Everyone has a brand. Everything you do, everything you say, and everything you put out there gives off a certain impression or feeling about you. The question is…does it really match YOU? And even more important, does it help you achieve your goals? It’s more critical than ever to stand out in your industry, and it starts with busting a few common myths.
MYTH #1: I’M ALREADY BRANDED
Most professionals believe as long as they have a few good photos, a logo, and a clever tagline, they are appropriately branded. Those are indeed branding elements, but they do not constitute a brand in and of themselves. A brand includes many other elements, all designed to tell your story through a clear, concise message and imagery that supports that story. In fact, “Great branding is not about being known for your profession. It’s about being known for being different in your profession.” And those three things alone do not differentiate you enough.
MYTH #2: A SLOGAN OR TAGLINE HAS TO SAY IT ALL
Your slogan or tagline does not have to say at all. Rather, it has to say enough to get people to want to click, watch, or turn the page. A great brand identifier or hook is designed to capture interest and ‘kick the door open’. The rest of your branding elements and messaging will all come together to bring your brand full circle. A brand is like a puzzle; one or two pieces of the puzzle do not make the whole picture. When you put all the pieces together, though, the picture comes to life. Your tagline or slogan is just a part of the overall picture.
MYTH #3: YOUR BRAND SHOULDN’T TURN PEOPLE OFF
Many people think that their brand should be ‘liked’ by everyone. In reality, your brand should turn people off, but not necessarily in an offensive way. There are some customer types who will not fit your goals and are probably not the best fit for you, and that’s not only acceptable, it’s necessary in order to focus your business. A great brand elicits one of three responses:
- “That’s exactly what I’ve been looking for!”
- “That looks interesting…let me learn more.”
- “No, that’s not really what I was looking for at all.”
The last response is just as important as the first two because it helps you stay on the right track. If you put yourself out there in the right kind of way, you will attract the best people for you, and simultaneously push away those who are not a fit.
MYTH #4: ANYONE CAN SAY THAT, SO IT’S NOT TRULY DIFFERENT
All of us are individual in our style; the way we market, the way we work, and the customers we want to work with. So if your point of differentiation could be claimed by someone else, that doesn’t mean you should abandon it. Just because other people can claim to have some of the same skills, talents, attributes, etc., does not mean that they are known for that, or that their entire brand is built upon that point of differentiation. Ask yourself first: is anyone claiming this in your market in a big or consistent way? If not, then carve out your path, plant your flag and own it! If your competitors have not claimed it or marketed it consistently, the field is wide open to take it. Become the first person in a niche to put it out there. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing book states: “It’s better to be first than it is to be better”. We also have a BrandFace modification to this law: “It’s better to be DIFFERENT than it is to be better.”
MYTH #5: IT’S NOT PERSONAL, KEEP IT PROFESSIONAL
Many people think they have to keep their business very professional and exclude anything about their personal lives. However, “People don’t do business with a logo. They do business with a person.” People want to know who they will be doing business with and the story behind that face. You should absolutely involve your personal story, vision, and values. This is what will draw and connect your customers to you on multiple levels.