So you are ready to build your brand huh? GREAT then lets cut to the chase:
Here are my first 5 simple steps to Build your Own Brand:
1. Define your objective
- It can be business objetive: Would sound something like this; “build brand awareness for my business, grow sales, get more people sharing about my brand, worth of mouth, build a referral structure, get more subscribers”, whatever your business objective is just choose one to start. most people start with brand awareness or direct sales (if you have a way to track it).
- It can be profesional objective: ” showcase my work, build my portafolio so I get more job offers, share my experience and get recognition (internally at my company and externally), show my achievements to get a promotion, connect with peers to find cofounder, etc etc etc you name it ! Again all you have to do is start with one! so choose one.
- Personal objective : I want to build something out of my hobbies, become and influencer, find and share with others on the same niche, learn from the best in the field, explore a side hustle business, stay creative, grow experience in a different field, keep myself updated, get a “voice” in the subject… etc etc. you choose!
No matter why you are building your brand there must be a clear objective even if it changes through time, as of now you need to start with a real clear objective for building your brand.
Once you have defined a clear objective is time to move to the next step:
2. Understand your TARGET AUDIENCE
Now you have chosen your objective, the fun part begins!
Who is your audience? What is their age, their location, their skills, their interests, their hobbies, their profession, their passions, think and search!
Please don’t just sit and try to find out the answer to this questions on your own, but SEARCH! Google your way through all your assumptions!
As a quick example: If your objective is to increase your sales and you sell phone accessories or cases you might think, my target audience is EVERYONE WITH A PHONE! well not at all… but even if that was the case you would find it very hard to reach to every single person on the world who owns a mobile phone. So you would have to find a more specific target for your product.
Now, If you already have a data base of clients, then it becomes easier, you just have to analyze that base and group the type of client by their behaviors and interests, age, location, etc etc etc
But if you don’t it is ok, just focus on your business/product characteristics: In this case; it depends on what kind of accessories you sell. Are there very hip? Are they more artistic? feminine? masculine? Trendy? sparkly? with phrases? with jokes? what type of phrases? funny jokes? etc etc
And that same analysis into every level: where can you sell your product? is it a physical store? is it online? where can you ship on a reasonable cost? have you covered all your local market?
One of the best ways to find the right target audience and understand your real market is to google your competitors or potential competitors’ audience/followers/subscribers/visitors.
So going back to the example, lets imagine you are selling hip funny phone cases with political jokes/memes, and only for iphones.
Then your target audience might be: young people (from 13 to 25 or 30 ) that might be hipsters, enjoy political memes online (maybe you could even define republicans or democrats) and only iphone users.
You see where I am getting to? Now you would have a clear view on who you should be talking to therefor you will be able to develop the “How” to talk to them.
The biggest mistake people make when building their brand online is they try to “speak to EVERYONE” and that makes it imposible for your brand to get any traction. So remember: understand and define your Target audience.
That brings us to the next tip!
3. Narrow into a Niche / Find your niche
Yei you are so much closer now! so now you know WHO are the people you would like to be talking to, and who are the people you want to remember and recognize your brand. But you haven’t started so how do you begging from literally 0!?
Well narrow your target audience into a niche. it sounds simple but it can be challenging because you want to reach as many and going narrow into a niche might feel counterintuitive, like you might be letting out some of your wanted audience because you are going to narrow. Well this doesn’t really happen, since you are starting from 0 you need to be relevant for the first 10 people and the way you become relevant for those first 10 or first 100 is by going narrow, by bringing something unique and specific to the table, where there are not so many options and people or companies to follow.
Remember the strategy to go from 0 to 1 is different than the strategy to go from 2 to 100 and different than the strategy to go from 100 to 1k and so on.. This applies not only for brand building but for any business strategy.
So how do you do it? simply answering this question:
What makes your company, profesional career, experience, business, service, profile UNIQUE or SPECIAL from all the others (maybe bigger fish) in the market?
