Hey, great to see you here. Pull up your chair and tell me all your secrets.
HUH? I know, that was a lil bit forward, wasn’t it! But bare with me. I’m not usually that up front – honest – but I did choose my words carefully here because I wanted to make a point.
And it’s an important one too.
One of the biggest mistakes business owners make with their brand is they’re w-a-y too forward.
In other words, they jump straight to the visuals.
** Shakes head in despair!**
Now I understand that it’s an easy mistake to make. It feels like the right step. Brand = visuals, right?
But here’s the problem.
If you don’t know what you want your visuals to say – and what feelings you want them to inspire – you’ll end up with something that might look good but, doesn’t attract your desired response.
To be blunt, YOU’LL MAKE THE WRONG FIRST IMPRESSION – and you don’t want to do that.
THE FEELINGS YOUR BRAND INSPIRES SHOULD NOT BE ACCIDENTAL.
That’s because YOU get to influence them. That’s right. There are no excuses. No ‘what ifs?’ This is all up to you.
And with that in mind, I want to raise your expectations about what visual marketing can help you achieve.
In fact, I invite you to make a lil commitment to yourself right now.
Instead of making do with things that look ‘good’ – which is an intangible, subjective term anyway – from this point forward I want you to DEMAND visuals that:
- Attract your Perfect Customer – effortlessly and almost magnetically
- Make it easy for you to disrupt
- Make you distinctive, memorable, and highly visible in the overcrowded digital world
- Help you build your know, like, trust factor – without the need to speak a word
- Inspire feelings in your Tribe that get them buying – and not regretting
- Create that ‘I-want-what-she’s-got’ brand feeling
Because that’s what your brand needs to do.
**Are you in?**
Now if your brand isn’t doing all those things for you right now, then I’m sorry to say that you’re selling yourself short and making your life a whole lot harder than it needs to be.
That, and you’re setting yourself up for disappointment too. You’ll pour your heart into your perfect products and services only to find that they just don’t attract the right people.
So while your brand isn’t everything, it does come pretty close – if you really want to Make Your Mark.
So hold tight! Please don’t go running, brand vision in hand, to your nearest designer just yet – because you don’t need a designer to create your brand.
The truth is you already have a brand.
And it’s in your head right now – yup.
So before you employ a designer to translate that brand into fonts, colours, and images, you need to understand what your brand is really here to say and do.
Which is something only YOU can do.
And to help kick-start the process, I’ve pulled together the top FIVE thinking rules that will help you to better articulate the vision you have for your brand – so when your designer gets creative, their results don’t disappoint.
Ready to pull up your chair now?
Then let’s Crack The Fuck On….
Rule 1 – Creative thinking
The best thing about running a business right now is that it’s never been easier to get started.
- Your marketing options are plentiful.
- The barriers to starting up are simple to overcome.
- It’s easy to start conversations with people who could become customers.
You don’t even need a lot of money! If you’ve got an idea, you can test the waters for little risk and make things happen.
But that leads us to the hardest thing about running a business!
Because it’s never been easier to get started, you have A LOT of competition.
True, a lot of that competition will not have a patch on you, but there’s still enough to force you to think differently about how you will position and market yourself.
This is where creativity is key to your brand.
If you want to Make Your Mark, you need to present your ideas and offerings in interesting, memorable, and unique ways.
You need to offer products and services with a twist that disrupt the timeline.
And your creativity is the most powerful tool you have to make this possible.
Without creativity, you’re going to fall into the conventional ways of doing things. You’ll end up being another boring offer that blends in with the masses.
So as you create your mark-making brand, give yourself the time and space to think and explore your imagination. Take off the limitations and give yourself permission to explore.
It doesn’t matter if you end up with a lot of rubbish ideas. This is an important part of the process because among the crap will be the gems that hold the potential to change everything.
Rule 2 – Start with YOU
You’re going to hear me say this a lot – but it’s such an important concept that it’s worth repeating over and over.
YOUR BUSINESS IS HERE TO SERVE YOU FIRST.
Of course, you want to help customers with your offerings, but your fulfilment trumps that.
If you’re not happy with your business then you’re going to struggle to give it your all and create something truly exceptional that makes your mark.
Far too many people lose themselves in their business.
They get caught up in the shoulds and proven formulas and forget who they are.
This dumbs the business down until it becomes just another mediocre offering in the ever-increasing sea of options.
Please do not let that happen to you.
Instead, follow your dreams. Use your intuition. Listen to your gut and use your business to express yourself. And as well as helping your passion flow, you’ll end up creating something distinctive, unique, and memorable.
