We are very excited to share a guest blog post with you from Lisa Steyn, otherwise known as the capetowncopywriter. In this industry, it’s critical to be “in the conversation” with experts in your field. Lisa is one of those experts. Her work demonstrates the value she brings to copywriting and her marketing acumen lends to the success of her many clients. We are honored that she was willing to share her talents with us and our readers. Please check out her website (www.capetownproofreader.wordpress.com) to learn more about Lisa and her work.
Your brand is a person…yes, really!
The big ocean of branding can be like swimming against a heavy current, or it can be as invigorating as taking a swim in a crystal clear pool on a hot day. Ultimately, how you present yourself to the outside world is as a person. People connect to people, not to an unknown being with no personality. The challenge is in finding that all-star personality that ‘talks’ to your customers and potential customers. Here I’ve given you my list of things to avoid and things that you must do in order to be personable.
Avoid these top 3 pitfalls
There are a number of things that can be a killer when either branding a business or individual for the first time, or taking on a rebranding exercise. Here is my list of things to avoid.
Ignore your target audience – avoid the pitfall of ‘this is our brand and we will tell our customers that this is who we are, regardless of what they feel’. Yes, it does happen and in my experience way too often. Your existing customers are your biggest pool of information and inspiration at the same time. Know them, engage with them, talk to them – they might just have that one gold nugget that will set you apart above all others.
Compare yourself to all your competitors – don’t get me wrong, you should without a doubt do a market study and understand what is going on out there, but do not compare yourself and aspire to be who your competitors are. The ‘we want their customers and we want to be like them’ is common and a fatal mistake.
Be complacent – you may be in fairly good shape with loyal customers but NEVER assume that it will always be that way. Be prepared and be proactive. Keep monitoring your business, your customers and the market. Realise that markets change, customer needs change and your brand needs to keep up with that reality.
The top 4 must-do’s for branding
Tap into your existing clients – remember the 80/20 rule? Never forget this – 80% of your profits will come from 20% of your clients. As mentioned earlier, talk to them and find out what they like about you, how do you satisfy their needs, how could you improve and importantly their challenges and needs. Through understanding your clients you might be able to offer a new product or service, which could increase your profits and define new market spaces.
Create your place in the spotlight – identify your unique position. What sets you apart? What are you going to do that is different? Can you create a new market space that will increase profits from existing clients or even create a whole new audience? These gems of information will guide you in all that you do.
Define who you are – what is your brand DNA? What are you all about? How are you going to present yourself to the outside world? What do you want people to feel and do when they interact with you? Use a set of descriptive words that will position you in a unique space. The definition of your brand will present itself in every single interaction that you have with people – your website, phone calls, emails, advertising, social media, collateral…you name it, you need to present who you are in everything that you do.
Create your brand pen portrait – this is one of my all-time favourite things to do! Once you’ve defined who you are, now you need to make this a reality. When I talk about a brand pen portrait, I mean that you literally draw or design who you are, how you behave, how you talk and many other personality traits. This is the fun part…this makes it plain to see, for one and all, exactly who you are. See the pictures below of how Burberry created their personality profiles…these are excellent examples of how it should be done.
Don’t be under the illusion that creating that awesome brand personality will happen overnight…it takes patience, research and a bit of creative flair. Once you’ve completed your branding exercise…go forth and present yourself to the world! Oh, and have fun doing it!