It’s no secret that a cohesive brand image is essential for drawing in leads and building long-lasting relationships. The tricky part comes in defining your brand and capturing it both on- and offline. Your brand is the story of who you are, so it should always reflect where you came from, why you’re here, where you’re going and who you are.
We’re all business owners, and at the core, you grew your company because of your values. While it’s different for everyone, your story belongs to you--just as your brand does. So how can you make your brand more powerful? Here are tips:
1. Dispel your fears.
People often ask me how I got to where I am today and I have only one answer: by sticking to my brand.
My brand evolved over time by overcoming fears and objections, so that in the end, I could truly pinpoint what a client wants. A lot of times, our clients show us exactly what they want, but we are afraid to show them a price because we’re scared of rejection. This is not an example of adhering to your brand--this is simply giving into insecurity.
I knew I wanted to have a luxury brand and to work with clients who wanted to do something unique. But, despite knowing that my ideal client is walking around with a new designer purse every day, I held myself back out of fear. I didn’t yet recognize that our money views were different. My brand grew exponentially when I pushed myself to send that price point anyway. Spoiler alert: My clients were not even fazed by the numbers I was so scared to send.
2. Uncover your core identity.
Once that annoying fear factor is out of the way, it’s time to double down on what makes your brand unique, and then learn how to use that to your advantage. Focus on your core values and the elements that define you and your team.
Ask yourself questions such as: Who are you? What does your business mean to the world? If your company were a person, who would it look like? Does that brand persona match with the person you want to work with? If not, there will be a disconnect.
Customers fall in love with brands when they can connect with them emotionally. That emotional link is found in your persona and your story, which are manifested through things such as the art that you create, the lingo that you do (or don’t) use, the clothes you wear, and those behind-the-scenes glimpses that you share about yourself.
For example, I became very secure with my brand as a florist rooted in tradition with an edge of modern. That is my core. As my brand evolved, I spent more time talking with my ideal client--the brides who love monograms, designer handbags, and luxury experiences. I would sit in Neiman Marcus just to observe salespeople interacting with these dream client personas. I pushed myself further and further past my own objections and my limited understanding to become more aware of how to interact with my ideal client.
Analyze your ideal customer and learn how to develop a relationship--no matter the setting. Stalk their Pinterest profiles to know who they are. Don’t look at their wedding boards alone, but study their overall style and aesthetic. Use social tools to find and appeal to your ideal client--those who share your favorite brands, stores, magazines and styles. Remember: Like attracts like.
3. Embrace your brand.
After your brand is fleshed out, it’s time to take it and run with it.
Branding is like composing a good outfit--at some point, adding one too many things will spoil the whole look. It’s about finding the perfect balance of colors, fonts, styling, your logo and your tagline. These are the tangibles of your brand.
Your brand is not just digital, though. It is exuded in your offline persona, too, so it’s up to you to talk the talk and walk the walk. The intangibles are just as important as your logo color palette; they speak to your core values and who you are deep down. I might run into a client when I’m wearing a baseball cap, but I will also have that designer handbag that says, “Hey, I’m just like you.” If you understand and live your core values, your brand will always follow you.
In 2019, commit to your values and be true to yourself when promoting your brand. Authenticity may seem like an overused buzzword at this point, but it didn’t get that status for nothing. Be genuine in your business, and you will surely discover the path to your dream client.
Katie Easley is the owner of Kate Ryan Design, a luxury floral and event design studio based in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is also a successful sales consultant in the wedding industry, specializing in prospecting and client experience.