When you start a business, there are going to be many things you are going to need to consider. From hiring the right employees, the technology your company uses, and the marketing strategy you employ, there are many critical factors you will need to put into place to ensure that everything runs smoothly. One major factor that many new startups overlook is their branding.
What is branding exactly?
The idea behind branding is to take something as elemental as water, clear, transparent and neutral, and create a perception and a specific belief in the brand we created.
For example :
- The Perrier brand makes the water refreshing, sparkling and upscale.
- The Evian brand makes you feel young
- The Montcalm brand asserts itself as a source of well-being and respectful of the environment.
All of these brands sell clear, translucent water; however, each has created a very different brand image which has allowed it to “stand out”, to differentiate itself from the others. Thus, the main advantage of branding lies in its ability to distinguish a company from its competitors in order to increase its potential. This concept is especially important during the pandemic.
When you start a business, not only do you need to consider your companies brand, but also your personal brand as the CEO or executive. Having a strong identity is essential for any entrepreneur-creator. And it’s best to think about it before you even think about your trademark. Indeed, it will give you a head start and improve your chances of success.
How do you create your personal brand? In fact, it’s both very simple and very demanding: it’s about making yourself visible, communicating by all means your vision, your personal (and professional) value, talking about your project with clarity and consistency. It is particularly important to emphasize your vision and your values in relation to the business you are going to create.
Build Your Brand With Public Speaking
One thing many CEO’s do when they build their brand is do lots of public speaking. If you have ever attended any industry conference then you will see many industry leaders speaking on stage or on panels. “One of the best ways to establish yourself as an authority is by being a keynote speaker at a major business conference” suggests Dan Smith of Keynote Speaker. “By giving a powerful presentation on stage, it automatically increases your personal brand power.”
One other method executives use to build their brand when speaking is by inspiring and motivating the audience. “When people listen to a public speaker, they either want to be educated or inspired” says John Rogan of Motivational Speakers. “If you look at people such as Tony Robbins or Les Brown, you will see that they are not known for their business acumen. They are known for being able to tell powerful stories that motivate people.”
Build Your Personal Brand First
So, before even thinking about the image that your commercial brand will have (name, logo, etc.), it is important to show your identity as an entrepreneur-creator. And this founding act unfolds in three stages:
- The time to know which forces you to define your vision, which will at the same time define the universe of your brand – your values, your priorities – and to identify your strengths and your expertise.
- The time to make known that pushes you to identify your targets and your competitors to better build your difference and develop a unique and relevant communication.
- Time to recognize , finally, which nourishes and cultivates itself over time, through your active presence on social networks such as LinkedIn or through your networking activity within professional communities, where your reputation and your notoriety will be built. entrepreneur.
Connect With Influencers
In order to stand out from the crowd within your sphere of activity, it is first of all necessary to identify influential people and blogs in your sector. It’s a good way to familiarize yourself with good practices, relay relevant and quality content on social networks. More importantly, you can become a copywriter yourself by contributing to a blog or by creating your own and use Internet marketing to establish yourself. Personal branding is about communicating about your know-how and sharing your experience in a creative way. Some even go so far as to create their logo and website.
Personal branding is therefore getting to know yourself. Your expectations refined, you will develop your own identity to acquire a reputation that will shine as much as you continue to promote your personal brand.
When you have clearly defined your objectives and your business plan, developing your brand image will be obvious. Quite naturally, the logo, message and positioning of your company will become a reflection of what drives you, as a leader.
The consistency of your image will depend on the quality of your initial reflection, since it is this upstream work that will allow you to translate an idea and a passion into a unique and powerful message .
Creating a brand is all about building a recognizable identity and associating it with positive benefits and consequences. Remember that people want to support brands that do good things in the world. According to a recent study by Motivation Ping, they found that 78% of the people they surveyed like supporting brands with a positive message and image.
7 tips to position yourself and develop your brand
1. Be impactful
Converge personal and professional brand by “appropriating” a key attribute of your activity. Each product or service has specific attributes that are important to customers: ease, speed, reliability, quality of customer service, etc. (ex: Volvo = safety).
2. Dominate your segment (even if you have to create it)
The small brands that break through are the ones that have found a “little” idea that fills a gap – a need in the marketplace that hasn’t been filled before – and continues to fill it better than anyone. If you dominate your market, competitors who emulate you will only amplify your reach. (ex: Apple and the Ipad or Ikea and furniture in kit).
3. Think big
Businesses that think big enjoy leverage that propels their brand faster. Technology companies have understood this well, developing a basic product, such as software, to which they add an infinite number of variations at almost no additional cost. Base your business model on systems, not people. (ex: Google)
4. Delight your customers
It’s your customers who decide if they like you and recommend you. So be excellent in your customer relationship. Because, according to Guy Kawasaki, delighted customers elevate your brand, as if they support a good cause. (ex: Starbucks reinvents coffee shops)
5. Turn every employee into a “growth agent”
Keep everyone focused on one key goal and three measurable outcomes, so “ business as usual ” is never an option. Surround yourself with people smarter than you and delegate as you grow older. (ex: Innocent – the naked fruits)
6. Find the right balance between innovation and brand loyalty
If you ignore innovation and your competition, you will quickly be overwhelmed. But too much innovation risks worrying your customers and draining your resources. To stay true to your brand, use open innovation and involve your customers in this process. (ex: Coca-Cola)
7. Jump at every opportunity
Sometimes a hint of luck after a bad patch can propel your business and turn it into a winning brand. The start-up period (sometimes called the “valley of death”) is your most vulnerable time, but also your most promising.
Entrepreneurship and branding are not sciences. Becoming a brand designer, personally and professionally, is a lifelong learning process . It is an art in constant evolution, without easy formulas.
These days, an entrepreneur cannot afford to hide behind an impersonal site or in the corner of an office. Business networks, social media, and blogs connect your customers to each other and to you, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.