Brand building seems to be the “it” thing to do, especially if you are trying to build your own business.
In the age of everything digital and all things social media, there are a million and one ways to share your unique voice and opinion. Thus, we have cultivated a world of “influencers” who are supposed to be our role models and go-to people for everything from skinny tea to where to buy the best jeans.
But since this world is so saturated, where do you fit in? My answer is anywhere you want to be. Now if you’re looking to be an influencer or something along those lines, you’re going to need to build a brand.
Building a brand for yourself is no different than the way the biggest and most well-known companies do it. From Nike to Starbucks to McDonald’s, brands are unique and stand for something. When you think of Starbucks, it’s easy to determine their particular identity and target market.
Building a brand is like building a reputation — you want others to know what you stand for, what you don’t, and exactly what types of things you love. So don’t leave your brand to chance, and now more than ever, it’s fairly easy to manage your image.
Here are 5 tips for building your brand:
1. Research Your Target Audience
What kind of audience are you trying to attract? Are you looking to inspire people in a similar age bracket with a comparable lifestyle? Or are you looking to market to people older or in another country?
Personally, I’ve found it easiest to be myself, which has often attracted a following of people who are similar to me. But there’s nothing wrong with that! We know ourselves best, so what better way to build your brand than stay in tuned with you?
Once you’ve determined your target audience, find other companies that pursue the same people, and pull from what they do to figure out what works and what doesn’t. In order to build your own brand, you’ll need to understand what else is out there. Make a note of the things that are appealing to your audience so that you can be informed going forward.
2. Choose Your Niche
You may feel like every idea has already been thought of, but that’s just not the case. Even established businesses are always trying to reinvent the wheel, so be confident that there is a place for your ideas to shine too!
But, as much as you may love fashion, interior design, photography, and baking, it’s not a good idea to try and do it all. Especially when first starting your brand, it’s best to pick one or two things to focus on. Think of your brand like an inverted triangle — start with one idea first, and gradually, as you become more successful and more streamlined, add adjacent topics.
If you’re not sure where to begin, start coming up with words that resonate with you and the type of brand you want to build. You can find inspiration from a simple Google search, but words such as bold, whimsical, DIY, healthy, and funny can be great jumping off points. These words will help you determine what your brand will represent, and you want people to be able to “get it” easily.
Another good way to determine your niche is to think of your brand as a person (aka you). What kinds of things do you want to be known for? If you’re looking to build a brand surrounding fashion and you’d describe your style as simple, timeless, and elegant, make sure that you are personifying that through all aspects of your brand — from your logo, to your name, to the content you produce.
3. Determine Your Appeal
How are you going to stand out from the crowd? What makes you different from any of your competitors? Even if you’re not selling a product or creating a brick and mortar business, you certainly have competitors and people who are doing similar work.
What exactly are you going to do and how are you going to do it? What makes you the person to follow over someone else? This is not the time to doubt your ideas, but rather it’s important to understand what your appeal is. Know that you have lots of amazing things to offer, and figure out the best way to communicate those aspects to your followers.
4. Build a Strong Digital Presence
To truly make it in today’s world, you have to have a killer digital presence. From everything to email, social media, and beyond, it’s the best way to make sure that you are constantly getting in front of people. And the best way to cultivate an amazing online presence?
Be consistent. Whether it’s in an email or on Instagram, develop a color pattern and consistent tone of voice so that people understand what you’re all about.
Post frequently. How are people supposed to know about you if they only see your stuff every once in awhile? Send emails, make social posts, publish stories, and communicate what you’re doing and when.
Engage with followers. People want to know that you’re not just a robot. Engaging is key, and the more you connect with the people who follow you, the more likely they will be to support you in future projects.
Be human. As pretty as it may be to look perfect on social media, that’s just not reality and people can see right through it. You have a personality, so don’t be afraid to show it.
5. Adapt As You Go
Like everything in life, things change over time. You will quickly learn what works and what doesn’t, as well as how you want to evolve over time.
Often times, we start out with big ideas for what we want to do but then realize down the road that we want to pivot a bit. There’s nothing wrong with that!