In this post, let’s look at three components of branding – and they’re all tied up with the copy.
Let’s start with personality – often the missing piece of the online marketing puzzle. Most online personalities show up in one of these three styles:
— “Outrageous, loud and over the top”
— “Up close and personal”
— “Just the facts, please!”
Are you identified by your style? Of course not. In fact, your off-line personality may be quite different. And within each style, you have infinite variations. “Up close and personal” can mean “girlie-girls going shoe-shopping,” “single mom with kids,” “guys night out,” or … you name it.
“Unlike your “real” personality, you create your online personality.” It’s really more like creating a character going onstage in a play.” Your personality may be your alter ego or may be just one part of your offline style.
Just to get clear, we’re not talking about the “personality” you studied in Psych 101, where you learned about the “Big 5” personality trait. You may have discussed the “state vs trait” question: which personality qualities are stable across situations, and what can vary? Can personality change over time?
We’re considering the way our personalities get expressed in your messages, emails, videos, and calls. It’s the way you’d describe someone as a prospective blind date.
When you think of successful people in your field you’ll probably find a variety of online personalities, but they’re probably very strong, clear and consistent – consistent over time as well as with the field. If you’re an accountant who takes pole dancing classes in your spare time, that’s part of your social personality; it would be part of your online personality if you wanted to attract clients who thought of themselves as trendy and hip and who’d respect you for being like them. Otherwise, it’s a judgment call.
Now let’s look at brand. For many business owners — especially solo-preneur — branding takes on a kind of mystique and mystery. Clients often say, “I need a brand consultant;” in fact we often accomplish their branding goals — and more — in a copywriting consultation or two.
Your brand is what you stand for. It’s not a logo (although at some point your brand may be captured in a logo). It’s not the sum of your characteristics or qualities.
For instance, when you look at the brand of the leading cola drink, you don’t focus on chemicals. You think about drinking this product socially and you have emotional ties.
In fact, these ties are so strong that, in some parts of the country, you will find just one brand of cola machines. The competition just isn’t allowed on the premises. When I lived in the southern US, people would say, “It’s almost like a religion.”
“Your brand is about the emotional connection you make to your market.”
For instance, when I first moved to Philadelphia, I had to visit a veterinary clinic with a very sick cat. I chose the clinic because I had used them when I lived in Philadelphia about 15 years ago.
This clinic is branded on technical skill; people come from all over the area because they’re known for state of the art diagnosis and treatment. They have lots of technicians and they recommend the “best” treatment.
When I lived in Seattle, our vet was just the opposite. She was (and is) a gifted surgeon and diagnostician. But her clinic was branded as friendly and affordable. There was no decoration; the place looked like a welfare office with mismatched chairs and walls that needed paint.
But the clinic’s personality was friendly and informal. I always turned my dog loose so she could bounce over to the receptionist, who stood by with treats at the ready.
Is one better than the other? Not necessarily. Both clinics are fully booked and successful. Each reflects the official personality behind the practice. If you were choosing words to describe each clinic, they’d be quite different. Their websites and marketing materials are set up very differently.
Finally, your URL is just your handle: it’s not the same as your brand or personality.
These days many consultants business owners tend to use their own names as a URL.
However, if you’re looking for a separate business URL,you can follow these guidelines:
— Keep it short, easy to say and easy to spell. If at all possible, think of 7 syllables as the maximum length.
— Use a three-word action statement, beginning with a verb.
— Choose a verb that is consistent with your brand and personality; for instance, “Crush” will communicate a different message than “Explore” or “Relate.”
Like all rules, these three are made to be broken. However, when you’re brainstorming, it’s helpful to start with some guidelines.
Check out my course – Build Your Brand One Story At A Time.
And if you’d like me to work with you on developing your website, or getting a website makeover finally done, you don’t have to do it alone! We can start with a consultation here.