The last time I checked, it wasn’t a good idea to view your business as your baby. You know, cause of the unhealthy emotional attachment, shrouded vision, and entrepreneurial equivalent of my-child-can-do-no-wrong parenting. (Aka how to raise a sociopath.)
But starting a new business – creating and shaping your brand and learning how to attract the customers you need – feels a lot like becoming a new parent. (And no, I’m not an expert in the latter, but I have enough friends with babies to make this comparison without risk of internet flogging.) It’s a constant emotional swinging between the kind of overwhelm that makes you burst into tears when you’re asked whether you want pizza or sushi for dinner, and the manic bliss that turns you into one of the insufferable Facebook users constantly telling the rest of us just how AH-FREAKING-MAZING and beautiful life is with your new
bundle of joy business. Hashtag grateful, hashtag blessed. (#eyeroll #generic #wegetityourehappy #ijustpukedinmymouth For the record, I now understand the power of gratitude, but that’s a story for another day.)
One summer during university I worked at the high end equivalent of Babies R Us, a mecca for ALL THE THINGS (insert panic voice) you didn’t know you needed to keep a small human alive. Anyone with eyes could spot the newbs – first time parents – in seconds. Wide-eyed and slightly dazed, they’d float around and around the store clutching a two page checklist of items to purchase before their baby’s arrival like it might contain the all the secrets of the universe. As a salesperson, I could have looked at these couples and seen dollar signs. But apparently I have a strong moral compass (thanks mom and dad) and an ingrained need to save myself and others from spending unnecessary cash, which resulted in breaking down the necessities vs nice-to-haves for my customers. (And repeat sales since I’d cultivated their trust.)
Starting and branding a business is the same sort of deal. There are thousands of tools, gadgets, techniques, and knowledge that sure, you COULD use, and COULD be beneficial. But it’s too much. When you’re new to the business game – and even if you’ve been doing it for years – it’s easy to lose sight of the essentials, let alone know what those are in the first place. The overwhelm – of information, to-do lists, choices – results in lack of focus and inaction.
So while I have no business telling you what a new baby needs to thrive (if you were hoping for secrets of that nature, darling, you better look elsewhere cause 3 months selling strollers, car seats, and bottles does not a baby expert make), I CAN confidently tell you what your new business needs.
In order for you and your business to thrive, you need to build a strong, recognizable, magnetic brand that elicits curiosity, chemistry, and connection from your ideal customers.
Whether you’re a bootstrapping solopreneur, or a boss lady with the budget for a support team, these are the 3 essential tools that have real impact on building a magnetic brand:
1. A clear picture of your ideal customer.
I’m talking stalker level I-know-what-you-ate-for-breakfast-this-morning-and that-you-cried-during-the-bachelor-finale-and-hate-that-Betsy’s-instagram-feed-is-getting-more-likes-than-yours creep factor. Your ideal customer is your soulmate. You’re MEANT to be together, just like that cute guy you keep spotting at your fave coffee shop who’s drink order is the EXACT same as yours (!!!) and now you’re determined to show up at said coffee shop every. single. day. until he notices you.
Jokes aside, the more you know what makes your ideal customer tick, the things she values and prioritizes, her passions (you never know, a specific coffee shop might be one of them), how she feels about x, y, or z, what problem/struggle/frustration she thinks she’s looking to solve with a product or service like yours, and what she really needs from you to get where she wants to go, the better you can create content and products that make her feel like you’ve spent time inside her head. Like you’re someone she trusts who really, truly gets her. And that, darlings, is why she’ll buy from you over anyone else.
2. A ballin’ personality.
I’m not telling you to be like Yeezy or change who you are. But I am telling you to make like a rap star and be boldly, unapologetically, authentically YOU in every aspect of your brand. Because markets are saturated – period – and the easiest way to stand out is to leverage your personality.
People don’t connect with businesses, people connect with people. So, humanize your brand and cultivate those essential “me-too” moments by sharing your passions and quirks. When you sprinkle your personality throughout your brand and the way you do business, you start to shift from pushing (your ideas, products, purpose, etc.) on your ideal customers, to pulling them in with curiosity, relatability, and connection.
3. Knockout visual assets.
I’d hate to see you end up on the wrong side of a best-dressed battle against someone who offers a similar product or service. (For the record, Olivia Palermo will always wear anything better.) From the photos you’re posting on social media, to the graphics on your website, your potential clients need to be met with stunning, cohesive imagery that accurately and consistently represents your brand aesthetic.
It’s scientifically proven that humans process visuals 60,000 times faster than text, that graphics more quickly and intuitively affect our emotions, and that our emotions greatly affect our decision making. While this doesn’t at all discount the importance of the written word – especially in more deeply connecting your brand and products to your ideal clients – it does mean your visual game has got to be on point. (Again, Olivia Palermo.) Your audience is making subconscious judgements about your brand based on a split second glance of that picture you posted on your facebook page, or the graphic you included in your email newsletter. A brand without consistency and visual cohesiveness reads as an identity crisis to your potential clients, leaving them confused and distrusting.
Now, if your heart rate just went up and you’re thinking, “Well shit Bria! I’m not a graphic designer, and I sure as hell don’t have time to become one!” just take it down a notch – you’re not alone, and I’m gonna help you.
Not having the know-how or technical skills to pull off beautiful branding and marketing materials on the regular (I had to stop myself from abbreving to “on the reg” lest the sarcasm go undetected… and now risk sounding like a wanker for using the word “lest”) is one of the greatest frustrations I see from business owners, entrepreneurs and marketing managers.
This is where #PsBootcamp comes in.
A two day weekend Photoshop class developed especially for busy women who are ready to build magnetic brands; business owners, entrepreneurs, bloggers, marketers. Photoshop is the number one tool I use to create beautiful marketing materials for Digital Darlings and all my clients, and I can’t wait to share it’s magic with you.
If you’re ready to ditch frustration and start creating visuals that match the brand inside your heart – and the level of work that captures your dream client’s attention – get the deets and reserve your seat in #PsBootcamp for the end of April. (Don’t procrastinate, seats are already spoken for!)