Start with YOU and make your business an extension of who you are.
When you do YOU, everything else feels effortless.
Rule 3 – Be Unconventional
Do this, don’t do that, shoulds, musts, have-tos!
Argrrrr! It’s starting to feel more like that job you said you’d never go back to!
I expect they drive you crazy too – all the rules and conventions shut down your creativity.
Remember, if you try to build a brand that fits someone else’s formula, you’ll close down the part of you that’s excited to find its own way. The part that set off to create this business in the first place. The part that doesn’t follow the rules, but creates them!
JUST BECAUSE SOMETHING WORKED FOR SOMEONE ELSE, DOESN’T MEAN IT WILL WORK FOR YOU.
Worse still, someone else’s method will be infused with them which means if you adopt it for yourself, you can’t be fully YOU.
So ditch the formulas and templates. Sure they serve a purpose – but that’s only to inspire you to find your own way of doing things; not to be constrained by them. Instead start from your own BLANK SHEET OF PAPER and make your mark on that :-)
That’s why I want you to be unconventional.
It’s your business and it’s your brand.
Discover your way – and do things like that.
It takes courage to step away from the norm, but when you set out to be unconventional, you can find the contrasts. You discover fresh ways to connect up what you already know. You get to unlock the new ideas.
IN OTHER WORDS, YOU GET TO UNDERSTAND – AND HARNESS – YOUR INDIVIDUALITY AND YOUR UNIQUENESS.
As a result, you stand out.
You disrupt the timeline simply because you’re not trying to be like everyone else! You don’t fit into a specific formula. You don’t meet the expectations.
It’s a simple way to get noticed. And it’s the most effortless when you really allow yourself to do things your way.
That’s why Rule 3 is about stepping away from the ‘shoulds’ so you can open the door to the ‘coulds’.
As a result, you get to experiment and explore. You get to harness your creativity and imagination.
And in doing so, you get to Make Your Mark in a way that truly expresses who you are.
Rule 4. BREAK THE RULES!
I know, I’ve written a blog that’s all about the rules to follow. And now I’m telling you to break them!
You have to BREAK THE RULES.
First, you listen to all the advice, then you ignore it all and do it your own way!
listen to others, BUT DON’T TAKE WHAT THEY SAY AS GOSPEL.
When it comes to creative work – no matter what line of work you are in if you have created a business, you are creative – there is always more than one effective way to do something.
Don’t squeeze yourself into a box that doesn’t fit.
Instead, see what happens when you step out of it. I know! There’s a massive cliche in there somewhere – let’s try to skip over that!
Break the rules, on your own terms, listen learn and then do it all your own way anyway. and see what shape your business and your brand takes on as a result.
Rule 5 – COMPARE AND CONTRAST
It’s VERY hard to create something entirely unique. So stop trying to be ‘different’.
Look around you and you’ll see that most ‘new’ things are old ideas revamped or presented in different, interesting, or unusual ways.
And there’s nothing wrong with this.
Your products and services don’t have to be entirely original.
It’s inevitable that you’ll be influenced by the people, experiences, and situations you encounter. We all are.
But that doesn’t mean you should copy. That’s a BIG no-no.
Instead, put your own spin on your ideas with the help of contrasts and use this technique to Make Your Mark.
Not sure what that means…
Let’s play a game
Now that I’ve revealed the thinking rules you ‘need’ to adopt, let me share a quick exercise that ties this together.
It’s called the Visual Association game, it’s a bit like that word association game but with visuals, and when used in your brand it’s a simple, yet powerful way to explore how much you can say with visuals – especially when you’re open to thinking creatively, unconventionally, and outside of that pesky box.
Here’s what I want you to do:
Find 20 images that represent you – Pinterest is a great tool to do this. Simply have a look and see what catches your eye. In terms of images, anything goes:
- Things you love
- Things you hate
- Things that somehow express you
Use Pinterest to create a mood board and ‘pin’ your favourite images. You can make this board private so that no one else can see it.
Finally, grab your notebook and look at all the images. List the words you associate with each image you pinned.
Keep going until you have a set of words and visuals that link back to you.
I LOVE doing this exercise – it’s something I do with all my one-to-one clients.
It’s amongst the easiest, quickest way to experience how visuals translate into words, and how they each inspire emotional responses.
Which is exactly what you want your brand to do if you’re committed to Making Your Mark.
Let me know how you get on in the comments below.
And I’ll see you in the next article when I reveal the four-step process I use to create Mark Marking brands.