The Five Fundamentals of a Great Brand
Hi, I’m Lauren of LaHu Brand Visibility and I’m a Brand Specialist offering Photography, Video, Design and Coaching in Brand Development and Business Confidence. I’m obsessed with helping my clients get unstuck by addressing the things that hold them back, stepping over their fears and walking their why. This is all about starting a conversation with yourself about who you REALLY are and what’s important to you. Only when you know these things can you build a business and brand that’s fully aligned and feels great to be a part of.
Developing a strong brand starts with you so there are things you may need to look at and gain insight on that perhaps hadn’t occurred to you but today we’ll really get into them!
There are five main pillars, in my mind, that support a powerful brand;
- Brand Mindset
- Brand Personality
- Understanding your Ideal Client
- Brand Message
- Brand Image
So let’s get into it and have a closer look at each one.
THE BRAND MINDSET
A Healthy Start
Getting your mindset right from the start is vital but rarely ever actually done. It takes a lot of mistakes, hiccups and even failures along the way for you to be able to unearth the mindset block you have that will be holding you back. They manifest as certain behaviours;
- An inability to talk about money or justification of the cost
- Uncertainty and the inability to commit to making a decision
- Avoidance through fear
These are common behaviours in entrepreneurs at the beginning of their journey, before they’ve consciously considered what they do that holds them back and why they do these things. But the most successful business owners will be those who are willing to explore the blocks. Even before the challenges of understanding website building, becoming an ace at marketing or even knowing your own brand, you must step over these blocks otherwise they will always hold you back.
These behaviors often come from fear; fear of change or the unknown, fear of failure and even a fear of success and it all leads back to your limiting beliefs (the beliefs you hold, about yourself or your place in the world, that hold you back);
- I am not worthy
- I am not good enough
- I don’t know enough
- I am a failure
- Nothing ever goes right for me
But the important thing to really deeply understand about limiting beliefs is that they are beliefs and NOT TRUTHS. And when you understand this you give yourself the space needed to change them rather than just accepting that this is what is.
Know Yourself before Building a Brand
Having a brand mindset begins with introspection, with overcoming fear, exercising self acceptance and diving in with a positive expectation of the outcome. It requires an understanding of your own personality; the strengths and quirky traits, the things about you that attracts others…the things that will attract your ideal clients.
If you don’t have a strong sense of self then you may find that you are inconsistent in how you show up online and this will become confusing to your audience so it’s vital to have a good sense of who you are before building your brand. When you don’t, you run the risk of moulding your brand too much to the viewer and losing yourself somewhere along the way.
The Courage and Confidence to Share Yourself
I tend to work with personal brands. For more corporate brands, it’s a whole other thing. So all the words here can safely be ignored if you run a more corporate enterprise.
A successful brand is one that builds a strong and meaningful relationship with its audience. It’s one that focuses on building trust and rapport through understanding.
Now, this is the part that people most often balk at and an area of confusion for many. How much do I share? What you share is up to you and that’s the great thing about it, and something that should take some of the terror out of the situation. But whatever you decide you will have to get to a place of feeling comfortable enough to let your followers peek behind the curtain. This is because transparency and openness build trust. And trust enables your customers to feel more comfortable in spending their hard earned money with you.
That’s not to say that it’s not possible to build a powerful brand without giving something of yourself, it’s just to say that you are your own secret weapon. You are the most powerful item in your arsenal because people buy from people so if you’re willing to let them get to know you and build a connection with them then you are on your way to building a great brand!
This leads on to finding the confidence to show up as your unapologetic self, with no holds barred. If you don’t, you run the risk of being easily forgotten. When you show up as this half-arsed, weirdly awkward or even terribly reserved version of you then people will, at best, find you boring and at worst find you suspicious. Like something is being hidden from them.
A huge turning point is always when you decide to fully accept yourself and show up with all that wonderful ‘screw it’ energy. I’m not talking about being aggressively self indulgent. I’m talking about stepping into your power, the power of radical self acceptance and not allowing your decision making to be influenced by the anxiety of wondering what others will think of you. If you can get to this place then ‘your people’ will be naturally drawn to you. And those who are not your people will be turned off from you…..but this is a REALLY good thing! They were never going to be your people and wasting time on getting their approval and sales really is just wasted time.
