Successful entrepreneurs know that customers don’t buy a product; they buy you. The unique qualities you possess are your personality and experience, and these are the qualities to capitalize on in your business. There was a time not too long ago when “branding” meant having an official logo and a fancy catalog, but in today’s online marketplace—especially for small businesses—the real appeal is not in appearing to be a big, impersonal company, but rather in being personal and approachable. People want to see a business owner they feel they can know and trust. So let your personality shine through in a variety of ways.
Logos, colors, website design, and marketing strategies are all important aspects of branding, but one area that’s often neglected is the personal side of being an entrepreneur.
Your Authentic Voice
How you speak, write, or act on video or in a podcast or video has the power to instantly identify you to your audience. You can see an example of this when you scroll through your social media feeds. It’s easy to know who posted a particular photo, meme, video, comment, or status update just by recognizing their unique speaking or writing styles.
An important aspect of your “voice” is that it has the power to attract a specific audience. Think of the many podcasters, radio, and YouTube personalities that their listeners are devoted to or the bloggers that have large followings. It’s their personalities that attract their audiences, not only the content they provide.
Be authentic in your voice. Using profanity or being snarky doesn’t work for everyone; but if you have a knack for being snarky and funny, then use it to your advantage. Have an idea at the outset what kind of audience you want to attract. Your brand doesn’t have to be built on anything shocking or unusual. You can attract customers to your brand by being gentle, complimentary, and inspirational. The important thing is to demonstrate integrity regardless of your personality or style.
You might think your backstory is boring and uneventful, but not everyone else will! In fact, ordinary people want to know that someone like themselves can reach a level of success. If Heather Housewife, Cashier Carly, or Mike Mechanic can start their own businesses, then maybe they can too.
How did you start? What did you do along the way to where you are today? Your story is a powerful tool that can help establish your brand and attract the right customers. Get online and look at the websites of your favorite local or small businesses. Read the “About” pages. Which ones draw you in and which ones leave you unimpressed?
Your story doesn’t have to be remarkable or dramatic, and you certainly don’t have to “spill your guts” or air your dirty laundry (unless you’re selling homemade all-natural detergent), but it does need to be authentic. Be real and you’ll never have to worry about attracting the right audience. They will self-select, and the ideal clients and customers will find you.
If you build your brand, you’ll build your business. This is because people identify your brand with the products or services you offer. When your brand is a reflection of who you are, your reputation will precede you—for worse or for better!