I went to an Entrepreneur’s Meetup the other day and enjoyed it.
I know from my experience and self-development path that a peer group is highly relevant to one’s wellbeing, so I decided to join this group and have a go. We meet at a Starbucks coffee shop in the city centre, quite early in the morning.
There were more than 15 people sitting in a circle. Established business owners, people starting up, and freelancers. There were also people who are not entrepreneurs yet, but are thinking about striking out on their own and just wanted to see what topics the group discussed and what it was like.
The group founder gave us an interesting topic to discuss: Branding.
How do we deal with branding, what does it mean to have a brand, and how relevant is it for our activity/business?
Personally I associate branding with being AWARE of what we have to offer, being GOOD at it, and putting it AT SERVICE to people, in a CONFIDENT way. Creating a branding means having thought about what best represents you, about your business name and logo and about the message you want to get through with your branding.
In order to create that, and according to the different opinions which came up, you can either focus onto a logo design for weeks or months, trying to find whatever version corresponds most to your taste, losing lots of time and not focussing on the core of your business, or you could start by identifying what mostly defines you, what the core message of your activity is, for whom it is intended and how you want it to be perceived and understood.
Doing the latter implies that you become conscious and aware of the foundations of your new activity, that you know exactly what you want to do AND achieve, and that you know precisely for whom you are creating the branding. Once this done, you know what message you want to get through to your customers/clients and you can easily describe it to a designer. The designer can then create a logo that reflects the characteristics you describe and links the design to your personality (an important element to consider as well).
Here is why branding is important:
1. Your branding sets you apart from competition. It is crucial to stand apart from the crowd today. With globalization you are no longer competing locally but in a global economy.
2. Your brand tells prospects and customers about the core message of your activity. The whole brand experience, from the name of the activity to the logo, up to the way you answer your phone, tells your customer about what kind of business owner or freelancer you are. Do these points coincide? A good branding helps customers/clients know what to expect.
People are put at ease when they know exactly what to expect each and every time they experience your brand.
3. Your branding helps you connect with your clients emotionally. Buying your services or purchasing from you is an emotional experience and having a good brand helps people feel good when they engage with your activity.
At the Meetup somebody was asking how it is possible to be visible in the world, when there is so much competition around. This person sounded quite frustrated and full of doubt about being able to distinguish his activity from the activities of companies that have been in the field for much longer. If this person stopped looking so much at what other people are doing and instead focussed on creating what he WANTED to create, the mere fact that by nature he is a different human being from the others would lead him to naturally differentiate himself from the others. But if he himself does not believe that, the path gets difficult.
Building your own brand is extremely important for your success. But what is even more important is that you know exactly what your activities’ foundations are, so that they can be reflected in your branding. This presupposes that your mindset is well set up, your confidence is healthily boosted and your strategy is clearly defined.
“In order to succeed we must first BELIEVE that we can”