Building a brand isn’t for everyone.
If you don’t have anything to say, you don’t need a brand.
If you want to fade into the shadows, you don’t need a brand.
If you’re happy with not being heard, you don’t need a brand.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to live a quiet life.
But if you’re reading this article, you probably want to stand out from the rest of the noise. You want people to know who you are and to listen to what you say.
In that case, you need to build a successful brand voice.
What is brand building?
Brand building is about defining what people think about when they hear your name and making sure that they only associate you with what you want them to. It’s a prerequisite to becoming any sort of influencer. Having a good brand is something you need to start worrying about right now.
Take Coca-Cola, for example. Chances are that, even if you hate soft drinks, you know exactly what Coca-Cola tastes like. If someone asked you to name a beverage, Coca-Cola is probably one of the first ones that spring to mind. That is a testament to their high-quality brand power. They have a marketing strategy that sets them apart from your average small business. There is no reason you shouldn’t hold yourself to the same standard.
Please note that this isn’t a step-by-step manual. To make the most of your brand, you will need to do more than just these three things. But when it comes down to it, these are the three main mindsets that guide me in my pursuit of a better brand.
Find Your Target Audience
Here’s the thing. A brand is nothing without a vision.
In brand building, you need to figure out what you want to say and who you want to be. It can be easy to want to pursue an idealized version of yourself because maybe, you’re not that proud of who you are.
But honestly…fuck that. It’s normal to have reservations about presenting your truest self to the world. The thing is, most people think they have some sort of vision, some brilliant idea they would share with everyone if they “could”. Do you know how many of them fulfill that vision? Hardly any.
Be different. Be active in a passive world. Be a doer.
Find the brand identity that was there the whole time.
If you do just that, you already have something you can take pride in, something you can put in a pretty package and give to the world.
Of course, it takes time. You might have killer taste and an inspired vision, but you will need to cultivate that before you have a strong brand.
Think about the small percentage of people who actually set their minds to do what they want to do. Then, think about how many of those people underachieve for a few years, lose faith in their passion and give up. Rise past them.
Building a brand requires figuring out what you’re good at, taking in the compliments people give you and spinning them into something that represents who you are.
However, it will take time to get to where you want to be. If you’re ambitious, you might never even get there. But if you persevere, dodging dejection, you will get somewhere. When it’s all said and done, that somewhere will likely fill you with joy when you look back on it, especially compared to where you’d be if you stayed stagnant.
Have A Consistent Brand Personality
Building a brand is one thing. Fulfilling your brand promise is a whole new can of worms.
With a great brand comes great responsibility. Once people start noticing you on social media, they are going to keep their eyes on everything you put out. Exposure comes with expectations. The last thing you want to do after you build a brand is to watch it come crashing down when you disappoint.
Yes, it’s a lot of pressure. I like to say the best remedy for pressure is consistency. There will be people who will want to see you fall flat on your face. Prove them wrong again and again by doing what you do better over time.
I say “better” because a lot of people think consistency means staying just as good as you once were. That’s a harmful way to think because it doesn’t leave room for error.
Not everything you throw out there will have the impact you want it to. That’s why you need to aim higher than average to compensate for any error. That’s how you learn and that’s how you grow. Take risks, but when it comes to risking quality, err on the side of caution.
The key to consistency is focus. Everyone knows the rule from Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers; you can achieve mastery in about 10,000 hours of effort. Of course, you can’t take that too literally–results can come in more or less time–but the principle stands in brand awareness.
To achieve that mastery, you need to put all your eggs in one basket. There simply isn’t enough time in your life to become a master of ten different things. Consistency comes when you buckle down and polish one craft. If people don’t say you’re obsessed or crazy about whatever it is you do, you’re not in deep enough. Keep digging until people start to notice.
In other words, define your brand strategy and stick to it. You only lose control of your brand image if you forget why you’re doing this.
How to Build a Brand
I’m going to let you in on a little secret…you can say whatever you want.
Nothing is stopping you from making a career out of pretending you have the keys to building a better business or becoming a nutrition coach even if you rarely touch fruit.
However, there’s a reason I spend my time writing and not becoming a professional musician. Could I pick up a guitar, microphone and drum machine and go to town?
Of course, I can. You can’t stop me. But just because I can, doesn’t mean I should.
Do It Because You Should, Not Just Because You Can
Instead, I need a mission statement that is realistic. As an SEO wizard and a digital marketing nut, I’m better off helping people out with Google optimization and brand development. Nobody needs to hear me sing.
Sadly, what you have the most fun doing might not be what you’re good at. Having fun is a very important part of building a brand, but if the fun doesn’t lead to results, it might be time to regroup. Find something within yourself that you can put a special spin on, something that adds to the world instead of building on the pile of clutter that exists just because it can.
What does it take to realize that you “should” do something? Play the long game. You won’t find your brand values until you do a long-term test run. If you find yourself fulfilled by it the 100th time you do it, that’s when you earn your competitive advantage.
A successful brand-building process happens naturally. You can’t force passion. You can’t force value. You have to earn it, and that comes with persistence. To paraphrase Bobby Hundreds, my mentor from afar–if you can get by without it, don’t even bother.