The overriding message was all about accepting ourselves as we are – with all the things that make us “different” because these are what make us special!⠀
It was a reminder to self to embrace my quirks and let them shine. Reminding myself to not be self-conscious, not to dull myself down, not to mask who I am.⠀
I believe this is such an important message for our professional lives too! Not shying away from who we are, when it comes to branding ourselves or our businesses, is so powerful! ⠀
Our innate uniqueness means we automatically stand out. And when we let it shine, it helps us reach those who need what we have to give.⠀
This was such a timely reminder for this episode because, I’m going to be sharing the most important steps to take in branding or rebranding.
What is branding?
I want to start by sharing my definition of branding. It’s not just your logo or how your communications materials look.
In summary, it’s how you present your business to the world. In the case of personal branding, it’s how you present yourself to the world.
Nowadays, I feel there’s little distinction between your personal brand and your business brand because, more and more, people buy into the business because of YOU, the person or people behind it.
Your values, your outlook, your personality, your way of doing things… etc. Ultimately, the magic that is a result of you being your unique self.
When your branding makes your heart sing
I get so excited about this stuff because I see how energised people get when their branding makes their heart sing!
When your branding makes your heart sing, you’re confident about putting yourself out there.
When your branding makes your heart sing, you know it’s going to connect with the right people – your tribe. You don’t care if it puts off others, because you don’t want to serve them anyway! You’re clear about who your ideal client/customer and thus, clear about who’s not the right fit.
When your branding makes your heart sing, you’re not threatened by competition – you realise that concept doesn’t truly exist. You know that you just need to keep being true and keep focusing on and bringing forward your point of difference.
The most important steps in branding or rebranding
I’ve worked in the creative industry for over 15 years. In that time I’ve worked on over 100 branding projects. Initially as an advertising art director in New York; then as a senior design consultant in the UK; and in the last 10 years, running my own art and design studio.
I’ve worked with all kinds of organisations and individuals around the world – from women’s rights organisations, to art museums; from designers of all kinds, to farmers; from media production house to travel companies…
No matter the size of the business, or the industry, there are some steps I’ve found to be universally important in the branding process.
I’d like to share an overview of these steps.
These steps apply to rebranding too. Rebranding is a good opportunity to get back to basics and review where you’re coming from and how you want to evolve.
Step one: get clarity on who you are
What’s the goal? What do you want to be known for? What’s your flavour? What’s your voice?
This is a process of exploration and discovery.
Revisit your vision, your values and your goals. Use these questions as journal prompts. Brain dump all that comes to mind.
Think about what resonates with you and try to do this instinctively – without overthinking. Look around in your real life. Look around online. Collect your inspiration and put it all in one place – physical or virtual. Pinterest is great for this (here are some ideas on using it)!
Step two: get clarity on who you’re serving
You cannot serve everybody well. One of the most powerful things you can do in your business is to be very specific about who your ideal client/customer is.
Who are you speaking to? What’s their need/desire? What’s their flavour?
Pin this person down. Analyse them to a tee. This will give you focus, allow you to be more efficient and get you better results then speaking to “everyone”.
Step three: get clarity on where you stand
Look at your market landscape and how you are positioned within it?
Who are you peers? What are they doing that’s similar to what you’re doing? What are they doing that’s different than what you’re doing? Who are they speaking to? And how?
Follow them on social media. Sign up to their mailing lists. Get to know them well. This research can serve both of you!
It will help you learn how to differentiate yourself. Think about how you can accentuate what’s unique about what you’re doing or offering? Remember that this is what will resonate with the people out there who are meant for you – your tribe.
This is how you liberate yourself from seeing your peers as your competition.
Sorry to disappoint you/real talk
You’ll notice I’ve hardly touched on the visual aspect of branding, nor on messaging. These things can only be done effectively, after you’ve clarified these three areas. I know these superficial expressions of our branding are often what we get excited about but, it’s important not to rush into them or you’ll end up wasting a lot of time and likely money too.
If you have any questions about steps for branding or rebranding, please share them in the comments.
More Soulful Branding Live with Lulu
Every week, I talk about business and life, with a Soulful Branding twist. If you have any topics you’d like me to cover, please let me know! I don’t have all the answers but, I do have plenty of questions and, in my experience, conversations are an amazing way for all of us to learn!
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