The Importance of Creating an Influential Brand

Last week I was invited to a class on the benefit of essential oils.  I didn’t know a lot about the topic, but I liked  Dr. Alicia Tsounis, who was leading the class and wanted to support her, so I went, found a chair in the back of the room and took a few notes.  We had met a few weeks back at an another event and discovered we enjoyed the same books and had a few other things in common.

The content was fascinating; I learned several new things about my own health and how I could use natural oils to prevent illness and reduce some current pains, BUT that wasn’t the fascinating part of the evening for me.

The most intriguing part of the evening was watching Alicia, who has a primary business as a chiropractor, choose a side business that closely tied in to who she is in her business and her life: a woman committed to helping people heal in the most natural way possible move from chronic illnesses to living healthy, full lives.

That’s building a strong personal brand.

There was a flow to Alicia’s teaching and more importantly, you could tell she is completely relaxed and confident in her position, her teaching, her mannerisms. Everything tied together smoothly, from how she incorporated essential oils in her own life and the lives of her patients.

Better yet, she’s connecting with clients on a deeper level and they are responding and connecting to her. Her effective branding and excellent people skills create an atmosphere of people who want their help, come to her for help and here’s the best part….they are referring their friends to her for help.

When your clients refer their friends and family to you, be assured you are doing well!

Donald Miller of the StoryLine business writes that when someone comes to your website to pass the grunt test. In about five seconds, the viewer should be able to give an approving grunt that they know what your business does, understand how it benefits them (the viewr) and what you (the business owner) want them to do.

Being a girly girl, I’d prefer a contended sigh or smile of pleasure but I get what Donald means by a grunt. It works.

More than ever it’s important for people to know if we can help them, how we can help them and how they can ask us for help quickly.

Avoiding the Glazed Eye Look

So, does your branding pass the grunt test?

I’ve struggled with this. Everyone does because it’s not easy to be congruent! A succinct, well thought out brand takes think time, brainstorming and re-do time. There are so many things we want to share, it gets a little bit hairy sometimes on deciding what we should share.

Unfortunately, when we get too “talky,” people get confused. What do people do when they’re confused?

They leave.

It doesn’t matter whether they are at our website, listening to a presentation or reading a brochure.

Confused individuals click away from the web page, they mentally tune out of paying attention to the presentation and they throw away the brochure.

I call this the Glazed Eye Effect.  At the beginning of my work as a corporate trainer, I identified it from the get-go, but wasn’t sure what to do about it. Then I started to change up my presentation style, add simple visual elements and include participation activities to break up my talking.  People in the classes became more engaged, remembered the content and performed better in the procedure.

Engaged individuals lean forward and stick around. Maybe they don’t buy from you today or even next month or in six months. But engaged people keep opening the newsletters, paying attention to your social media posts and listening.

Dan Miller from 48 Days.com talks about the ‘know, like and trust’ factor. “People like to do business with people they know, like and trust.”

Those factors happen over time.

As far as branding goes, building a personal brand is about connecting with people who need your services/products and who know, like and trust you.

working with a client on branding and planning for upcoming jewelry launch!

working with a client on branding and planning for upcoming jewelry launch!

Ways to Start Building a Strong Brand Foundation

  1. Whether it’s speaking on a podcast, giving a presentation or talking one-on-one, studies show people connect with us when they hear our voice. Make sure that when you speak, you can share what you do and who it’s for clearly and succinctly.

I recently had someone tell me, “When you introduced yourself to the group, I didn’t really understand what you do.”

I was so glad she told me! I was able to explain to her what I did and I realized a certain phrasing of words was causing confusion. I’ve since eliminated that phrase.

If you’re unsure if your message is coming across clearly, ask a few people for feedback and try to simplify your message.

  1. Make sure your designs are consistent offline and online.

Colors, graphics, social media, etc should all have the look of you regardless of where people see you.

Make sure color palettes complement each other and are in the same season.  Don’t include a delicate violet into the web design if the other colors are strong primaries.

I give several tips for designing a look for your brand when you sign up for the newsletter. For an awesome book on styling your brand, I recommend Fiona Humberstone’s book, “How to Style Your Brand” or reach out to me if you’d like to talk.

  1. Be consistent.

It’s more important to be consistent than to be all over. Figure out where your target audience hangs out and focus on there for a while. You can always branch out to other social media platforms, networking groups, conventions, etc. later.

Time and resources are limited for all of us. We all have only 24 hours in a day! You’ll create a stronger brand that shouts credibility and professionalism when you can do a few things well, rather than a lot of things sporadically.

I’ve been on both sides of this equation and few good things came out of being inconsistent!

  1. If you don’t know, experiment.

If you’re starting out and are not sure what works the best, try a lot of things, but only for a limited time and with intense focus.

For example, if blogging is a way you want to promote your work and services and build a body of work, be consistent about that. Share your work assertively (not obnoxiously!). Reach out to other people in your field and offer your articles to be placed on their websites. Share your blog posts with your email lists. Ask friends for their input or to share if it’s appropriate (be careful about this! Don’t wear out friendships!) Do this for a set amount of time and evaluate your efforts.

Be sure to have Google Analytics embedded on your web site so you can collect data.

There is so many things we can do with offline experimentation. Don’t know a lot of people in the area or do you need to expose yourself to new people?  Check out Meetup.com or other networking sights and go to several meetings in the span of two months.

Then, keep track of where you’ve gone, who you met. Follow up with an email to  each person whose card you received within 48 hours.  Ask for a follow up meeting or phone call where appropriate.

After two months (or whatever time you’ve allotted) evaluate and move forward. Don’t keep going to groups that aren’t a good fit. I always ask myself, is there potential for a reciprocal relationship? Can I help them? If that answer is a no, then for sure, the second question, “can they help me” is going to be a ‘no’ too!

Always, always, always focus on how to help people!  Even if it’s not related to what you do, practice connecting people, sending a link to a podcast or a referral source that might be helpful.

  1. Focus on the story and the emotional connection of what you do and your customer.

The era of information has dulled our senses to statistics and numbers and theories. Studies, psychologists and leaders emphasize the need for connection and the thirst for connection in our hyper-connected world.

We want to know someone gets us.

Become the company that gets your clients.

Branding work day with a client- coffee, scribbling and lots of planning.

Branding work day with a client- coffee, scribbling and lots of planning.

This is the foundation for creating a brand that establishes you in your field with credibility and brings people to you.  It’s not just a logical connection, there must be a heart connection, an emotional connection between your business and your clients.

I’ll be leading a one day class in Sacramento on Creating the Foundations of a Beautiful Business. We’re going to take a look at where your business is going and how you’re going to get there.

It’s going to be a small class because I want to focus on each person in the room.

I want you to feel excited about your business and enriching the lives of the people who buy your product and services. And, I want you to have a guide on how you are going to get there! No more overwhelm, just a well laid out plan for your journey to growth.

This is what’s called the Telescope vs. Microscope  approach to building your business and I’ll be teaching on that.

This is going to be an inspirational day!  I’m gearing up with so much excitement for this class!  We’ve got a lot of stuff planned. If you’re interested, be sure to sign up for the newsletter list- details coming soon!

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