The phone accessories business: they are focusing on the meme hip funny iphone cases already narrowing their audience, and maybe they will start with funny memes of pets, and to be more narrow into a niche they will only do dog or cat funny memes, and thats where they will start. As their audience grow they can test adding other pets or other funny memes later maybe even other designs and at the end other phone accessories products.
But they will start with a narrow niche to be able to reach their audience faster and better.
An other example could be a new beauty & lifestyle influencer, we all know how many millions are out there and she or he might be starting just now.. this person has to analyze and understand their “product” what makes them different and go narrow. So by the end of her/his analysis this person can be branding themselves as a beauty influencer focused on acne beauty treatments and busy city student lifestyle. Because that is what his or her life is about and what they enjoy sharing the most, even if they like other beauty treatments and love to go to the beach and also love yoga an business and so on.. the influencer has to bring something special, real and unique to the table, that is why now it is harder for a super hot bikini shots influencer to grow an audience from zero than an “imperfect looking” unique smart person sharing on their specific relatable life experience.
For influencers I have more detailed tips but that will be on an other context 🙂
4. Choose your format(s) & Platforms
Now you are ready to decideWHERE will you build this audience.
Remember any platform that is not yours has a risk , because they change their algorithms and their rules, so from one day to an other one you can “loose” your audience, but if you managed to build your brand not only your “channel” it really will not matter, you will be able to transfer your audience to an other platform any time.
The reason why we all build our audiences on all these platforms is because we would never be able to have their reach and access to so many people on our target as they do. We need them to be able to leverage their audience for our brands.
Let’s begin with the most obvious options out there: Instagram, Facebook , Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Medium, Quora, …
I know right now you might be already creating your profile on IG trying to move fast and ahead but I am going to ask you to STOP!
Before you spend/invest any time creating profiles randomly on all platforms:
Make sure you have done and learned and remember by hard the first 3 steps:
1. you have defined your objective for building your brand (what is the result you will measure, never followers or likes but a specific measurable objective like $ sales, subscribers, awareness, visitors, customers, brand recall etc)
2. you have Understood your target audience: Who are they?
3. you have narrowed your audience to a smaller unique niche: the specific unique niche you can serve better than anyone else.
Ok Now you are ready to do two things:
A. Before you focus on the platforms, Choose your preferred FORMAT. I mean, what is it that you either have the resources or enjoy doing the most: writing? Speaking into a camera? Taking photos? recording your voice? recording yourself live? teaching? . Then again go narrow if you chose writing: you prefer writing long articles, short blogposts, quick paragraphs, poetry, one phrase? understand what is it that you enjoy and do better, and then you will be able to start there before expanding to other formats.
This is so you don’t quit before you have actually built something.
Quick personal example: I started the blog before the Instagram, because I read that writing was the #1 activity for brain workout and creativity, so I committed to write a blog post (5 min read) once a week. So I had to read, investigate, test and conclude on a different subject every week which I found very fun and entertaining. I was sharing things I was learning simply to commit to keep my learning process (coding and yoga) haha and it worked for me. The Key is find your preferred format to start and avoid quitting. Mine was writing then evolved to photos then taking videos and recording a podcast…
If you are a company or a business, then you have to choose the formats you have abilities and personal to deliver on. If it is your own business go back to what format you enjoy the most, so you make sure you don’t quit too early.
B. Once you have chosen your preferred format NOW is time to choose the platform!!
The biggest mistake most people make is opening their profile as a first step on the 3 most popular media platforms: Instagram, Facebook and twitter.. well these are not as relevant as they might seem to be for EVERYONE..
So before you waste your time opening your profiles and feeding them content every day.. take a moment and remember the previous 3 steps: what is your objective? who is your target audience / potential customer?, where are your competitors?, Which format did you choose as your preferred one? … then you will be able to prioritize which platform or platforms you should build your audience at.
Lets do 3 different examples:
A. If you chose written form and your target audience is Business owners or managers (your objective has a B2B business model). Where do you think would be the most relevant platforms to start building your brand up?
Well you should start at: Medium, Quora, and Linkedin. And simply open your profiles, write down a small sentence that defines your business or person, and start publishing relevant articles (or blog posts) on the subjects that are appealing to your audience ( you could even search on Google Trends around your subjects). And start writting, publishing, hastagging, following the profiles and blogs with similar relevant content.. etc etc..
