Time to Read: 12 mins
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Almost every business in The Second Chute requires some sort of branding, whether that be a personal brand or a traditional brand. So instead of the normally scheduled post with a new business model to add to The Second Chute archives, today will be a concept post to parallel The Second Chute.
Branding is essential to a successful business. It’s about familiarization and association. It’s the face of your company, product or business model.
- What is it?
- Tips and Tricks
- Final Words
What is it?
Business dictionary defines branding as:
The process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.
Now the business dictionary says that you build a brand mainly through advertising campaigns. That’s something that I don’t agree with…
Entrepreneur.com defines branding as:
The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products .
See. Nothing in there about advertising.
I point this out for distinction purposes. To make the distinction between advertising/marketing/selling and branding. You can have a brand and you can build a brand — without a product or a service or without selling anything at all.
A brand, in a traditional sense, is the character and the story behind your company. It’s the content and the consistencies in the content and it’s the interactions with your customers that walk a line that your customers are used to. The brand is the emotional side of your business. Not because you cry about it, that’s something else. But because it brings out some emotion from your loyal customers and followers.
Likewise for a personal brand. All of the above. Your personal brand is you. What your customers and followers experience when they see, hear or read you. Everything that is consumable, that originates from you and is put out into the world, is part of your branding and makes up your brand.
Think Apple. What do you think when you see the Apple logo? Do you think, Steve Jobs? Does it associate with being creative? Do you think of the old 1984 commercial, where Apple breaks you free from the monotony of the machine? Do you think that the Apple brand took a hit when they lost their passion paragon company founder, whose story was an amazing backstory to the brand?
The apple brand is their story — it’s what they have to offer. It’s their uniqueness. It sets them apart from the rest of the market.
How can you do this?
Can one measly person break down the barriers of entry and then stand out in a saturated sea of yelling, begging and selling in the attention grabbing ecosystem?
Just kidding. Of course you can!
Tips and Tricks
The little snippet “how tos” of brand building!
Starting with the Fundamental: Uniqueness.
If you are a personal brand, this shouldn’t take too much thought. It can take too much thought… but that’s usually a bad thing. See, when you are the brand, all you have to do is be you and the uniqueness will be apparent. You’re a snowflake… or whatever.
Factors of Influence and Triggers.
I just finished the book, Launch, by Jeff Walker, which had a portion of the book that was all about what he called, mental triggers. And along with this, I recently heard one of James Altucher’s podcasts with the author of Influence, Robert Cialdini.
Both of these sources had references to factors of influence and mental triggers. Here are some examples of these, that put people on your side and help to grow your brand and dandle your followers.
- Authority. Be a leader in your space. Know what you are talking about and convince others of that. People will trust your opinions and see you as someone they can come to for answers.
- Reciprocity. “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” as Gary Vaynerchuk calls it. Give and you shall receive. Don’t be the one who asks from your followers or customers without giving them value first.
- Trust. Have your peeps trust you. Be vulnerable, be real, be transparent. Be a person. Be their best friend and open up to build a connection with them that is stronger than any big business could ever build.
- Consistency. Get your followers comfortable with you by being consistent. If they get what they are expecting, they can stay comfortable, which helps with your relationship more than confusing them or negatively surprising them will.
- Unity. Show your followers that you are the same. That you come from the same place, you have the same values, or any combination.
And Finally, a Focus on your Followers and Customers.
Make it clear that what you are doing can potentially, and is intended to, serve your prospects. Those who your services, products or message relates to, and those who recognize that you can help them in some way, are going to be the ones that stick around.
If your branding doesn’t provide for your audience in any way, be that entertainment, solving a problem, providing a product, answering questions or different combinations, and your branding is designed to only serve you — you aint gunna make it.
Kevin Kelly wrote an article in 2008 that still fits really well with branding, especially for small businesses and personal brands.
The message of the article was about producing what you wanted to produce, to a small but raving audience and being able to make income to live off of from that relatively small, but avidly interested fan-base.
Here’s a link to the article:
This has been shared multiple times and has almost 500 comments.
There is so much to it, and so much underlying it. And it comes into play here in a big way regarding branding. What he is talking about here can be accelerated by good branding.
Think back to the saturated sea of yelling, begging and selling in the attention grabbing ecosystem — how can anyone stand out? By being someone that brands well by characterizing the tips and tricks of uniqueness, the factors of influence and having a focus on your devotees, you may not be the biggest fish in the pond, but people will want to swim with you the most.
And along with that, if you are engaging and participating in the right channels, you can get closer and closer to your best potential prospects. Pat Flynn’s book, Will it Fly, is a great resource if you want to know more about expertly maneuvering through the maze of interests that is the internet, and finding the communities and people that best represent your prospects.
It’s the message that your content sends and the story that your brand gets people to feel, that people cling to to the point of worship. And if you can hone these personal branding strategies and tactics, you can build a following with depth and you can have a conversion rate high above your industry averages.
