Building Your BrandYou have a dream. It could be any number of things – small batch food artisan, indie film director, startup mogul… but whatever it is, it’s something you love, something you’re passionate about, and it’s something that you’re determined and driven to succeed at. You have the skills, the ideas and the talent to back it all up – but how do you develop your brand to get the attention of potential clients, partners or cohorts? How do you get your name out there? How do you draw enough attention to get that big break?
It’s all about developing and building a brand – a brand for your small business, your service, or even just for yourself. We have a few tips that can help:
This may seem obvious, but when you’re developing a brand, it’s key that you be true to yourself. It’s important that you know your strengths and your limitations, and that you play to both. If you’re not a born graphic designer, be aware that that your party planning company will have to hire out the unique invitation design. If you failed at home economics, maybe a bakery really isn’t your thing – no matter how great the concept is. Besides strengths and weaknesses, it’s key for you to identify your passion; you might be jazzed about screenprinting today, but what about next week? Next Year? 2050? If you’re passionate about what you do it’ll show – and it’ll get consumers and clients passionate about your service or product, too. And for a company to keep growing, it’s vital that you stay at the leading edge of your market, no matter how niche it is. Hours of research can kill a passing hobby very quickly – are you sure you can handle 20 hours of analyzing jam recipes every week?
Of course, we can’t talk about branding without social media and networking. Networking was such an ugly word to me for years. It wasn’t until I realized that networking is about making friends, that I was able to fully embrace the concept. Going to conventions or festivals, lectures or events guarantees that you’ll be meeting people who share similar, if not identical, interests to yours. Continue conversation online; friend, like or connect with them via social media. The important thing is to keep the connection fresh, respond to their inquiries and stay communicative – you never know when they might have something happening that could prove to be a great opportunity for you. With Social Media, it’s important to make your operation a strong online presence. Daily posts on related topics will keep you in people’s minds – sharing information on related topics, helping to promote a friends work in the field, or even asking questions of your clients are all good ways to draw attention. Remember – social media is about socializing, not just promoting.
Partnerships & Projects
Finding people in your field that you can partner with on projects is huge; partnerships not only help increase the likelihood of a successful project, but also allow creativity to be refreshed by a new set of eyes. But it’s important to remember – not every partnership is a good one. Don’t say yes to every project that walks through the door; measure your options. While one project might have a lower profile, it might be truer to your passions and mission; while a smaller project means you can put more on your resume or portfolio, a bigger project will look more impressive in the long run. It’s important to measure your opportunities, and have a clear idea of your goals, requirements and hopes for each partnership or joint-venture. Also key? Get a feel for these people before you lock-in; you want to be positive that this partnership will reflect well on you, your company or service. Make sure these are people you can trust, who you know won’t hang you out to dry at the first speed bump.
These are just the basics for developing your brand – but there are plenty more tips where they came from! Next month I’ll be back to discuss specific ways to get your name out there.
Back to Writing.