If you are a small business owner or solopreneur, I’m sure you have received freight trains full of advice on how you should market and brand your venture. But figuring out what to sift through to determine which gems of wisdom will matter to your bottom-line years from now is a difficult task. If you are struggling with the clutter of well-intentioned suggestions, you have come to the right place because we’ve done the ruthless edit for you.
We asked five professionals across multiple industries which advice has continued to resonate the most along their careers and which has actually made a difference for their brand strategy. And what they revealed will not only provide focus as you navigate the many stages of building a business but will also offer valuable advice on how to truly invigorate your brand identity.
1) Know Your Passion
“Identify your passion and run with it. When it comes to developing your brand, authenticity is vital. Start now, stay genuine, and be consistent. In her book Ideas, Influence, and Income, CEO of Greenleaf Book Group Tanya Hall says, "It is essential that you care about your topic. If you’re not engaged, your audience certainly won’t be—and you’ll probably lose steam. Ideally, you will be passionate in an area where you’re already credentialed. If you’re a professional magician who wants to create a platform in the world of deep-sea diving, you’ll have to work a lot harder than someone who’s already in the water."
- Emily Maulding, Marketing Strategist, Greenleaf Book Group
2) Become A Conversation Starter
“Branding should be a conversation starter, and your branding should mean something that can immediately tell a story. For example: The Defacto logo is a 3D ribbon in the shape of the letter D and is meant to draw the viewer into another world. Branding should spark curiosity. You don't have to understand it, but it sparks something deep inside that makes you want to know more. Every decision I made in branding was mission-driven, not self-serving. Humans like stories, mission, and direction... they don't like to be sold.”
3) Know Your Audience
“Simply put, know your audience. I believe an old college professor gave me this advice, although I do not recall his name. The point is that the message, even if perfectly crafted, is meaningless unless the right audience hears it.”
- Josh Easler, Sony Music Nashville’s VP of Arista Nashville Promotion
4) Make the First Impression Count
“As a creative entering the market, I handmade my own advertisements, relied on word of mouth, and didn’t have a catchy name or a website. A friend and successful brand designer aiming to build her personal portfolio (now Studio Scissor!), offered to create my branding visuals. I was still convinced I could do it alone, but her advice changed my mind and changed my life: proper visual branding makes people fall in love with your business at first glance. It creates a whole world that people can enter — and know and trust you — before they’ve even tried your services.
- Rachel Lipson, founder & CEO Blue Balloon Songwriting for Small People
5) Keep it Consistent
“The best branding advice I have received for my own business was to keep it consistent day in and day out. I apply this rule to clients as well because that consistency must also come through an image when I’m styling a shoot.
And don’t forget to keep it true to who you are. Market your authentic self!”
- Colson Horton, Founder of ADR Creative
You know I couldn’t agree with Colson more on the importance of marketing your authentic self, but if you look closer, being authentic is the foundational aspiration described by each expert’s advice. It's the basis for my entire book. If you can keep authenticity in mind while focusing on building your brand around these short and easy tips, you will notice a difference in how your brand is being consumed in due time. And, as an added bonus, you will also notice a difference in your stress level.
If you want to learn more about how to put this advice into action, please click here to download this free chapter from my Amazon bestseller From Individual to Empire: A Guide to Building an Authentic and Powerful Brand or pick up your copy now.
Until next time…