Updated: Apr 6
Starting a Business - Part 2
Okay! Here we go... so far in this blog series we have discussed identifying the problem you solve, who you solve it for, and things to consider when niching down and finding your ideal customer. Now, is the time to move on to building a strong brand identity. We all know the obvious brand identity items that you'll have to address (if you haven't yet) like a logo, a website, and a strong social presence. People LOVE to talk about these things and they are undoubtedly important but we aren't going there yet, so hit pause and set that aside for now.
Many entrepreneurs and small businesses build a website, design a logo and a year later switch gears and do it all over again once they learn the things we are about to walk you through. In our opinion, there is a more effective plan of attack. We are by no means knocking anyone for evolving or fine-tuning, of course, we encourage both of these things. However, if you know who your ideal customer is, who YOU are as a brand and how you want to relate the two, you can consistently show up and build your audience's trust without having to constantly re-evaluate your image and messaging.
If you do things in the right order and develop a solid game plan that focuses on what we refer to as the 3C's of marketing, the rest of the work comes together beautifully. Your focus needs to be on getting organized so you can deliver cohesive, consistent, and compelling (3C's) marketing to your ideal customer. It's time to develop your brand identity and personality, your brand's authentic voice. After reading this and completing the work you should have a clear brand positioning statement and a few tricks to help you communicate with your prospects with intention.
Create a Clear Brand Identity when Starting a Business
We know, we know, you are like ok but how do I start creating my brand identity? We are going to walk you through three exercises right now. The first is to gain further insight into your ideal customer avatar, the second will allow you to write a strong brand positioning statement, and the third will guide you through developing your brand story, elevator pitch, and how to communicate your unique selling proposition.
1. REFINE YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMER/CLIENT AVATAR
Dig out the ideal customer worksheet or if you don't have it, it is linked below. Review who your ideal customer is and think through each of these suggestions. (*Please note, the words "customer" and "client" are easily interchangeable terms so use whichever makes the most sense in your business.)
Do the following to build a clear ideal customer avatar:
Really take the time to see this person and give him or her a name.
What are this person's values and beliefs around your market?
What are their fears?
What are their desires?
Why would they resist working with someone like you or someone in your field? (Identify unspoken objections.)
Then answer these things:
What is the biggest advantage you offer?
What is your unique talent & skill set?
What is the biggest benefit to your customer?
Create an avatar or personality of your business from your audience's eyes. This is how your ideal customer relates to your business. Consider- what they come to you for...is it inspiration, entertainment, coaching, an expert opinion, fitness tips?
This exercise helps immensely with content creation. It will help clarify what part of your personality is most relatable to your customer.
2. BRAND POSITIONING STATEMENT- BPS - How You Show Up
Having a brand positioning statement helps bring clarity to all of your customer's touchpoints (a touchpoint is a way that a consumer can interact with a business, whether it be person-to-person, through a website, an app, or any form of communication) and builds their perception of your brand. Effectively positioning your brand in the marketplace is the first step to marketing success.
Here are some key considerations to a great brand positioning statement:
Target audience or ideal client: Having a concise summary of who they are and their needs and pain points gives you clear direction and consistency in your marketing.
Market definition: Who are you in your marketplace? What is your niche? Then consider this from your customer's perspective- what is the segment they identify with, what categories do they fit into?
Brand promise: What are you best at? What unique value does your brand provide to your customer? Consider both rational and emotional benefits. How do your products or services make them feel about themselves? Are they reinforcing their values and beliefs? Focusing on benefits and evoking an emotional response is a very powerful marketing tool.
Reasons to believe: What is your most compelling evidence that your brand delivers on its promise, where others cannot? Why are you an expert or someone relatable they can trust? Why should they choose you?
Brief Example: Brand X sells exercise equipment for moms to use with their kids.
Target Audience: Moms of young kids who are passionate about the days when they felt sporty and athletic. She believes it’s important to encourage a passion for sports and an active lifestyle in her young kids.