Your brand starts with you, not with your logo, not with your ideal client but with you. The best small business brands are a great manifestation of the people who created them. So who are you? Do you know and acknowledge your strengths and personal limitations? Do you see your quirks and the things about you that are unique to you? Do you ever consider what it is about YOU that draws others to you?
It’s a really great exercise to think very consciously about who you are as a human and what you can utilise in your business and brand that will help you be more successful. Your brand is the personality of your business. It’s the part that your followers will find a connection with, the part that they will develop an emotional response to. Love it or hate it, you never want your brand to just be in the middle, inoffensive…dull! You want to create an impression and you must be willing to accept that you and your brand and your product or service is not for everyone.
There are a number of things to consider when creating the personality of your brand;
What are your strengths and what is uniquely yours that will draw your customers to you? What energy do you convey? What makes you, you? These are the things that form the basis for the personality of your brand and business because it’s so much easier to show up for your brand when your brand is a reflection of you.
What are your values and your vision or mission for your brand? Think about the changes you want to see in the world or in the world of your customer and how your product or service will help achieve them. This is pretty powerful stuff because people will buy into your why much more readily than your what or your how.
What is the story of your brand? Why did you choose to embark on this adventure of starting up this particular business? Really think about it, it may be to help other women to grow their business through developing a healthier mindset and self esteem. It may be because you suffered a massive lack of confidence as a child and felt you would never be successful but you learned how to grow your confidence and now you want to show others how? You don’t want anyone else to suffer the setbacks you did, especially when you know the way out of that dark tunnel? Can you guess who’s story this is?
There is always an obvious, more superficial reason why but there is also, always, a really deep reason why. Can you explore this and find yours? Because if you can and you find a way to talk about it in your content then you’ll be able to start resonating with your customers who suffer that same pain.
Developing a Brand Personality that reflects who you are takes time and it takes self reflection but when the work is done, you will find a huge shift inside that will set you on the right tracks moving forward with your business.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR IDEAL CLIENT
Now this one is deep and is so individual to you, your business and your product or service so I’ll give an overview here but if you need more support in profiling your ideal client and then help in discovering the many ways you can find them online and get right in front of them then you can check out this workshop https://lahubrandvisibility.com/ideal-client-workshop/
So firstly what is an ideal client?
When asked who is your ideal client, if your answer is ‘everyone’ or ‘anyone who’s willing to buy from me’ then you need this article…badly. When you think about who you currently work with versus who you want to work with, you should also consider who you deserve to work with.
You should ask this because we forget sometimes that we all deserve to work with our ideal client. Ask yourself this; If I were given the option to drop all my existing clients and work with the ones I really wanted to…who would I be left with? Then really think about their qualities and what it is about them that makes them a joy to work with.
It’s entirely possible to attract more of your ideal client but first you have to know who they are. FJ Solutions defines your ideal client as “someone who finds the perfect solution to their problems or needs in the services or products that your company provides. The Ideal Client will be loyal to your company, frequently uses or buys your products or services, and is likely to recommend you to their friends and colleagues.”
So your ideal client is not just about the personal connection you feel with them or them with you. It’s not just about the value they place on your product or service. It’s not just about being attracted to your products because you have identified and understood their need and it’s not just about them loving your service so much that they shout about you to their friends and colleagues. It’s about all of these things.
Your ideal client is not; a group of people, a vague age range or selection of characteristics. Your ideal client is; just one person (real or hypothetical), with one name, one age, one personality, one set of values and just one lifestyle. They will have one set of demographics and one set of behaviors. In short, your ideal client is one human being that you should get to know like an old friend.
Identifying who this is from the beginning will save you tons of time going in circles trying to be all things to all people. It will make your messaging exponentially more straightforward, and more powerful, as you only have to imagine one human with one set of needs as you communicate through your brand.
Why do you have to have an ideal client?
Creating an ideal client profile is fun and the reason it’s fun is that you are outlining exactly who you want to work with and attract to your business. You’re cutting through the noise and getting clarity. We want people who are going to value what we do. You’re in business because you’re passionate about what you do and you want to make money using that passion, it is business after all. To do this you need to know who your ideal client/customer is. By outlining who they are you not only save yourself time in your marketing but you’re also spending every effort speaking to the right people for your business. That is gold! In truly understanding your ideal client you’ll be able to create a truly personalised approach in marketing your business.