You shouldn’t waste your time on Instagram or snapchat or TikTok! thats not where you want your brand to be built and related to. And that is not where your potential clients or target audiences are.
B. If you want to build your own influencer brand around veganism or vegan recipes, then your audience most likely will be in the typical platforms like Instagram, Facebook but not only there, if you are just starting, they key will be to open both your IG and FB with a good clear bio, if you have a blog or website link it to your profiles, but also search for the hottest Vegan community weather it is in a Facebook Group or an other app even when it might seem to be “too small” that’s where you will be relevant, if you are clear on what you are bringing to the table. Make sure you have chosen y our niche or even sub-niche like: Vegan recipes full of protein, vegan breakfast recipes, vegan facts on sustainability , etc etc choose one specific niche you know you are adding the most value on and stick to it in the beginning as you grow your audience you will be able to expand into broader subjects around veganism.
You shouldn’t waste your time opening an other IG or Fb profile like the millions already out there, full of the same exact content. First define what makes your profile unique and valuable and share about it. Again, follow people on the similar interest and join groups where you can add value.
C. If you are a designer or software engineer or marketer (you name it), looking to build up your profesional brand so you don’t depend on the company you work for, to get freelancing jobs, consulting or simply to get recognition. Then maybe yes, you should start “pimping” your Linkedin profile first; adding a better blurb and description, adding more details and results on the projects you have worked on, share your articles, projects, Maybe more specifically for a software developer their github profile is much more relevant than linkedin but depends on their objective (step 1), if they want to get recognition, build their portafolio, connect with other developers then github should be #1, but if they are looking for job or project opportunities then they also need Linkedin and any other recruiting plaform for their field.
The main thing here is to understand your field, your objective and search for the most relevant platform to reach to your target audience. Go beyond the obvious ones and do your research, go niche then grow broader.
5. Build it as a habit
This tip goes specifically to the people doing it themselves.
Whatever you have defined and chosen to Build your brand around commit to it! This is why first part of step 4 says: choose your preferred format, you need to enjoy writing, photographing or recording, if you are going to do so much of it as a habit.
I know it is so easy to give this advice and soooooo damn hard to follow.
I know this better than anyone, and so I found the best way to do it. As a clear example @theyogicoder Brand is the only thing I have committed to professionally for more than 3 years in my entire career.. (I know.. pretty damn millennial of me). And the only way I have been able to do so is every activity I have started around the brand I have followed these steps and most importantly build it as a habit.
So just build it as a habit, whatever format you have chosen and in what ever platform you have chosen to start with, do it as a habit every day or every week. Commit with yourself a schedule, a “context trigger” like people who make their bed , they don’t think about it every morning they do it “subconsciously” because it has been built as a habit.
Has it ever happen to you that you drive to work or to school and you suddenly arrive and realize you don’t remember how you got there? Because all the way you were thinking about something else or singing.. Well you are able to arrive safely anyways because your brain has built is as a habit, the whole way to arrive to your destination, it is something you do every day so it doesn’t require much of your consciousness anymore therefore it doesn’t DRAIN your brain and soul from the energy you need to think, analyze and solve problems at school or at work.
If you have a team , you just have to assign it to someone who loves doing that for work and that you are paying for them to deliver on.
But if you are on your own and I am sure you have plenty of other things to do and most likely have no time to add more activities to your day and to your brain.. then the only wat to make it happen for real is to add one thing at the time and build it as a habit! if you want more details on how the brain works and how to add more activities to your day without burning out! listen to this podcast episode (it is on Spotify , & all other podcast app): HOW CAN YOU DO IT ALL podcast episode
So hope you are ready to Build your brand now!
In case you still need some more guidance:
There will be a workshop I will teach in detail this steps and much more on the whole path to be able to build your brand “organically”.
Or a 1:1 specialized Consulting call where I will guide you personally and answer all your questions, and help you analyze your specific business, person or profile to build it’s brand in the best way.