A Short Video Clip
Check out my short video clip where I share a few tips on how I set my own brand goals.
Building my Brand Was a Work in Progress
As a complete unknown, never owning a business before, never working in the corporate world, and being a stay at home Mum with no business experience, I jumped straight into starting my business, Motivational Steps with an excitement and passion I still have today.
I had no idea what I needed to build my business, let alone how to build a brand. When the penny dropped and I researched other female professional speakers locally, I knew without a doubt I needed to build a brand unlike my female competitors. This was not because I feared my competitors, male or female, it was because my instincts told me if there were thousands of people ‘like me‘ on the speaking circuit I had to stand out from the crowd.
The other thought I had, and my instincts were very strong on this, was that I wanted to go in a different direction from the other female speakers. I thought of this as taking a different route to become noticed, as if I was swimming in another direction so to speak. I did not want to sound like, look like, or appear to be like anyone else.
Setting my Brand Goals
As I have shared many times, when you are starting a business for the very first time it’s fear of the unknown that can deter us. Because I ‘knew’ I did not have a brand I had to find out what the unknown was in my case, i.e. lack of a personal or business brand. Knowing I had no money at all to spend on this project, so as with everything I have done and still do, I set goals, and I started to build pieces of my brand, step by step.
My decision to start with my appearance first was because I needed a professional photo at some point in the future. I literally had no business clothes at all in my wardrobe, but I knew I wanted to wear the colour Pink to help promote Breast Cancer Awareness. I shopped at a local store and purchased a Pink jacket, along with a plain white teeshirt and some Pink pants which were all sale prices, which meant I spent very little money.
My Message is Part of My Brand
Another important part of anyone’s brand is their message. This can influence people to trust, like or ignore us.
I knew that my appearance alone would not encourage speakers bureaus to engage me to speak. My message had to be mine, it had to be something that people found inspiring, consistent, and matched my brand. In those early days I only had one Keynote, Living with Life’s Challenges. This keynote shares all of my very own life’s challenges, so the message was very personal to me, but had to impact the audience.
As I mention in the short video I am sharing in this blog post, “if when I open my mouth all that comes out is a load of rubbish” I would not still be in business today, or even have gotten this far!
I now have many brand elements as I like to call them. Everyone should have different brand elements, because we are all unique. Over time I have added additional elements to my brand, but every step of the way I had a strategy and set goals. Rushing this process is not a good idea, it’s not a race and we could end up making costly mistakes that hold us back.
Once my brand became credible, recognized and memorable, people started to share my website, my business cards, talk about me, refer me, they became my brand ambassadors. This can only come about though, if you have a brand that people understand. Think of this as you would a commercial on the TV. If a child appears on the screen with a toy car in their hand, but the commercial is promoting a chocolate brand, but no chocolate is in sight, the viewers would be confused.
We tend to think that because our website is amazing, our social media is even more amazing, and our products and services are even more amazing than anything in the World, that people will understand who we are, what we do and know our brand. This is not true. Plus, most people don’t want to do a lot of work to find out what a brand means, what it stands for, so they won’t take the time to find out. Why should they?
By making our brand what we want it to be perceived as, we need to look at our branding as if we were a possible client. By maintaining a consistent look and feel people will understand who we are, what we do and be happy to share with others. Our message should be simple, no jargon or buzz words to confuse people.
Brand Goals Can Change
As our business evolves our brand will too, whether we add more elements like I still do, or whether we change our brand completely, our goals still need to be set. They will change over time and this is OK, its healthy to accept and work with change.
You probably watched the short video I have shared in this blog post and I mention that I became the Social Sweetheart because people likened me to a sweetheart and I was very social. In fact, I did not pick this name, my audience, my clients, my connections did that for me.
Set your brand goals and take it away, let me know how it goes.