MYM – Part 4: What’s at your CORE?

If this isn’t at the core of your brand, well, you’re screwed!

I went to the dark side 11 years ago!

When I first jumped on my favourite social platform, Facebook was all about sharing experiences and good times with my besties. You gotta love those Facebook throwbacks, right? Who doesn’t want to be reminded of that time you dressed up as a cat for Halloween and had the biggest back brushed hair known to man!

Nowadays, those memories are about as close as I’m going to get to an all-night party! Now, I’m more likely to be reminded of a milestone in Dylan’s life!

Oh, how things change!

Just like our use of Facebook.

As well as connecting with your nearest and dearest, these days you’re more than likely to use Facebook as a marketing tool. And a very powerful marketing tool at that.

Seriously, what did small businesses do before Facebook!

Digital media has made it easier than ever to get your business, your brand, your products out there.

But the timeline is a crowded place, more crowded than the coffee shop I escape to at 11am on a Wednesday morning to type these articles – does no one do ‘proper’ work anymore?!

And that’s it! With all this new technology making it easier than ever to run a business on your own terms, you don’t have to be sitting at an office on a Wednesday morning. You can sit in your favourite coffee shop, enjoying a coconut cappuccino and still make your mark in the world.

But with more and more people discovering this way of life, how the f*ck are you supposed to stand out and disrupt the conversation enough to get noticed?

It’s a question that’s fascinated me over the years.

Instinctively, I always knew design was the answer. Design is always the answer.

The right visuals grab attention, inspire emotional reactions, and make people WANT to take action.

But what type of designs work best on a fast-moving, overcrowded, content heavy platform?

The answer is simple.

It’s your social brand!

A brand that’s built on your personality. A brand that has YOU at its core. A brand that makes it easy for your perfect customer to build a relationship with you.  

Fact is, you can’t get away with being ‘faceless’ on social media anymore. You can’t show up from time to time, sharing the odd bit of information, popping up only when you want to sell something!

Stating the obvious, if you want to get social media working for your business, you need to get ‘social’.

And who wants to socialise with a faceless, nameless, personality-less business?

So if you aren’t at the core of your brand, if you haven’t figured out how to bring personality into your brand, well – you’re screwed!

Here’s why.

Disrupt the timeline

Your Perfect Customer isn’t looking to connect with another faceless brand.

They want to connect with YOU – after all, people buy from people they know, like, and trust, right?

And that got me thinking:

  • What if your brand could tell your Tribe all about you – without you needing to speak a word?
  • What if your brand could inspire the feeling that gets your Tribe hooked on you?
  • What if your brand meant you no longer had to hide, and could just be the real you?

That’s when it all came together.

Branding has to be about more than making things look ‘pretty’.

  • Your brand is a form of visual communication that attracts your Tribe to you
  • In other words, your visuals build a bridge between you and your Tribe
  • And importantly, the right design will boost your conversion rate – SIGNIFICANTLY!

So if you want to attract a particular sort of person – you want to convince your perfect customer to know, like, trust and ultimately buy from you – then you MUST put you and your personality at the CORE of your brand.

Now before you get all ‘yes, but I’m not building a business based on me’ that doesn’t matter.

The principle is still the same.

Even the big brands are built on a personality, more often than not characterised by the personality of the founder. Think Virgin, Innocent Smoothies, even Facebook. These are all brands that are built on the core beliefs and personality traits of their founders.

I’m talking about building a brand that’s built on:

  • The things you want to be known for
  • Your personality
  • Your ideas
  • Your passions
  • Your idiosyncrasies etc.

All the little quirks and difference that make you, YOU!

All the little details that make you unique.

If you express all of those in your brand then your perfect customer will know instinctively – and at a deep subconscious level – that you are the one they’ve been looking for. You are the one they want to buy from. You are the one they want to let into their lives – because that’s what building a brand does for your business, it brings you into the lives of your perfect customers far beyond that initial sale.

That’s how you disrupt the timeline.

That’s how you stand out in the crowded, noisy digital space and get your perfect customer’s eyes on you.  

