Me: “I have a story-centered framework for branding.”
Business Owner: “I’ve already got my brand sorted out. Been there. Done that.”
I must admit, that Business Owner could have been me a few years ago. Like many people, I used to think branding was a One and Done game.
The truth is, branding is an ongoing activity, especially for service-based small businesses.
(1) You change. You realize you’ve got an untapped niche, eager to buy from you, and you’re excited to get going.
Or you no longer feel energized when you think of your current business. Or, conversely you’ve outgrown your brand.
The best advice here is, “Don’t move too quickly.” Sometimes it’s best to go on vacation or take a sabbatical from your business. You might work at something else for awhile. But there’s no quick fix. You have to give yourself time to see what will emerge when you stop leaning in and begin stepping back.
Be sure you’re ready for the new brand. Sometimes a change can be implemented under the umbrella of the old brand. Generally, the best time for a rebrand is after you’ve been working within the new brand. You just have to make it official. And if you don’t say anything, most people won’t even notice.
(2) Your market changes. Your brand no longer resonates with your audience.
Or a new technology has changed the way your market responds to your offers. Or your biggest client goes away. When this happens, you might have to move quickly.
Business owners often respond too quickly — like being on the rebound after a bad relationship.
Pauline found herself working most of the time for another online marketer — someone with deep pockets and a steady need for Pauline’s services. When the marketer decided to cut back, Pauline was shaken up. She went into action at once, setting up an expensive website with a new slate of offers relating to personal growth.
Personal growth? Well, she figured she was going through a crisis. A year later, the new website was gone and Pauline was finally off in a new, long-term direction related to her real skills.
When you feel forced to change, I’ve learned the best thing to do is start a side hustle. In the copywriting or design world, you might sign up for a freelance site like Upwork or Fiverr, or get referred to a short-term job. Or you might do something completely different, such as helping your friend who’s starting a personal chef business.
The point is, you buy yourself time to rethink what you need to do. It’s not even about the money: it’s about the energy shift.
(3) You need to maintain your current brand.
OK, so you’ve got your brand lined up. Maybe you allowed your brand to evolve. Maybe you worked with a consultant or copywriter, or chose my Story Consultation.
You’ll be making many decisions about creating content — what to write about, what stories to tell, how to tell those stories, how to email your audience, and more. To create a consistent image, you review your promise and your message.
You also make decisions about which examples to follow.
Early on in my online career, a business owner I admired presented some training about email marketing. She had always been extremely businesslike, she told us.
One day she wrote a cute story about her cat … and was overwhelmed by the positive response. Many people on her list wrote in with their own cat stories.
“The moral is,” she said, “share a little of yourself.”
So I tried writing about my cats — after all, I had two, so my story should have been twice as effective, right?
Nobody cared about my cats.
At the time, of course, I hadn’t figured out my branding framework. I shouldn’t have been surprised: she was a Celebrity archetype (though not yet a real celebrity), which meant her followers were fans who enjoyed learning about her exotic personal life. I’m an Educator whose followers want lots of information and “aha” moments.
Branding is so critical because it’s central to your business identity. When you create your brand, you’re talking about yourself — something many people hate to do, even copywriters.
And for this week…
Awhile back I put together a small program called Bragging 101: Building your personal brand by telling stories. For just a few days, it’s included with a business bundle that Crissy Herron put together. For just $27 you can get my program, plus some other good products: Web Content Marketing 101 7-Day eCourse, content marketing training, an email marketing workshop with Crissy Herron … and more!Check it out here to see if this product group makes sense for you: http://mycopy.info/bizbundle
Thursday, February 28, at 2:30 I’m holding an online training based on requests from list members: Become A Storytelling Ninja For Your Small Business. Everybody from Richard Branson to your friendly neighborhood business coach will tell you, “To succeed in business you must be a storyteller.” But they don’t tell you how to use stories to build your business, which stories to use, and how to tell those stories. We’ll take the first step in this 20-minute online training – completely free! Sign up here. http://mycopy.info/abst219