Written by: Barbara Joergensen
In this post you are going to learn how building a brand for your online business is not just about colors, logos and fonts, but also about defining your purpose, your positioning and your brand story.
Creating a brand with purpose for your new business is probably the most important component in starting out and is one that a lot of new business owners often overlook or confuse.
Before you start choosing colors, logos and fonts, I want you to take a deep look at your business so that you can create the foundation for building your brand.
If you want to be successful as a business owner (and I know that you do) then it is important to start connecting on an emotional level with potential customers or clients.
People buy from people, they want to know you. Because let’s be honest, there are probably others doing something similar to what you are doing in your business. Unless you are creating a very unique service or product, you probably have some competition out there.
However, your superpower is YOU.
You have a unique story and a unique reason for doing what you are doing.
This is what building your brand is all about.
I’m going to share 5 steps you can implement today so that you can start building a brand that attracts your ideal customer.
5 STEPS TO BUILDING YOUR BRAND
STEP 1: IDENTIFY YOUR ‘WHY’
Finding your ‘why’ is the very first step to creating a compelling brand.
Start by writing down the reason why you started your business.
Go beyond the obvious and find your unique reason. We all have one.
For example, my ‘why’ came from experiencing depression. Through my treatment I realized that I just couldn’t be at a 9-5 job. It was too much pressure for me, so I left my job and started my own business. I wanted flexibility, no more rushing, and no more stress. I wanted to choose who to work with. I didn’t want to depend on big corporations to direct me. My ‘why’ was freedom and health. People can relate to these.
Now, your turn. Take some time to discover your ‘why’ and write it down.
STEP 2: IDENTIFY WHY YOU ARE THE RIGHT PERSON TO HELP OTHERS
The continuation of building a brand is finding your superpowers.
You have already identified your ‘why’, that deep motivation that has helped you to start this journey. Now you need to know why other people would think you are the right person to help them.
Remember, people buy from people. So you need to identify your skills and strengths and what you have to offer.
From experience, I know that talking about skills and strengths can be very difficult for some.
Sometimes we focus on our skills (for example, I know how to code or I know how to set up systems) and spend less time on our strengths (for example, I am very patient, I like to teach people, I am good at organizing.)
But when it comes down to it, the second is more important than the first.
Your strengths, most of the time, are very much connected to your ‘why’. That is, what makes it your superpower. It is unique, it is your essence.
Again, take a paper and pen and write down all those qualities (skills and strengths) that make you stand out from others. This list of skills and strengths are the superpowers you have to offer to others.
STEP 3: IDENTIFY YOUR VALUES
Your values are extremely important in your business. They give direction to your business. They represent what you do, what you stand for, and the ‘why’ behind your business.
Your values can be made in a statement of what is important to you as it aligns with your business.
Take some time to make a list of the values that represent you and your business.
Here is how you can do this. Let’s say one of your values is excellent customer experience. This is a great value, as our customer is the bread and butter of our business.
When thinking about this value answer these questions:
How can you make the customer experience unique?
How can you make the customer experience meaningful?
How can you take the customer experience from writing to action?
How can you make the customer experience clear?
Once you answer all these questions, then move on to your next value.
However, it is important to answer each of the questions before moving on to the next. If you find it is difficult to answer a question, then it may turn out that that value is not aligned with you and your business.
Pro tip: After you have identified your values, I highly recommend including them on your ‘About’ page on your website.
STEP 4: IDENTIFY WHO YOU WANT TO HELP
Let’s continue unfolding this process of building a brand and creating your brand story.
Now you know your ‘why’ and your superpowers. You also know what you are standing for (values).
Next is discovering who you want to serve.
Who do you want to help and why? In other words, who is your ideal customer? There are many (if not thousands) of exercises available as to how to find your niche in the way of your ideal customer avatar.
Some say that you need to know everything, even the color of their eyes and their hair, which really isn’t necessary in this step.
What I like to do is to split this exercise into the three different aspects below.
You want to know the physical aspects of the person, such as age, but most important is to know how the physical aspect intertwines with their life choices. This will help you to know how to approach them and motivate them to connect or buy from you.
Here is an example of a potential ideal customer:
She’s a woman named Luisa. She is 40 years old. She lives in the suburbs and her husband is a manager for a big corporation. She is mostly in charge of her kids and her family. She is working part-time as a secretary. She earns around $30,000 a year. She has started a side hustle as a Pinterest virtual assistant because she loves Pinterest and has learned how to use the platform. She is very real and to the point.
Lifestyle is about interests, opinions and behaviors. What is her routine? What does she do in her free time? What does she enjoy? Knowing the answers to these questions will help to find common ground when talking or writing to your audience.
Luisa enjoys a glass of wine on Fridays. She also is a dog lover and walks her dog twice a day. She enjoys chocolate and cake. She does not watch much TV as she would rather spend her time reading nonfiction literature (thriller genre). If she does decide to watch TV, she will choose to see a movie rather than watch a series. She likes to listen to podcasts as she is walking her dog. When on social media she spends her time only on Instagram and Pinterest. She is a very visual person. Her Instagram feed is very clean and minimalist. She travels a couple of times a year.
This is the part where you get to the pain points of your ideal customer or client. What is something that keeps her up at night? What is something that is a big frustration for her? How can she solve these problems? How would she describe them? The answers to these questions will give you the language you can use to connect with them.
Time is something Luisa struggles with a lot. As a mom of two and a wife to a husband that works much of the time, she doesn’t have time to waste. She wants to be a present mom and a present wife. Her dream is to become a Pinterest virtual assistant full-time, but she is afraid of failure and that others will not take her new business seriously.
These examples are shorter than I would recommend. Take your time to write thorough examples, take a break and then read and write again.
STEP 5: IDENTIFY HOW YOU CAN BEST HELP
This is the part where building your brand turns practical. This is your actual statement that you are going to use on your website, social media, and other platforms. This will become your mission and can be used in your brand story. It is the tagline you are going to use everywhere.
You need to ask:
Who do you help? (your niche)
What do you help with? (pain points and struggles)
What is the result your customer or client will achieve by working with you?
Your tagline should start with something like this: “I help (ideal client/customer) with (pain points/problems/struggles) so that they can (result achieved).”
Fill in the blanks with who you serve, why they need you to serve them, and what results they will get from working with or buying from you, or in other words, how have their problems or pain points disappeared.
NEXT STEPS TO BUILDING A BRAND
Once you have completed all the steps outlined above for building a brand for your online business, you can then move on to finding the brand visual elements that will complement this story, such as a logo, colors, and fonts.
When all that is in place, you will have a compelling brand for your online business. It will allow you to connect with your ideal customer or client as it will help you to attract those you want to work with and serve.
If you would like more help in building your brand, you may like the Brand Clarity course. This course is a comprehensive, immersive process that will enable you to gain dazzling clarity around your brand.
About Barbara Joergensen:
Barbara Joergensen is a Squarespace website and branding designer. She helps online female coaches gain the visibility they need to grow their business so they can impact more clients through their work. She aims to enable coaches to inspire others in an authentic way through their website and brand. Barbara can be found here.