Making a real brand
Shopify Growth Specialist
What is your brand?
I don’t mean the logo, the colors, or anything like that.
That’s branding, and it’s not what I’m talking about. Customers don’t care nearly as much about that as you’ve been led to think. It’s like a bookmark. A really nice bookmark is great. But it won’t make a bad book worth reading, just like using a piece of yarn or a folded napkin won’t take anything away from Shakespeare.
Your real brand
Your brand is what people feel when they think about your business.
It is the feelings, words, ideas, and emotions that your buyers associate with you.
It’s the experiences they have with you.
It's telling friends about you.
It’s the reason they don’t automatically shop on price and go with a cheaper option when one exists.
So this new quick hack of using social media and modern tech to build up your brand isn’t enough. It just isn’t. There is no substitute for honest hard work. You have to earn the privilege of building a “personal brand”, and the only way to do that is to actually execute
Three things you can do to establish the kind of brand that matters:
Learn about your buyers
If you are losing out to competitors or even worse, losing out to no sale, then you don’t know enough about your buyers and their needs.
You need to understand more about their self-perception, the language they use when talking about the needs you address, and where they go for information and help surrounding what you sell.
Conduct surveys. Read reviews. Read the blogs and social feeds of the influencers that your target market love.
Get real feedback from the people who are and maybe more importantly, should be buying from you. Then actually put that to use in your design, copy, and product development.
Create a consistent voice and for God’s sake, say something interesting
Every time you audience hears from you, they should know it’s you, and they should want to listen. This applies if you are speaking with a company voice or a personal voice. When your audience reads your social media posts, newsletters, blog posts, hears you speak on a podcast, or sees you on YouTube, they should be able to tell that it’s the same voice all the time.
Just as importantly, that voice should be speaking in a way that appeals to the people you want to sell to. Don’t try to be for everyone, because you will absolutely end up being for no one.
Two examples of consistent and interesting voices
Nick Disabato is a consultant I’ve learned a lot from. I’ve listened to his podcasts and bought his books. I hear his voice in my head when I read his writing. He describes what he does as yelling at the internet for profit. Some people don’t like him because he sometimes comes across as angry and opinionated. I DO like him because he comes across as angry and opinionated. I paid him money for his books because of his consistent message and voice.
Jim Wendler is a former college football player and powerlifter, author of 5/3/1, and general grouchy badass. Again, Jim is unmistakable in his writing style and personality. He is always no-nonsense, brief, and concerned primarily with effectiveness and by being that way, he helps young athletes and older trainees who want to get strong without injury or nonsense training fads. It’s his voice and his brand, that allows him to do that.
These two men are nothing alike in personality or occupation. But they both end up with money from their target audeince (me included).
Why? Because they are interesting, consistent, and unapologetically themselves. You may not like them, but they are great writers and are good at what they do.
As they move forward and grow, their voice and message may change over time, but it’s still consistently their own. Yours should be too.
Execute on every interaction
If you can create a great experience for a customer with each communication, you occupy a much larger part of their mind. That means they will give you more referrals and more repeat business.
Little touches never go unnoticed.
- Give something really small for free when they order. It doesn’t matter if it costs you almost nothing. It will still be a value add.
- Reach out and respond to social media mentions. Whether it’s negative, positive, or just a name drop, you can win fans and secure yourself as someone’s go-to.
- Entertain and inform all the time. Newsletter? Sign-up confirmation? Receipt? Find some way to make it beneficial to the reader.
- Always fix problems. If you mess up, fix it. If they mess up, fix it anyway. When you take care of customers, people notice. It may be a headache to put out those fires, but it pays off when people trust you.
Know your buyers. Speak to them in ways that matter. Deliver just a little more than you promise. It’s worth it if you want a sustainable and profitable business.