trust. It’s pretty hard to get to know a logo.
90% of people trust product or service recommendations from people they know while only 33% trust messages from a brand (source)
Brand messages see 561% more reach when shared by employees on social media, compared to when the same messages when shared by the brand’s social media channels (source)
I think you’re starting to get the picture, even though you may not have a hoard of employees to share, interact, and create content, the premise is the same.
Humans interact more readily with humans over “brands” embrace the fact that your brand is you and reap the benefits thereof.
We’ve been through decades of bombardment with the sleekest advertisements known to man and it’s taken it’s toll.
84% of millennials don’t like or trust traditional advertising (source) and to get over these hurdles, your audience and your humanity need to be at the forefront of your brand.
In a nutshell, you need to humanize yourself and your brand. I know I’ve heard countless times that familiarity breeds contempt, but in this case, familiarity builds trust and authority (more on what builds authority in part two of this series).
When your audience is able to pick out the nuances of how you communicate, write, and know your point of view, then you’ve successfully humanized yourself.
Remember, you’re not doing this for the entire world, you’re doing it for the Pristine 35
The visual brand identity is what you use to influence your audience’s perception of you. It’s comprised of everything that can be seen about your brand including your logo, colors, images, and fonts.
Note: Here’s an amazing guide from Firstsiteguide.com that’ll help you take your logo from dull concept to killer design.
I wish it were as simple as just throwing your logo on all of your images. It’s so much more than that. It incorporates the color palette on your site, the types of images you use, your font, and even the spacing between your words.
Think of it like this, in the old days before there were radios and other high-tech equipment on a battlefield, soldiers needed something to rally around when things got tough.
This was the standard that they carried into battle. When things were going to hell, they could regroup around the flag bearer and launch a counterattack
In the digital age, your standard is the visual elements you incorporate into everything you put out into the world.
Take a look at this infographic from Fast Company which illustrates what different colors mean when defining your brand identity.
Here are a few quick things to think about when auditing your visual brand identity
A brand that does this well is Charity Water, they donate funds to impoverished communities in Africa to provide clean safe drinking water to women and children.
You get a call on your cell phone from an unknown number and as soon as you say hello, the person on the other end launches into their spiel.
He didn’t identify himself because he didn’t need to. You know exactly who he is because of his voice and more importantly, the way he uses words is well known to you.
It should be the same for your brand voice
This is where you get to shine. You may not be able to compete with the biggest brands in terms of website design, imagery, and other factors that require a huge budget.
You can totally dominate when it comes to your verbal brand identity.
This is where the statement your brand is you rings the loudest.
Every piece of content you create fits into your brand identity.
This doesn’t stop at articles, podcasts, and YouTube videos. It spills over into the way you name your products and services which are a natural extension of your verbal brand identity.
A blogger I love and that has one of the most irreverent writing styles I’ve ever encountered is Ash from The Middle Finger Project. One of her products on branding is called Brandgasm 101.
It’s completely in line with how she talks and views the world.
You’ve got hundreds of different nuances in the way you communicate on a daily basis. Your conversation fillers “umm, uh, like”
The brand you’ve creating should have the same thing (not conversation fillers, but nuances in the way you communicate as a brand).
Take the British Company Innocent Drinks, they have some of the most interesting verbal branding on their product packaging you may ever see.
It’s completely in line with the identity they’ve crafted for themselves.
A unique voice and perspective is an asset in any market/niche you’re in.
If you take one thing away from this post, take away the understanding that you are your brand. There is no true divorce between the founder and the brand in this digital age. If you’re not congruent with the image you’ve created then you’ll quickly lose authority and trust placed in you by your audience.
In the next installment, I’m going to be walking you through the marriage of your brand and your content. I’ll also give you a few examples of organizations really making a killing by creating content that blows people out of the water. As well as those losing control of their brand narrative.
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