4 Ways to Transform Your Online Business From “Bland” to “Signature Brand”
As Seen on The Huffington Post (Republished)
When I first started my brand strategy consulting firm seven years ago, I knew to get through the door and get that first high end client which were luxury award-winning hotels and service-based businesses, I had to invest in a high quality image and it paid off. It was my key to getting noticed, standing out and staying memorable. My clients understood the importance of having a signature, world class image and wanted to align themselves with a brand that reflected the same image.
As a brand strategist and business coach, I’ve seen many talented Creatives, experts and professionals frustrated because they can’t seem to attract the right clients or charge their worth. If your brand message isn’t clear, it will come through in your brand image. Your website design may be misaligned and/or you’re using all the wrong symbols and subconscious queues, that are keeping your ideal clients away.
The mistake most business owners make, is jumping to the design aspects of the brand before clarifying all of these essential details, that influence the execution of a great brand image. If you find yourself struggling to attract the right clients, feeling embarrassed about your website (if it’s even up and running) or maybe you or a family member designed your logo, then it’s time to taking your brand to the next level.
It is uncomfortable and frustrating not having a brand image that you can be proud of. It’s also costing you money. According to a study by Mckinsey and Company, “strong brands outperform weak brands by 20%”. For some of my clients, I have seen performance improve by even 90% for those who have never done any professional work in the area of crafting their brand image.
A high quality, signature brand image is the key to attracting the right clients and creating a unique positioning in the market. Ken Carbone says that “branding is the sensory presentation and reinforcement of everything a brand promises to deliver.” If your brand has an amateur “home-made” and inconsistent look, you are sending the message that your business does not care about quality.
So how do you take your brand image from amateur to pro and create a signature brand that attracts the right clients and that you can be proud of? Here are some steps, which I coach my clients on in my private coaching program, designed to take the guesswork out of building a great brand strategy and signature brand image online.
#1 Total Clarity on Your Ideal Client
You’ve heard this before, but I’ll say it again! Knowing who you are serving and what moves them emotionally is a critical part of creating a signature brand that attracts the right clients. I get so many calls from clients who say they need better copy on their website. While yes, you may need a copywriter, but very often the problem is that you haven’t figured out who you’re talking to and what these potential clients truly desire. You may be trying to appeal to everyone and this is causing your brand message and image to become both diluted and confusing.
New business owners are often terrified by the idea of finding and focusing on a niche. However, trying to serve everyone is like trying to throw darts blindfolded for the first time and hoping for a bullseye. Get clear on who your ideal client is and build a brand image that will attract these people.
#2 Distinct Brand Identity
The way you stand out from the competition and attract the group of people who resonate with your message is by clarifying and creating a unique brand personality. Your brand personality includes all of the intangible elements of your brand that will help guide you through the process of creating a consistent and distinct brand image.
Having a differentiated brand personality, will help set your brand apart from your competition, because you will be addressing the needs of a specific type of customer. A study in the US, found that 59% of Millennials buy brands that reflect their style and personality. Millennials are becoming an influential segment of the market and segment that you may not want to ignore. People buy from brands that share the same values and lifestyle that they live or aspire to.
#3 Well Thought Out Creative Brief
Before you invest any money in creating your brand image (logo, website, photography, etc.), it is important to write out a well-thought and well-defined creative brief for your brand.
A creative brief is a document that will outline to designers the key elements of your brand in terms of ideal clients, personality and your preferences in terms of visuals.
This document can save you money because a well-defined creative brief will give a good designer a clear structure and insight into your vision for your brand.
Creating a world-class brand image requires structure, clarity and a unified direction. A poorly written creative brief can leave you frustrated, going in circles and wasting time and money on designs that are not up to scratch. I have seen people go from designer to designer not getting results because they could not articulate their vision for their brand properly. Quite frankly, you may have no clue what to ask your designer for, because that’s not your area of expertise, but you don’t have to be an expert to approach your branding like pro, if you have the right tools.
#4 World-Class Visuals
Today, clients are coming into contact with brands operating from all over the world. The standard and expectations on how a quality brand should look, is higher than before.
Often a client may not have the opportunity to meet and get to know you the owner personally, and the only points of contact are your website, social media and various images (your touchpoints) circulating the web. It is worth the investment, planning and executing a strong brand image that will attract and convert these browsers into clients.
A strong, high quality brand image will send the message that you mean business and just as you have invested at a high level to create a signature experience across your touchpoints, customers can trust, that you are making the same commitment of quality to them through your products and services.
Having a great brand image can literally transform your business and give you more confidence to approach your ideal clients and step more boldly into the world, to promote your business. There are no shortcuts and it is worthwhile investing in getting this process right and keeping it consistent.
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