My weekly blog post is due. I need an idea . . . an inspiration of some sort. I’ve hit a metaphorical roadblock.
Sometimes I just need some inner guidance – some INNER-G.
When you work for yourself and you love what you do, your business “day” can easily turn into nights and weekends as well. The longer I do this (this entrepreneurial “thing” – now in my 13th year), the more I have learned to STOP and take breaks.
Perhaps it’s a walk, a sit on our covered front porch or the back deck, a short nap, or a ride in the car – with the windows down, if possible – especially if I need to blow out the cobwebs in my brain.
For me, it’s all about having a process where I have learned to LET GO of any expectations I have around the perceived roadblock. It could be anything from dealing with a whiny client (NOT you) to needing a new idea, to how to pay that bill which just landed on my desk.
I’ve learned to recognize the “roadblock” feeling – a dull heavy sensation in the middle of my chest – almost like an invisible set of hands pushing me forward AND back at the same time. If I actually listen to the “nudge”, and let myself “break away”, it more-often-than-not leads me back to my INNER-G . . . my “flow”.
I REALLY, REALLY like it when I’m in the “flow”. Ideas come faster than I can sometimes type (or write). Words which I’ve been searching for all day (or all week) begin to pop in my head and I’m better able to serve our clients and help them grow their businesses.
Giving myself permission to take a break and regain a connection to my INNER-G (my inner guidance) has been pivotal in being able to grow OUR business.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help YOU find your own INNER-G so you can Look Good, Attract More Clients and Monetize Your Passion . . . give me call.
PS: Our new website just went live last week . . . take a quick peek and let me know what you think!
The first question I typically ask a new client is, “What are you REALLY selling?”
A few look at me as if I’m crazy — but soon learn I have method in my madness. We’re not selling windmills, whistling lessons or wonder-bras — we’re selling the RELIEF or FEELING our customer receives from making the purchase. We want them to feel good about doing business with us.
Quite often, as with APPLE or TIFFANY or DISNEY, we are simply selling our brand essence — our brand experience — how great it makes a consumer feel to be associated with our product or service. How can you develop your Brand Essence? . . .
- BE-Lieve. Believe in your product/service and others will too. Love what you do and don’t be afraid to let it show.
- BE Giving. Be of service by offering more than your customers and staff expect.
- BE Integrated. Create brand standards and use them. Identify colors, fonts and messaging unique to your business. Again, USE them.
- BE Seen. Have a great logo? Use it. Need a new one or an update? Hire a professional to fix that for you.
- BE Heard. Know your key messaging and share with your employees and around your community. Let people know WHY you love what you do.
- BE Bold. Boldly share your visual, verbal and virtual message every chance you get. Find your niche, fill a void.
- BE Valuable. Bring value to the table. Value propositions have no value if they fall short of expectations.
- BE Committed. Follow through on your commitments to your clients, your community, and to yourself.
- BE Trusted. Establish relationships based upon trust, honesty and integrity. Trust your gut, follow your instincts.
- BE Consistent. Deliver on your brand promise. Play your strengths. Reframe your weaknesses. Respond proactively.
A good logo transcends time and a variety of media, allowing a brand to imbed itself in a community — whether your community is defined as local, regional, national or global.
Watching how global brands transcend their own iconic brands to target core audiences can help you learn to expand your own brand.
Take Nike’s latest NYC campaign:
“Painting” said Pooh, “is like humming in color”
Handing someone a generic business card or marketing piece tells them your company is . . . well, generic.
Offering well-thought-out marketing materials (from business cards to website banners) tells your audience you are excited about and proud of what you do, and want to share what you know. It doesn’t matter whether you are a financial planner or a tattoo artist, utilizing color or black-and-white — how you “paint the picture” of your business creates your visual brand.
You become memorable.
Choosing color to represent your business is much more than picking your favorite color. Different colors evoke different subliminal psychological responses. That’s why hospitals traditionally don’t use orange, yet Home Depot does.
What message does your business “hum”?
Making Your Brand “FEEL” Good.
SO . . . How DOES your brand make your customer feel?
- DEFINE your business focus.
- DESIGN your business image.
- DELIVER your business message.
How to Design a Brand
TOM ASAKER | Author, speaker and provocateur | 2/16/12
always one step ahead of the times. They should,
and must, question everything generally
thought to be obvious. . .”
Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen . . . CAN “Spoil the Pot” and Spoil Your Brand Impact
Small business owners — especially solo-preneurs — tend to ask everyone they meet for an opinion when it comes to marketing. They fall prey to the DELUSION that the more people they ask, the more they will learn about how to market their business. Trick is . . . for every person they ask, they are guaranteed to get a different opinion, which quite often leaves the business owner even more confused.
Unfortunately, this DELUSION leads to brand DILUTION.
Avoid the Dilution of your Brand Message through Visual, Verbal and Virtual Consistency.
If you are not comfortable in making marketing decisions, hand that responsibility over to ONE trusted partner. Having one primary marketing partner to help you craft your overall brand strategy will create a clear and consistent marketing message.
- Visual Message. Scattering your design projects among several designers will do just that — scatter your image and create confusion. Develop a visual brand strategy that supports your brand message and stick to ONE professional designer that understands visual brand strategy.
- Verbal Message. There is so much more to writing marketing copy than stringing words together into a sentence. Your consumer is more likely to remember you when you have a consistent tone and message written by ONE professional writer/editor.
- Virtual Message. Not all web designers are web developers (and vice-versa). If you are lucky, you’ll find one that does both. The same goes for SEO and/or Social Media — trust ONE expert to set you up with a customized plan.
Resist the Delusion of Getting Something for Free.
Barter is not always best. Smarter is best. Everyone is on a budget and looking for ways to stretch a dollar, yet if the outcome of your “trade for services” brings about chaos and confusion with your consumer, then you have essentially gotten what you paid for (nothing), and you’ve wasted everyone’s time (which by the way, is valuable). Choose “smarter” — and make decisions based upon what is best for your brand message.
Trust Your Instincts.
At your gut level, you know what is best for your business. Learn to trust those instincts. Avoid the temptation to “collect” a cadre of disparate designers, writers and web developers — find a few key players whom you trust to help you develop your “big picture” brand and trust them to help you craft a consistent brand message. Creating a clear and consistent Visual, Verbal and Virtual message for your consumer serves to clarify and solidify your brand and strengthen your client/consumer relationships – and will cost you less in the long run.
When you BELIEVE in what you offer, you create a passion that motivates your consumer to purchase. Identify the FEELING you want your consumer to have with each purchase, and you are on your way to increased sales.
Kashi actively markets the healthy lifestyle by building a community of health-conscious fans. Through the company’s focus on health and wellness, Kashi exemplifies how to build a personal brand that makes consumer relationships a priority.
Each year since 1995, leading food industry expert, Julian Mellentin, forecasts and analyzes trends in food, nutrition and health. Indicators show that food and beverages which provide a benefit that consumers can actually FEEL will be best placed to weather the global economic downturn.
“In tough times the single most important factor consumers will take into account when choosing a functional food or drink will be whether it delivers a benefit they can feel,” says Mellentin.
The importance of “feel the benefit” is even more important when people are being more careful with their money.
At Kashi, the most loyal “BELIEVERS” sign up to become a Kashi “Fan Addict” – giving them added benefits such as coupons, weekly newsletters and access to special promotions.