Market Definition: Brand X is the sports and toys brand for moms who want to be fit and share a healthy and active lifestyle with their kids.
Brand Promise: It’s our mission to provide excellent value in our products that keep you and your family active, feeling great, and having fun! We’re here to empower you from day 1 with an athletic mindset for long-term success so that you feel like an athlete every day. Our products inspire you and your kids to get off the couch, get active, and share your passion for a healthy, active lifestyle and all its health benefits.
(This promise aims to elicit an emotional response from a mom who fell victim to the 'on again off again approach to health and fitness who is always looking for the next thing.)
Reasons to Believe: You deserve convenience and the absolute best for you and your family. We test our products with our own family to be sure they deliver the benefits of a fun active experience that reinforces an athletic mindset. We want you to have the physical energy to find joy and adventure in everyday life, as a kid would, and encourage their adventurous spirit!
Most importantly, listen to what your customers are saying about your brand. When reviewing your brand positioning statement, does it feel authentic and congruent with what they’re saying?
3. YOUR MARKETING MESSAGE/STORY & ELEVATOR PITCH
What does your story look like? Have you noticed commercials often don't show the product until the near end? They have likely spent most of their airtime creating an experience that appeals to you and draws on your emotions. You don’t sell a grill by showing all of its features. You sell a grill by showing an experience of a family enjoying beautiful weather and delicious food outdoors.
Consider what experience you want your customer to have at each touchpoint. How do you want them to feel - empowered, luxurious, thrifty, etc.? Play on their desires and make them curious for more.
Do you have an elevator pitch or signature talk? It’s a concise introduction to you and your business. Whether you are great at engaging with your audience or you aren’t quite comfortable kicking off a conversation yet, it is super helpful to have a quick pitch in your pocket. Do you struggle to communicate one-to-one or one-to-many without feeling "salesy"? If so, having a signature talk can be your greatest marketing tool.
Your signature talk is your story or your core message, whether you have 2 minutes in an elevator or 45 minutes on stage. Your story is what connects you to your customer and builds relationships. A good signature talk might make you extraordinary but also ordinary and relatable. It is not a sales presentation. Start with “you know how...” or some variation.
Tell a story that takes us into the room with you. (Not as a 3rd party narrator) Connect with their heart. Include a turning point or pivotal moment they connect to and can emotionally experience with you. First, create a gap, and then include a promise to fill it. Next include a little about what you teach and a call to action. End with a strong emotional finish. Speak to the tactical and emotional people. Tactical prospects love a call to action they can take. Emotional prospects need to know how they will ‘feel’ after working with you. Be personal, authentic, and from the heart. “We’re in this together.”
What is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Weaving these unique points in your marketing message is a great way to show customers why they should do business with you instead of going to a competitor. Here are a few examples of how companies can communicate their USP to entice customers to buy:
Fast Delivery Services: Delivered in 30 minutes – or it’s free!
Reliability: When you absolutely, positively need to get it there (FedEx)
Healthy Ingredients: Natural, whole grain, gluten-free, non-GMO
Discount: VIP customers receive a 10% discount on every order
I can sell your home in 60 days at 98% asking price or more. Guaranteed.
Once you know your USP, then you can work this message into your marketing materials.
Consider that you will show up from this place for every single touchpoint.
We know this all sounds daunting. It takes serious focus and deep digging to answer these questions and get really clear on your brand identity and how your clients will relate to you. It won't be as hard as it sounds if you always bear in mind why you started this business in the first place. Be authentic, know what experience you want your customers to have, and understand what will keep them interested in working with you. Ultimately, your customers are the most important part of your brand so make sure they feel it and they will become invested in helping your brand grow and reaching its full potential.
Check out Starting a Business - A Guide for the Online Entrepreneur for a summary of this blog series and what you can expect to learn each week.
Evoke Creative • Helping you, help them.