Hello, hello, hello. It’s that time again, and boy do I have an important blog for you today. I want to talk to you about a few things in particular, but overall I want to break down and define the things that you just have to understand to nail your branding. Why? Because these are the things that brand stylists and branding experts use alllll the time. And I mean all the time.

Whether it’s lives, posts, emails or on websites you’re going to see and hear these words time and time again. So the more you understand them, the more you’ll know what you’re getting into, and what to expect from the person you decide to work with. And if you decide to go DIY, well that’s fine too, but it’s even more important that you understand these things. The moment you do, trust me, everything will start falling into place.

So while I always love to talk to you, and I would say every blog I write is must-read (I’m a bit biased – OBVs), I think this one is even more important than the rest. Why? Because these are all the things that go into making a strong, successful brand. So what are we waiting for, let’s get cracking.

Let’s start with the big one. The one that if you create it, and nail it, will really change your life and help you achieve all those goals. So where to start? Put simply, your brand is everything. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. And it’s also how everything makes your clients feel. It’s that emotional connection you create with your audience and the experience that they have with you.

It’s your shop window – the bit that stands out in the crowd. But EVEN more than that, I would always say your brand is the bones of your business. And without strong bones, none of the rest can function. That’s why it all needs to work together. It needs to be consistent, in-tune and on-point. It doesn’t end when you launch, it lives forever, and it needs to reflect you. So you can tell your story, share your message and make it happen.

Branding is the way you bring your brand to life. It’s distilling all the things you want to stand for, your story and your message into something clear, and engaging that will grab your client’s attention from the moment they see it.

Now some people think it’s just your logo. But those people would be wrong. Because It is so much more. Your logo is just one element. You need submarks, colours, patterns, textures, and fonts, not to mention a kick-ass website. And it all has to embody your brand.

It shouldn’t appeal to everyone, but it has to appeal to your future clients – the people you really REALLY want to buy from you, be unique, showcase your personality and stand out in your industry.  Your brand stylist should always work with you to ensure it does just that.

This is a word that I use a lot, and I think it’s at the heart of every successful brand. But first of all, what does it mean? Well, in brand terms, it’s all about finding your USP in terms of WHAT you offer and WHO you are offering it to. I mean, you simply can’t please everyone. And if you try to do that, your message will become diluted, rather than clear and engaging.

So don’t worry if not everyone likes you. Focus on your niche and you’ll stand out in your industry. And when you stand out you’ll be able to build an engaged, loyal audience who know, like and trust you. And when you have that, you’ll have returning customers, who love your brand, and will want to tell all their friends about you. Winner!

Your tone of voice is exactly what it sounds like – the way you speak. It’s the way you engage with your audience, tell your story and is key to creating that emotional connection. It has to convey your message, your brand, and most importantly, it has to sound like you. Why? Because you are your brand. And every time you go live, write a social post, an email or meet a potential client face to face you are using your tone of voice. So if your written voice is different from your face-to-face voice, you will be missing that all important consistency. And that is absolutely essential when it comes to building a brand.

So how do you define your tone of voice? Well, if you’re struggling with it, I wrote a blog allllll about one way, which is using your brand story, and you can read all about it right here. Another great way to find your voice is to go live, and then listen back. Why? Because you won’t suffer from that fear of the blank page. Instead, you’ll speak naturally, you’ll deliver the information in a way that only you can. And you can use everything from the pause you make, or the short sentences you use, or the phrases you keep going back to, to craft your tone of voice.

Now this is a real key one. And it’s one that a lot of entrepreneurs often overlook and neglect. So what is it exactly? Well, in a nutshell it’s the WHAT, WHO, HOW and WHY of your brand. It should sum up who you are, what you do, and who you do it for in a short, simple sentence. And it should be front and centre of your messaging on your website so every time a potential client lands their, they understand what you offer and how you can help them.

For example, my mission statement for Branding by Nicki is: ‘Modern and contemporary design studio for female entrepreneurs, ready to make it happen.’ So from that you know –

The WHAT – design studio

The HOW – modern and contemporary

The WHO – for female entrepreneurs

The WHY – ready to make it happen

I hope that helps you when you start thinking about yours.

