When you have a great idea, and you want to start telling people about it, what do you say? Do you tell them what it is? What it’s called? How it will work? What it will look like?
If you’re telling them any of these things, what you’re really doing is telling them about your brand. So what is your brand?
Your brand is…
your words, your logo, your images, your colors, your personality, your story.
Your brand is…
the experiences you provide online, offline, and everywhere inbetween.
Your brand is…
the perception of who you (and your company) are to the people you know and the people you don’t know.
Your brand is…
Your brand is…
So if you’ve got a great idea, the first place you need to start is with establishing your brand. Here is a list of the 5 things I consider to be most important when establishing your brand.
In business jargon, this is known as your target audience, but really, all that means is who you’re helping. You must be able to answer that question, “Who are you helping?” Often times we are tempted to just say we want to help everyone, and while that is a noble goal, the reality is, we can’t.
“If everything is bold, then nothing is bold.”
(See what I did there? ↑ Nothing is bold in that sentence, but now, this is bold.)
Or to put it another way…
“You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be something to someone.”
The point is, you really need to know who you want to help. Without knowing this, you’re not going to know how to present your product or service in a way that will help anyone.
Along with knowing who you help, you must know why you want to help them. There is always a reason. Knowing why you want to help people will allow you to present the end result to your “who” or target audience, rather than just what it is you are promoting. There may be hundreds or thousands of people doing something similar to you (don’t worry, that’s a good thing, it means people actually want what you offer), but you may be one of few people or even the only one who does your thing for the reasons that you do them.
Once you are clear on WHY you are helping WHO you are helping, the HOW you help them will show up.
Here is an example of my own approach with Bobolink Creative.
Who do I want to help?
People with great ideas that don’t have the technical knowledge, resources or organizational skills to bring it all together and make their dream happen.
Why do I want to help them?
I take the intimidation out of technology so that people can be empowered to use the right tools + the right way for their life, their business, and for helping others.
How do I help them?
I have a podcast called No Tech to Pro Tech, a digital resource library with articles (you’re reading one of those now) and educational content, and digital consulting + coaching.
Having a name is super important. Not only does it give people a way to identify you, your company, your products/services, but it also gives you a sense of professionalism. When people have a sense of professionalism, that in turn gives them a sense of trust with you and your company/product/service. Now when I say “professionalism,” I don’t mean you have to be a stuffy suit and tie. I may have thought that at one point in time, but I have come to realize that it is far more about having your unique personality combined with a true desire to help your customers with your thing. The point is, you need to have a name, and your name needs a good story. Like we just said with Your Why, there is always a reason. So, what is the reason for your name?
Why did I name my company Bobolink Creative?
Well, when I was trying to think of a name for my company, my father suggested I name it Lockwood Incorporated after the street name that I lived on. My response to him was, “No. I’m not going to name it after my street. Anyway, if I were going to name it after a street, I would use Bob-O-Link Drive.” Bob-O-Link Drive was a street across from my grandma’s house growing up. I always thought it was the silliest name for a street. At the time, I had no idea that a bobolink was actually a bird and the entire neighborhood had street names after birds. A few weeks later, the word “bobolink” was still ringing in my head and I thought it just might be quirky enough to be memorable. There you have it, Bobolink Creative was born!
Why did I name my podcast No Tech to Pro Tech?
The idea behind “No Tech to Pro Tech” is that I want people who feel they have little to no technology knowledge to learn how to best use the digital tools they have available to them. They might not truly call themselves a pro at technology at the end of the day, but they will at least have enough confidence to use what they have effectively, and that’s what I’m after. I want to equip people with enough knowledge and confidence in themselves and the tools they are using that they will be able to use them for their own lives, their businesses, and in turn to help others.
Now let me be clear here, just because I say you need a name, doesn’t mean you can’t use your own name. If you want to establish your personal name as your brand, you can totally do that, and A LOT of people do! This is somewhat of a preference whether you want to use your name or a different name, but either way you must establish a name for your brand.
You need a logo. Even the simplest of logos using nothing but a single typeface is still a logo. People need to have a way to recognize you and associate your thing with who you are. My best recommendation for this is to hire a professional designer to create your logo for you. It may be tempting to try and save as much as you can as you are getting started by putting together a logo yourself, or having your neighbor’s nephew who likes to use the computer design it, but I strongly recommend against that. It will be worth it in the long run to invest in yourself and your brand. There is a lot that goes into the design of your logo. From the typefaces, to the imagery, to the colors used, every aspect of your logo is communicating something about your brand.
Your Digital Hub (aka your website)
This may be last in the list, but it’s certainly not least. Your website is the front door of your business. It must be your digital hub, and everything you do must point your audience/customers back to your digital hub. Whether you are selling products, posting articles for your blog, promoting the services you offer, or anything else, it all happens on your website.
People need to know where they can find you. Social media can be great in some cases, but social media can change in an instant. You don’t own your content on social media, the platform owns it. Your website, you own and control, and you always want to establish your brand in an environment you are certain of. Using your website as your digital hub and the central location of your brand gives your audience and customers a sense of consistency and an expectation on where they can best find and interact with you. With your website as your digital hub, not only will people know where to find you, but you can use your website to build your mailing list and have a direct way to stay in touch with your audience as well.
Ok, all of this is just the tip of the iceberg, but it’s a great place to start.
So if you’ve got a great idea, cut out the noise and strip it down to the most important pieces. There will be plenty of time to build and expand into everything else down the road.
Good luck. If you need help with any of these things, feel free to reach out, I’d love to help you.