It’s NOT an indulgence

I’ve been speaking about the importance of building personality brands for longer than I can remember, way before the rise of the personal brand experts on Facebook! – and I met a lot of opposition in those early days!

“Your business should be about your customers, not about you.”

“If you create a personal brand then your business becomes too dependent on you.”

“Isn’t it a bit self-indulgent to have your headshot all over your marketing?”

It’s true, all of the above are valid objections. But they all fail to understand the one overarching truth about business.

PEOPLE BUY FROM PEOPLE.

And in a digital world where new competition springs up every day, you have to make it as easy as possible for the right people to find their way to you.

While there is no one else like you, there are other people who will be offering a similar service at a similar price point.

Who you are is the only thing that’s going to differentiate you from any competitor.

So if you don’t leverage your personality in your brand, you’re making it a whole lot harder for yourself to find the best customers – as well as making it almost impossible for them to choose you.

But that’s not all. There are other reasons to put you at the CORE of your brand:

 

NO COPYCATS

People might be able to rip off your processes and your products. They can even copy your designs and words, but they can NEVER copy your personality! Only you can BE YOU without coming across as inauthentic.

With you at your CORE, those unimaginative competitors will find it a whole lot harder to keep up!  

 

SCOPE FOR GROWTH

Your business won’t stay as is it right now forever – and if it does, you’re in trouble!

As a creative entrepreneur, you’ll always have a flood of new ideas. You’ll probably change direction and explore new angles more often than you’d like – or you’re told you should – but that’s the nature of the creative.

And that’s where a brand with YOU at its core becomes invaluable.

That’s because YOU provide the consistency within your brand. Even if you switch your offerings, your brand can evolve easily because you’re sat behind it. It means you won’t ever have to go through a total brand overhaul. Instead, your brand can change with you in time.

Put you at your CORE and your brand will grow with you and fit you for life

 

STOP HIDING

A brand with YOU at its core is liberating.

There are far too many shoulds and musts in business. Sure, some templates and formats work universally, but here’s the truth.

JUST BECAUSE SOMETHING HAS WORKED FOR ONE PERSON, DOESN’T MEAN IT WILL WORK FOR YOU.

For sure get inspired by people who are further ahead than you, but don’t be afraid to break the rules and do it your way.

BE UNCONVENTIONAL

With a personal brand, you can do things your way. After all, this is your business. It’s here to serve you – so why not free up your creativity and give yourself permission to express the real you?

Take this step and you can stop hiding.

 

TAKE ACTION…

How to put YOU at the CORE

First up, have a think about who you are, what you know, and how you know it.

These are the things that need to sit at your brand’s core. The simplest way to do this is to think about all the things that make you, YOU!

Take a few moments to write down what you love most in all the world…

Next, find your contrasts.

Rarely do people create anything entirely unique. So stop beating yourself up trying to reinvent the wheel. Instead, new products and services are an original spin on something that’s already in existence. Creative business owners find new ways to present existing ideas. This is where contrast is key. It allows you to take a collective of all the things you love, and mix those up in your brand.

When you do that, your brand develops a personality that’s as unique as yours.

For example, there are other designers out there – but there isn’t anyone else who will make you feel the same way as me. And it’s my brand that inspires the feelings you feel when you interact with my business.

My brand is built on contrasts; Fun campervans, vibrant oranges, unusual, quirky, repeating shapes – all fuelled by coffee!

I’m a mix of contrasts.

I love being in nature and going back to basics – camping, jeans and t-shirts, scruffy hair, being carefree and having no plans! But then I love straight lines, and spreadsheets and being super organised!

I love wearing comfy basics – the good ol’ jeans and tee combo, but then I love crazy creative ‘irregular choice’ shoes. I’m all feathers and beads and wooden bracelets and then leather jackets! It’s these contrasts that make me me. It’s these contrasts that I bring to my business and my brand that inspires the right people to want to work with me.

Blend and contrast your own personality elements together, and something unique emerges – and this is the starting point for creating your brand identity.

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