How does someone learn about your professional services? Authors, service providers, and small business owners know they need a platform to promote their offerings to the public. Most often this is done through internet presence and social media. But does your profile and your brand reflect who you really are?
Building a platform
I recently contemplated this very thought in seeking to establish a platform for myself as a writer. Yes, yes, I know some of you think of me as a serial entrepreneur. Writing is something I’ve always done, and this is the right career for me since my husband and I moved to Tallahassee a couple of years ago to be with our grandchildren. I’m excited, but I was stressing about having to establish a new identity on social media. I lamented about having to do this all over again. This time, I did something different. Rather than looking at what others were doing out there, I started with soul-searching about my brand.
Where to start
Remember the old Westerns? Cattle were branded with a logo that identified the owner. When launching a business or a web presence, marketing gurus say we must develop a brand. They mean more than a logo, it’s a whole identity. For most of us, our first instincts are to name our book, business, or URL, have a logo designed, get business cards printed, and have a website designed. That would be my first impulse, too, but first I contemplated my new identity. I questioned: “Do I create a brand, or be a brand?” I decided I should be a brand—that my public identity needed to reflect my character and deepest passion, not just a look I create. Does the identity you’re expressing reflect who you really are?
Consider the verse from 1 Samuel 16:7 when the prophet Samuel was sent to the home of Jesse to anoint a new king of Israel. He did not consider the sons that looked the part—tall and handsome—but rather, God wanted him to select the one that had a heart for the interests of God. Samuel selected the son that was to be the future King David. He was known as “a man after God’s own heart.” Does your brand reflect your heart?
Create a Brand or be a Brand?
Your brand needs to be consistent, recognizable, and most especially, genuine. It should reflect your passion. People can tell if what you are broadcasting is genuine. Your brand is something people can feel. If it isn’t real, they won’t trust you. If they don’t trust you, they won’t purchase what you’re selling. So, what I’m suggesting is that your internet presence needs to have a look and message that genuinely reflects who you are rather than a look you create. To discover my brand, I asked myself some questions.
How to be a brand
I propose that you don’t build a brand, you identify your brand. To begin discerning your brand, identify who you are and what motivates you. Here is a list of the soul-searching questions I asked myself:
- Who am I? (What would people say about me? How would they identify me? How am I known? Defines my character and characteristics.)
- What do I stand for? (What is important to me? What guides my life and my responses to my life experiences? Defines my passion.)
- What do I do? (How do I act on what I stand for? Defines my purpose.)
- Why do I want to do this? (What motivates me? Defines my mission.)
- What do I offer? (Products, services, insights. Defines my offering.)
- What do I want to communicate about me, the product, and the benefit to my customer? (Defines my message.)
- How do I want people to respond? (Defines my benefit.)
- What will be my client’s benefit? (Defines their benefit and my impact.)
- How does this honor God? (Defines how God is glorified.)
After answering these questions, my hesitation turned to enthusiasm as I became eager to set up my blog site and communicate the rediscovered passion that drives me!
Why is this important?
Hopefully, answering these questions for yourself will fire up your enthusiasm for what you do and how you express your brand. Connecting with your passion energizes your message and inspires your audience. It’s contagious! My writing friends, ask yourself these questions in reference to your blogging or book writing. Small business owners, review your current branding to see if it reflects who you genuinely are.
Friends, I sincerely hope this exercise has helped you in some way. I’d love you to follow me in my new venture as a writer and share your challenges and what you’ve learned. At the right, click to follow me!
Write On Friends!