When I first started marketing online, I heard a lot about branding. Most of it didn’t make sense. One coach even sneered, “Brand? Schmand.”
A lot of training materials focused on big-name consumer products — sportswear, beer, detergent, and cola drinks. Even today, clients tell me they frequently get advised to study and learn from the big-name brands.
If you’re a small service-based business, and you’re having trouble branding, it’s probably because you’re trying to do it like the big guys.
That’s like being a petite female who’s just getting into weight training, who gets advised to follow the training program of a competition-level male bodybuilder.
You’ll quickly realize, “This is not for me.”
If you’re lucky, you’ll lose the image of the big-muscle bodybuilder. You’ll find your own style of weight training.
Let’s take the name of the leading cola company. It usually comes in bright red cans. I don’t have to risk any copyright violations to say the name because I bet you know it already.
But what comes to mind when you hear the name of that iconic cola brand?
I think of hot summer days, special occasions like Christmas, tingling taste that quenches your thirst like nothing else, and long drives across country … and I don’t even like cola drinks.
Big brands have to invent a personality.
After all, when you think about it, cola drinks are just a bunch of liquid chemicals.
For a big company, branding becomes a sort of beach towel. They’re known by the outward image they project.
Once you take away the beach towel, people often can’t tell the difference. That’s certainly true of cola drink brands.
Small service-based businesses get branded by the qualities and quirks of the person delivering the service.
Their branding starts after they drop the beach towel and go into the water. Can they swim? Did they build up their muscles or are they wimpy and squishy?
Small service-based businesses have to explain things like …
“I do the same thing a lot of people do. But I do it differently.”
“Here’s how I make my clients’ lives and better.”
“Here’s why my clients value me above the competition.”
A bright-colored beach towel won’t get you more business if you’re an online service-based business. It’s about building a relationship by sending a compelling message through your copy. It’s about being credible.
For more examples, check out this blog post
Disclaimer: Anything about beaches and swimming should be considered metaphorical only. I avoid beaches and bodies of water and flunked swimming lessons many times over.
And for an in-depth step by step guide to brand your business with stories, sign up for my online course, Build Your Brand One Story At A Time
Read my kindle book on Amazon: Grow Your Business One Story At A Time.