Why do you buy certain products? Perhaps you buy Lexus® because you value safety and reliability. Or purchase Nike® products because they’re synonymous with fitness and health. Most of us buy from brands that connect with us and make us feel good about our purchases.
Building a strong brand and communicating that brand consistently in all the right places, should be top considerations for a new business owner. Brand matters!
Smart entrepreneurs have a laser-like focus on the “message and feel” they want to create to best get the attention of their customers. They actively build a reputation and a story about their brands. Here are two examples of female entrepreneurs who are doing it right:
- Jennifer Hyman Co-founder, Rent the Runway – Hyman started this high-end dress and accessory rental Web-site after watching her sister Becky’s “wardrobe crisis” while searching her closet for something special to wear to a wedding. Hyman’s business puts designer dresses within reach of budget-conscious women. Communicating her brand includes speaking at national conferences, serving on panels, appearing on female-viewer-heavy morning talk shows and staying active on social media.
- Beyoncé – From her early days as the lead singer for Destiny’s Child to a solo recording career, several television and movie appearances, brand endorsements, the launching of two fragrance lines and a fashion line, Beyoncé has had undeniable success in building an incredible brand. She has furthered her brand by supporting numerous charities and social causes.
Every entrepreneur—superstar to solopreneur—needs to consider branding as a key part of their marketing strategy.
Start by identifying who you believe will buy your product. Even if your product has wide appeal, it is smart to narrow your target to a specific audience. Consider your ideal customer rather than everyone who might be interested in your product. Here are a few questions to help you:
- Where does your customer live?
- Are your customers male/female/both?
- What is the general age range of your customers?
- Who are your competitors?
Next consider how you will communicate your brand. Creating buzz around your business takes work. But even with the most novel business idea, if people have never heard of your product, your business won’t succeed. Getting the word out takes targeted effort.
The most effective brands use a strategy I call brand layering; using multiple methods of brand communication, including:
Online branding—Internet marketer Morra Aarons-Mele offers these tips for building a strong online brand:
- Own your name. Register your preferred domain name; e.g., yourname.com. Buying your domain name helps build a consistent online brand, which you can use on all your marketing, making it easier for people to find you. (If you already have a free site or blog, you can easily redirect that site to your new domain name.)
- Engage with social media. Decide which one or two social platforms make the most sense in connecting with your customers and learn to use them well and often. Updating your social networks and blog regularly will help establish your credibility and improve your SEO (the probability that potential customers will find you in a search).
- Own your niche. Think about your brand in the narrowest sense and identify your target audience. Digital media allows you to find and reach a highly targeted audience. Consider how your expertise and voice can add to the conversation and fill gaps you see. Earning respect and recognition online depends on bringing something unique and useful to the existing conversation. To be successful, find your voice and contribute regularly.
Alliance branding—How can you get involved in local activities to extend your brand’s reach? Years ago, I ran the Kansas City Marathon (always held in chilly October). As I crossed the finish line after 26.2 hard miles, I was ecstatic. As I walked through the crowd with my shiny medal, endorphins and good feelings, a volunteer handed me a wonderful, steaming cup of Parisi coffee—forever wedding Parisi with my feelings of happiness and accomplishment. A brilliant brand strategy!
Social good branding—There is increasing popularity among business owners to leverage their business success to help others. Companies and programs like Tom’s Shoes’ “One for One” and Warby Parker’s “Buy a Pair, Give a Pair” are good examples. Using their companies to help support people and causes that are important to them helps them do good while building marketing buzz at the same time. Everyone wins.
Developing and creating a brand can be fun! Think big and let your imagination flow as you consider the name of your business, who your ideal customer is and where and how you’ll best be able to reach him or her.
This article is the seventh in a series written to help women entrepreneurs like you take a closer look at what’s keeping you from moving forward, overcome doubts and understand the fundamentals and the mindset needed to help make you successful. They are not designed to help you build your financials or create your marketing plan, but rather to prod you to think bigger … and begin thinking with the mindset of an entrepreneur. They will appear on our blog: https://insightsnationalseminarstraining.com/ and in our free monthly professional women’s newsletter which you can subscribe to: http://www.nationalseminarstraining.com/womenslink/index.cfm
If you missed our first four articles, read them here:
- Women Entrepreneurs: What’s Keeping You From Starting the Business of Your Dreams
- Creating the Mindset for Success as a Female Entrepreneur
- 7 Questions to Ponder Before You Start a New Business
- Does Starting a Business Feel Too Risky to You?
- Why Women Need to Break Free of the Ideal of “Having It All”
- 3 Shared Money Fears of Many Daring Female Entrepreneurs