The other day I listened to a very inspiring blog post by Jenna Kutcher (http://podcast.jennakutcher.com/) about branding and what the difference between a brand and a business is. The podcast was the perfect fit to a blog post I wrote earlier - Is your business about you? - But because of her podcast I went back and thought about personal branding again and I want to add a few things to my previous blog post. One very powerful sentence she used a lot, and that stuck to me was: a brand has a heart!
So let me explain this further to you.
You probably already have your own small business or you are in the process of starting your own business. And of course this business is about serving your customer, whether it be through a service or by selling a product. But of course it is also about you. You are the soul of this business, the founder, the owner, the creative, the sales person, the accountant and so on, without you the business would not function the way it does or will.
However my big question is: is your brand also about you?
Now you might be thinking what is she talking about? Well let me explain to you.
There are two distinct types of businesses, big brands/businesses that are well known and where THE BRAND speaks to you and not the owner of the business. However there are also the medium and small businesses and here the OWNER is usually the soul and the HEART of the business. Which is probably YOU!
But let me tell you a quick story:
During our summer holiday we always go to the same island and there we have friends who always took us to the same restaurant, we used to go there sometimes several times during our stay, until last year! Something has changed... and it was not the food. The food, the ambience, the location, the prices, it was all still the same and to be honest it was or is not better or worse than other places that are close by. BUT the head waitress had changed locations! And she was great - she was super friendly, knew everybody by name, she was super funny and always went the extra mile, even during stressful times. Every guest felt welcomed and had a good time, mainly because of her. She was the soul of this restaurant and why so many people returned over and over again. So this restaurant had lost it's soul and with her probably a lot of loyal customers.
SO GOING BACK TO MY INITIAL QUESTION. IS YOUR BRAND ABOUT YOU?
OR ARE YOU THE BRAND?
And without knowing your industry or your business I would say, YES, it is!! As a business owner, YOU are the soul of YOUR business! If you give your business a soul - and a heart like Jenna said it - you make your brand totally unique and will set your business apart from others. Nobody else has the same story, the same DNA, the same heart!
YOU will attract customers with your personality, your story.
If you sell a product, let’s say fashion, your customers like the product and have a need or desire for it but as a small business owner they usually also like YOU and probably also YOUR style. They will follow you because of that.
And if you are a service based business your customers will trust YOU, that YOU deliver what you promise and that YOU will be able to help them with their problem.
Your customers will return to YOU. They will return to your style, your story and your personality.
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Of course we make logical buying decisions and according to price but our emotions also play a huge part in our buying decisions. This is where branding comes in, but not only business branding also personal branding! People don't only relate to a brand, they also relate to the person behind the brand.
When we buy a product or service we are looking for that personal contact. We want to see if we connect or not. If we like the person behind the brand and trust her or him.
So yes, your business and your brand is about you!!
Online businesses need to be personal
When you buy a product online or inform yourself online about a service how often do you click on the about page? And how soon do you click on the about page?
I am guessing you always at least check out the about page. And actually you will probably not buy from a total stranger online, you will want to get to know that person before buying from her or him.
ANALYTICS SHOW THAT THE ABOUT PAGE IS OFTEN THE MOST CLICKED ON PAGE ON A WEBSITE!
Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, What's app and the internet in general has made our lives so impersonal. We don't call our friends anymore, we what's app them, we don't meet them anymore, we chat online via Facebook. We don't print pictures and show and explain them to our friends, we share them online. We basically can do almost everything online now. And we also buy a lot online. However humans need personal contact and we actually miss personal contact and service!
So the personality behind a brand is so important for online businesses where your customer only sits in front of a computer and there is little to no personal contact.
And again, if you have an online business, your business is about you! You need to have a great about page so your customers can find out more about the person behind the brand. And you need to make sure your customers can connect and relate to you. Tell your customers who you are, what you do, why your are the expert in your field and a little bit behind the scenes. Tell them your story why you are selling your product or service, how it has changed your life. Show your personality!
Small businesses need to be personal
When you are a small business owner you need to differentiate yourself from your competition and you might also be competing with some big and known brands. The easiest way to differentiate yourself is by being personal and by telling your unique story. Nobody is exactly the same and everybody has a different story to tell.
This is also a huge advantage you have towards the big and known businesses. For them it is much harder to be personal. Use this advantage! Tell your story, be intriguing and be personal and go the extra mile - on your website, on social media and when interacting with your customers in person.
Personal branding is also marketing! So your marketing strategy should not only be about your business but also about you:
Be personal – give your business personality and demonstrate what you care about and what you stand for
tell your story – make your business unique
show your expertise and experience - make sure your customer trusts you, and position yourself as the industry leader
Stand out from the crowd! BE DIFFERENT
Now you might think that you don't want to showcase yourself , especially on the internet, too much?! I totally understand and relate. BUT please think about it again and don't underestimate the power of personality and the HEART!
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