Now the elephant in the room is your content. What you put out there is important. But if you put your best into it and you persist and learn and grow and keep putting stuff out there, you will eventually be successful. And there is something to say about just getting in the habit of content creation, separate from any financial benefit that may come along with it.
Here I am now to talk about branding
Not the kind a cow fears, without understanding
But the one that you fear because it’s so demanding.
Well sorry, you’re wrong, I’ll proceed by expanding…
Personal branding does not take that much.
All it requires is your personal touch
Be honest and open and give give so much,
and you’ll rein in the day with rewards – oh so clutch.
A Brand of You, a Poem by Doug
End of Intermission.
This section includes five people who know branding. Go to these people’s websites and platforms to get some of their ideas of branding — while getting examples of what good branding is:
Seth Godin – Daily Blog
Seth Godin is one of the best new economy thinkers of our time. He is witty, funny and speaks with depth and understanding.
He is supportive of those who get out and make things happen and you can find tons of insight into branding and the deeper side of business by following his blog. Check it out here:
Pat Flynn – Smart Passive Income.
Pat is a online business guru who is all about being honest, helping people and keeping his brand family-friendly. That’s what you expect when you go check out Pat’s stuff and that’s what you get.
And, like I said, he’s a online business guru so he has some good stuff on personal branding and a ton of other stuff. You can check him out here:
Gary Vaynerchuk – VaynerMedia
If you’ve been in the online space for any time at all you probably recognize the name Gary Vee. Gary has built a brand around his brash and confident personality and commonly attributes his success and, any success that is achievable, to insane work-ethic.
Gary is very often looked-up-to regarding the realm of personal branding and is one of the first people to speak on the over-giving reciprocity strategy in the online space. Check out his stuff here:
Chris Ducker – Youpreneur
Chris Ducker, the funny, quick-on-his-feet guy with the awesome accent. He’s all over the place with content and he has a very close connection to his fans.
He actually runs an entire paid community for personal brands called Youpreneur. Check him out at:
Marie Forleo – MarieTV
Marie is quirky, fun and inspiring and she brings this to the table every time.
Her show on Youtube, MarieTV is dedicated to the entrepreneur and the creative. She not only talks about branding and business building, but she keeps you inspired and gives you tips on how to stay focused and determined. Her YouTube channel is linked up below:
Now, to introduce each of these influencers I started out with a series of, what may be considered, compliments. But none of that was intended as such – that was me listing the characteristics that these people’s brands represent. That’s what people get and experience when they come in contact with these personal brands.
So, to recap.
You want to build a business around a personal brand. You are unique, whether you like it or not, so that part’s already taken care of.
You want to have an influence that goes deeper than the shouting many — so you implement the tactics of influence:
You become an authority figure by answering the questions of those in your space that need answers. And you get testimonials of how you helped and you present them on your website or platform for all to see.
Next you create and create helpful and useful content and give it all away for free with a smile on your face. This is playing the long game and it is worth it. You are building strong bonds.
All the while you are being human, showing your flaws and being transparent so that people will see you as human and genuine and will trust and like you more than a cold-faced business rep.
You are consistent in all that you do. Consistency is key. People hopped on the “you” train because of what they got from you and they expect to keep getting that. If you go from a nice and family friendly Mr. Rogers to a salty swearing sea dog in the course of a week, you will alienate your audience.
Remember to remind your followers often that you were, or still are, them — that you came from where they came from. Remind them that you share an interest. That you are mental peers and they can relate to you.
Continuing to implement the factors of influence, you begin to produce. Content, products, services, a message, all of the above — whatever it is that you do. You grow a following. You finally convince your mom to subscribe to your content. Then your dad. Then your grandmom. Three subscribers! You keep growing.
One year, two years, three years — however long it takes you push out your content, product, service or message — never quitting and iterating as necessary. All the while building healthy habits of content creation until you have an influence that can support you financially and can be leveraged to make a difference.
You’ve started the process of self-actualization — and it’s only up from here.
You hear it a lot if you are in the online business space or the economy talk space. The industrial revolution is over and the information economy is beginning. Now while the industrial economy will never die, because no economy really dies, people still ride horses even though cars exist, the future of automation will almost certainly wipe out 90% of the manufacturing jobs — but even more, the jobs that require static knowledge.
What we still have, for now, is creativity. To give ourselves the edge and, some would argue, the only fighting chance in the future, we need to jump into the information economy and start producing. Get into the habits and build a foundation in your life for the future of the economy by branding yourself and diving in.
Building a personal brand is one of the best strategies to stay relevant in the information economy. And it is key to keeping people on your stoop and building, and retaining, influence on your environment, be that economically or socioeconomically.
I truly believe this and I hope that you take these steps to build your brand, a brand of “you,” and — at the very least — be able to show your parents that you really are doing something with your life.
Let Go, by Pat Flynn (Audible and Kindle only)
(disclosure: The books are linked to Amazon affiliate pages. This means that if you buy from these links I get a commission, at no extra cost to you. Thank you!)