We live in a time where, if you want people to recognize you, your products or services, you have to start the process of brand building.
Eventually, the Internet will commoditize everything and in the end everything will be so cheap, people won’t know how to trust the products they will want to buy. And right there, in the middle of it, with the help of your brand, you will be able to connect with the customers and sell them something they believe in and trust.
Building a brand is not easy. It takes time and it requires a lot of effort.
Because I believe building a brand is a process made of many different steps, I wanted to share my knowledge of building one so you can have some sort of roadmap when you’re trying to build yours.
1. Start with what you know about yourself
And continue with what you know others know about you.
When you start building a brand, especially if it’s around you, it’s important to really know yourself. In this case, you should think of yourself as being the product.
Moreover, you should know what you want others to know about you. Or, with other words, where do you want to go.
For example, if you know that you invest at least 8 to 10 hours a week in training for your next tennis tourney and you want people to know this because you want to inspire others to practice tennis (or at least to practice a sport) then you should set yourself specific actions to help others know more about your tennis activity.
After all, building a brand is what you know about you and what others know about you. And to make sure others know about you the same thing you know about you, you have to be consistent. I’ll talk about consistency at the 4th point.
2. Your brand is received as actions but is kept as feelings
People won’t remember what you said. People will barely remember what you did. But for sure people will remember how you made them feel.
Through your words and actions, you should have one purpose when you build your brand: make people feel something. And that something should be specifically defined by you, both before you start building your brand and while you’re building it.
How do you want people to feel when they interact with you or your content?
That’s a question you should know the answer. And it shouldn’t be just ‘I want others to feel positive’. That’s a superficial statement and feeling positive is something general.
Instead of saying that you want people to feel positive when they interact with your brand, say that you want them to feel optimistic, confident, determined, keen.
Instead of saying that you want people to feel love when they interact with your brand, say that you want them to feel devoted, passionate, comforted.
Right after that, define that feeling and make sure is something you understand. It’s important to know how you want others to feel. It will provide you the clarity you need when delivering an impactful and specific message to them.
3. Be honest and patient
Both honesty and patience are vital when building a brand.
Honesty is important because… well, why the fuck would you want to lie to your future customers?
People often lie because they believe that hiding the truth or delivering something different than the truth will provide them more something or a better something.
For example, you may lie to get more money or to get a better collaboration. But having more money or getting a better collaboration should be the result of who you are and what you do, not of some illusion (or lie).
Yes, it may take you ten times more to get where you want to be but trust me when I say that the quality of the relationships you’ll have with your customers and those who follow your brand will be ten times more beneficial for your inner peace.
By building a brand based on honesty, you’ll be able to create an honest community around yourself. If that’s what you want, don’t lie and try as much as you can to tell the truth.
When it comes to the patience behind building a brand, it is simply required because you can’t build anything valuable overnight.
Let’s put it this way. Name one thing in your life that you consider valuable and that you didn’t have in your life one week ago.
The value of what you have in your life has a lot to do with the relationship and connection you have with that thing or person. And that will always take time. Therefore, be patient.
4. Be consistent
Imagine you have this place (maybe you actually do) where you go every week and they make a delicious lemonade.
If, after a while, they don’t make that lemonade anymore, most probably you’ll search for another location to enjoy a tasty lemonade.
That, right there, is the lack of consistency. That place was providing you something you needed or wanted and, all of a sudden, they stopped providing you that specific thing.
If you’re not consistent with your actions, people will shift their attention to someone else who can deliver what you were supposed to deliver.
5. Collaborate with other brands that have the same values as yours
Collaborations are important for building a brand.
They’re the easiest way to build your brand and to make it known by even more people. But collaborations are easy when you meet the right people. Otherwise, it’s going to be a mess.
As you may have already guessed, you need to be aware of your values.
In my case it’s optimism and it’s easy for me to find people or brands who have the same value. Simply because it’s easy to spot. Or it has become easy to spot, after so many years of consistency.
And I will never be able to collaborate with someone who believes that being an optimist is not healthy or who believes that being realistic is better. A collaboration with such people could be great, but it’s not about the parties who are developing the collaboration. It is actually about those who are targeted to receive the benefits of the collaboration.
For example, let’s say Apple and Samsung decide to collaborate. As reading this, you’ve already thought it would be weird, but is it clear to you why?
For such a long time, both Apple and Samsung have communicated things to their followers in a different manner and it happened because Apple and Samsung believe in different things, have different values and goals. During this time, those who resonated with the values, beliefs and goals of Apple, decided to stay with Apple. The same, in the case of Samsung.
Do you believe there’s a chance that Apple and Samsung could collaborate and create something that’s common for their communities? Maybe, but with tremendous efforts. And it would be easier for both Apple and Samsung to find other companies to collaborate with that share the same values, beliefs and goals.
6. (personal) Brand building is about being yourself
This can also be applicable for companies, but it works more for personal brands.
Here’s a weird example.
Imagine you have in front of you 10 forks. They all look the same. They are all made of the same metal. They have the same size. They’re identical.
Are you going to care if one of them is going to break of if you lose one of them? Not really, no. You get to have 9 more.
The same thing can’t be applied to humans because we can’t be cloned. We are all unique and different in our own way. And we should exploit our own unicity to create meaningful and remarkable relationships with those we meet.
Even though we can’t be cloned, we can have the same interests.
For example, I’m sure there are many people out there who can paint or knit. So, what makes one different from the rest of the crowd? For sure, it’s their individuality.
Make sure you are you as much as you can. It will make a huge difference in the process of building a brand, either it’s yours or your company’s.
7. Know your environment
I feel like most of the things mentioned until now are for solopreneurs or entrepreneurs. But you can build your brand and have a powerful one even if you’re working in a corporation.
Everything I’ve mentioned until now applies perfectly, it’s just a different environment.
And while you may not have to be present on social media (because you won’t really need to – at least it won’t be vital), building a personal brand inside a company, as an employee, will require the same effort towards building meaningful and remarkable relationships.
8. Create yourself some brand guidelines – only for website, social media and printed materials
When it comes to your presence on the Internet, it’s important to be consistent with your visuals.
You’ll need to use the same font (or fonts) and the same colors. As much as that, you’ll have to keep a track of your symmetry.
For example, if your logo has green and black colors and the letters in your logo have a 3-pixel space between them, then don’t ever change that. Unless you have serious reasons.
The same goes for your printed materials. If you have a margin of 2 cm between your logo and your left and top margin, make sure you have the same margin on all your printed materials.
The visual aspect of your brand is really important. And it’s important because people are visual creatures, more than anything else.
9. Behavior, behavior, behavior
This is going to be the hardest thing.
Imagine you’re a gamer and you’re streaming games 4 to 8 hours every day. And that’s most of what you do, you may think. But your viewers will be able to see your behaviors.
Your viewers will see how much you swear, how much you get angry, how much you laugh, how much you do anything of what you do.
The smart thing here is to create yourself a set of behaviors and try to implement them in whatever you do. And those behaviors should be something positive, that would help your viewers stay and watch you even more.
But that’s not everything.
The same set of behaviors should be used even when you’re not streaming. After all, your brand is not happening during certain hours or only in a specific location.
The actions of your brand are happening everywhere and every time. Make sure you do the things you enjoy and you use certain behaviors to empower the connection you create with those whom you interact with.
Experiment: What is the sound, color or smell of your brand?
If you have more than one year invested in the process of building your brand, then you should be able (or at least try) to answer the above question.
Treat it as an experiment and see how well you know your brand and how well you can associate it with different things.
With love and optimism,