Building a Brand? BE YOURSELF

Last fall I attended a meet up for local entrepreneurs called "Marketing on a Shoestring Budget".  I didn't think about writing about it at the time but I learned something from one of the panelists that really stuck in my oversized marketing compartment of my brain.  So I thought I'd share his brilliant advice.

Here it goes. 

Three successful local entrepreneurs were asked to speak to the group about marketing. Each of the panelists introduced themselves and talked about how social media marketing has given them access to a much larger pool of customers.  It's also given them valuable information about what people like, what's working and what's not and where they need to expand.  

 Okay, so most of these technical aspects I was totally familiar with,  The really important information came from the owner of Jed's Barber Shop, a hip local, barber shop with an incredible social media following.  Jed's opened 5 years ago and has now opened a second successful (and now third) location.  

When Jed opened up his barber shop,  he set out to build a company that he would enjoy running.  And that, my friends is the simple but brilliant idea he based his branding upon. 

First, he asked himself, what do I enjoy? And his answer was,

"I like to have fun. I like to drink beer and I like to be around other people that like to have fun and drink beer!"   

Secondly, he asked himself, what am I good at?  and his answer was "I'm good at being funny"  and there was the second part of his marketing campaign, humor. 

And there he had it.  He would build his brand around humor, fun, beer and fun people who like to drink beer.  (Sounds pretty good to me!)

He started his campaign.   He set out to attract like minded people. People HE wanted to be around.  He used his humor to get the attention of fun people and he watched his social media influence grow and grow. 

By deciding who he was and what he liked, he built a brand to attract the kind of people that would also like these things.  Its brilliant.  I know, it seems simple but how many people, brands or companies build a brand this way?  When you do what comes naturally to you, what you enjoy, it's much easier to do the work!  We are always worried about being liked by everyone but what people really like and admire is other people being REAL, (as in really being who you are- as long as you're not a sociopath).  It's possible that you may lose a couple of customers or clients being you-  but in reality, you'll save yourself from the stress of working with someone who doesn't get you. 

If you're working on your brand, get to know who YOU are.   There's no point to building a brand and company that you don't love and that doesn't allow you the freedom to be yourself. 

Ask some questions.

  • What do I enjoy?  This matters! If you don't enjoy marketing the brand you've built, then it's not going to be as successful as you want it to be. 
  • What am I good at?  What comes naturally to you?  Use your assets! Don't force yourself to be anything you're not.  Inauthenticity reeks inauthenticity and no one wants to buy it. 
  • What can I do?  More importantly, what do you WANT to do?