This is what you, and your brand stand for. What do you want to be known for? For example you could be all about ethical sourcing of materials, or maybe everything you create is handmade. But more than just the process of making the products you offer, your brand values can be more service focussed.

So what do I mean by that? Well, for me, one of the key things that I stand for is always going above and beyond for every single one of my clients. I always want to make sure they have the best possible service, and in both my businesses I have carved a reputation for doing just that.

These values are another way to build that know, like and trust factor that I keep mentioning (I’ll come onto that later), because your clients will know exactly what they’re getting from you, they’ll share the same values that you do, meaning they like you, and they’ll trust you to deliver.

This is a real buzzword right now, but it’s something that is honestly so, so, SO important when it comes to building your brand. So what do I mean when I use the word visibility? Well, it’s all about being seen by your potential clients. And I’m not just talking about making sure they see your products. I mean, YOU being seen.

Why? Because you are your brand. And your potential clients want to hear from the driving force behind that brand. You are the secret ingredient. And the more your visible you are the more your audience will fall in love with you. Meaning they are so much more likely to not only buy from you, but also recommend you to more people just like them. So go Live on Facebook and Instagram, post your Instagram stories to make the most of that real estate at the top of the feed and start speaking directly to your audience. The more they see you the stronger their connection to you will become.

A touchpoint is any way your audience can interact with you as a brand. Any way you can reach them to tell your story or share your brand message. So we have the obvious ones like your daily Instagram post or your website, but there are soooooo many more.

In fact, there are over 21 now, that’s right TWENTY ONE ways in which you can speak to people about your brand and what you have to offer. From Facebook Lives to face-to-face chats, business cards, Instagram stories, Instagram TV, your packaging, thank you notes, weekly emails or freebies, you can target people across every single one of these unique touch points.

But despite them being unique ways to reach people, your brand, and your message has to be consistent across each and every single one of them. That’s why, and I’ll come back to my earlier point, one logo just simply isn’t going to cut it. You need a consistent look and feel, colours, and tone of voice across everything, so your potential clients know it’s your brand from the moment they see it.

Another big buzzword right now, but another hugely important word and theme when it comes to creating a successful brand. Now, when it comes to branding, business and life there is never really a one size fits all solution that suits everyone. This is especially the case when it comes to authenticity.

It has to be right, and feel right for you. But as it’s a massive value of mine, personally I think authenticity is all about being honest, being yourself and never apologizing for that. As a strong, passionate and kick-ass entrepreneur you have to drive your business forward day in, day out. You have to show up and bring it, so with that amount of hard work, you have to be yourself.

But you also have to strike the right balance between being honest, and over-sharing. You have to understand your audience, know what makes them tick and know what’s going to make them love you even more. It might be sharing those funny stories like your weird obsession (I am addicted to Bourbon biscuits FYI) at the right moment. But it should always add value. Oh, I wrote a blog all about this too…

So, I’ve mentioned this bad boy quite a few times throughout this blog, but again, it’s absolutely key to creating a successful brand. Why? Because all of the things I’ve talked about above combine to create exactly this with each of your clients.

A consistent brand, with a consistent message, tone and the right amount of you, across every touchpoint will enable you to grab your audience’s attention. They’ll get to know you. Who you are, what you do, how you can help. They’ll be intrigued. Then, the more they see, hear and interact with you, across each touchpoint, the more they’ll start to like you. They’ll see that they share a similar mindset to you. Your brand has the same values they buy into. And that’s when they’ll start to trust you. And when they do that, they won’t want to go anywhere else. Winner.

So there you have it, 10 things every entrepreneur needs to understand to grow their brand. Whether you’re right at the start, rebranding, or looking to simply take things up a level, knowing each of these words and terms will help you achieve everything you want to achieve. Of course, most, if not all of them start with knowing your perfect client, but I’m SURE you know all about them already.

My final point, your brand is so much more than just a logo. It is lots, and lots of hard work, and all of the above. It will live forever, and it’s on you to make it happen. So what are you waiting for?


Nicki x

P.S. If you would like to join a free Facebook community packed with authentic, honest female entrepreneurs just like you, head over to my group The B Studio now. Look forward to seeing you there… https://www.facebook.com/groups/2202999876394402/

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