Branding isn't just for the big girls. You have a brand whether you create it or not — the question is, do you control it or does it control you?
Step 1: Define your target audience
Your brand isn't about showing off who you are, it's about attracting the types of people who would love who you are!
It's a lot like dating. You'll attract a different kind of man wearing a sundress than a power suit. You don't need to attract every customer, just the ones you want to work with and who'll want to work with you. In fact, trying too hard to appeal to everyone will likely make you less appealing to everyone.
Step 2: Discover your unique selling proposition (USP)
The competition is fierce! Focus on what makes you unique. Your USP doesn't have to be something nobody else is doing. Just put your own unique spin on why you're doing it better. Everything from the words you use to the product label should reflect this in some way.
Step 3: Write your elevator pitch
"If you have an idea, have a plan up front. Brand as soon as you can. You are known by your logo. Your product is your packaging."
Your elevator pitch is a succinct description of your company. It should be short enough to explain in an elevator ride while being engaging enough to pique interest immediately. You'll need to spend some time on this, and don't be afraid to rewrite it if you don't think it's working.
Step 4: Get your branding on
Now you'll need a logo, marketing materials and, if you sell a product, packaging. We can't stress enough how important it is to hire a professional designer and writer. Making a brochure in Word using clipart does the opposite of boosting your credibility. A professional can also help ensure your branding stays consistent across the board.
Still not convinced?
Branding done right does require a certain financial investment, even if you do it yourself (your time is money, too). For those of you who still aren't convinced, we reached out to a successful home-based entrepreneur to find out how she did it.
Butcher's Bunches Handcrafted Preserves —
A work-from-home mom's personal branding story
Liz Kennard Butcher of Butcher's Bunches Handcrafted Preserves told SheKnows that not branding sooner was her biggest mistake.
Kennard says, "There are a lot of factors, and who you know and how much money you have has a lot to do with it, but I can promise you that branding has just about everything else to do with it... The biggest mistake we made... was not branding sooner. Creating a brand that showed our nature, our love, our passion — the way we wanted it to be shown. We make no-sugar-added jams and preserves from local fruit. We are a family business; we began as farmers, growing veggies and fruits at the local farmers market... We are cute, we are eclectic, we are a little bit old fashioned...
"We are currently in a few hundred stores all across the United States, and have been in swag bags in Southern California... not just Utah!...
"My advice is if you have an idea, have a plan up front. Brand as soon as you can. You are known by your logo. Your product is your packaging. People see first, then look, eat, read, taste later. Remember that!"
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