So save yourself a LOT of time, energy and money in your marketing by getting laser focused on who your ideal client is!
What is a Brand Message?
Firstly, what is a brand message? It comes in a variety of forms. A few that may be familiar to you are; slogan, tagline, value proposition etc. These are the most concentrated versions of your brand message. Your brand message is what you offer to your customers. It’s the underlying promise conveyed and language used in all your content. It’s what influences buyers to relate to your brand by resonating with them on a more meaningful level.
When you get your brand message right, you will inspire, persuade, motivate, and ultimately make them want to buy your product.
To develop your brand message you have to know what you stand for, know your values and convey the ‘Why’ behind your business. People will relate and buy into the why more freely than the what.
Your brand message also forms the foundation of your marketing and will inform any decisions made in terms of language, brand design, visibility and social media strategy as well as any business or brand decisions that need to be made so it’s vital to get it right, from the very beginning.
Developing a clear underlying message that’s repeated over and over again is one of the best ways to build a consistent brand. One that becomes recognisable and when you ensure that you always deliver on the promise of your message then you are on your way to building a brand that is trustworthy.
Before you can develop your brand message, you’ll need to know what you have to offer. And by this, I don’t just mean your product or service definition, I mean what do YOU have to offer that makes your product or service unique?
Is it the unconventional approach you take to marketing that really appeals to your audience?
Do you go over and above during the customer journey because your customers experience is paramount to you?
Do you have values that set you apart from your competitors and really appeal to your ideal client but wouldn’t necessarily appeal to theirs?
What’s different about you and the way you do things?
Your brand message should incorporate your values, your why and the promise you make to your customers. It should be sincere and it should resonate with your ideal client.
You have a ‘brand’ whether you like it or not and whether you nurture it or not. In exactly the same way that you have a personality, people can choose to make up their own minds about you. The alternative is to take more control over this process. You can consciously work to help them get to know the real you. You can influence their perception of you and your business, and that’s when the right people will fall in love with you.
You can choose to develop your brand’s image with conscious thought and intention. You can empower yourself to position your brand image or just exist, act without really thinking about it and let people make up their own minds. The choice is yours but for me, it’s a no brainer.
What do you want people to say about you when you’re not in the room? How do you want your audience to feel when they have an interaction with you online? What kinds of connections do you want to make? Think about the collaborations you want to develop because all of these things will reflect upon your image.
Developing a brand image can take years but it can also happen overnight. Sometimes a brand image can crash with one wrong decision or it can be made by one really great collaboration. What it comes down to is ensuring that your decision making is in line with your values and the values of your ideal client. There’s no telling how long it will take but it is vital that you put conscious effort into developing the image of your brand.
But honestly, what you really need to do is to eat the whole P.I.E.!
Has she suddenly lost the plot, I hear you ask. No, at least not yet today. P.I.E. stands for; Performance, Image and Exposure and you need all three to develop a successful business. If any one of these things is missing then you will always struggle.
This is the level of quality to which you work in terms of products and services. This is your offer, this is what your customer is parting with money over so it has to be great quality if you want to keep a successful business. It includes the entire process or customer journey from start to finish.
As I said, this part is crucial because a poor image will scare people away pretty darn quickly so setting your values and sticking to them in every aspect of what you do is vital.
This is the last piece of the P.I.E. and without it, the rest is almost useless. If you have the most incredible product or the best service on offer, what good is it if you’re standing in a dark room all by yourself? Visibility and marketing are key to getting known. Image will power up your exposure as your quality service spreads through word of mouth and the referrals start rolling in but a powerful visibility strategy is key to make sure you’re getting in front of the right people.
So in summary, there is so much more to developing a brand than considering your brand colours and logo, it is so much more about your voice and the language you use to deeply connect with your ideal client. There are lots of moving parts and it can feel overwhelming but when you have a guide taking every step with you you’ll make your way to the finishing line in no time at all.
Note from Jude:
Once you’ve followed all of Lauren’s amazing advice and you are creating or have created your brand visuals, make sure they work in all eventualities by using our brand checklist.
Photo of Lauren herself.