So, I’m sick in bed as I write this. I’ve got a hot cup of tea, and I’m wearing sweatpants, a Lovecraft t-shirt, and my Cthulhu hoodie. I’m snuggled up with my laptop and four thick blankets.
I’m definitely lookin’ professional right now.
I’ve been scouring the internet for the latest news within the pet retail industry (old habits die hard), and one of the things that really stands out to me is how similar a lot of pet brands look. They’ve got a giant logo, attention-grabbing colors, and a picture of a cute pet. It’s pretty formulaic, and it’s one of the reasons why so many customers get brands mixed up. You would be surprised (or maybe you wouldn’t) at how many customers would grab an item from one brand, only to stare at it in confusion five minutes later. They couldn’t tell them apart from the brand they always get!
If you have a smaller business or brand, it can be a challenge to stand out among the crowd. This is why you need to do something a bit different, something that will make the audience be able to look at your logo or packaging and know it’s you. You want them to be able to connect with your brand on an emotional level. Why should they go with you, rather than that other guy? You need them to feel reassured about their decision. Give them a reason to trust you.
I am constantly thinking of ways I can infuse my personality into my business and blog as a way of making it memorable. I want to connect with other people, and to stand out from the rest. With a gazillion blogs and other writers out there, standing out is super important! That’s why I’m sharing these five simple ways to personalize your brand:
Tip #1: Share Personal Stories
You may have an idea in mind for how you want your business to operate, but you need to remember the emotional tie-in for your clients. Why should they go with you over another person?
There is only one you. You have specific things that have happened to you. Sure, some of these experiences are similar to those other people (More than 70 million people throughout the world stutter, which is about 1% of the population.), but they’re not exactly the same experiences as yours.
Share personal stories throughout your blog and business because that will help your clients and readers be able to relate to you on a personal level. This helps create the connection that is so important in business.
I mean, I could go on and on about why a particular type of coffee is the best coffee in the entirety of the known universe, but it won’t make a darn bit of difference. Now, what if I added a personal story to that, and told you all about my struggle with fatigue and how all other brands I’ve tried have caused ulcers and horrible stomach pains?
The emotional story other people can relate to is going to be more effective, right?
Share pieces of yourself whenever you can. Throw them into your blog, sprinkle them in when you’re promoting your products or services, and tie them into your contests and giveaways.
Tip #2: Be Authentic
On more than one occasion, I have had customers ask me if two or three products were from the same company. The packaging was similar, and the wording of everything was super similar.
The brands were not at all related. In fact, they were competitors!
Do you want to sound like some boring, sterile person when you’re writing your blog posts or other type of content? Do you want to sound like everyone else?
Yeah. I didn’t think so.
When I write blog posts, I tend to type in the same voice I would use if I were speaking to you directly. I write every post as though I’m talking to my best friend (You can visit her here!).
It can be a bit hard at times, because I was an English Lit. major. I have an undying love for the Oxford comma, get ticked off when someone uses “effect” instead of “affect”, and experience eye twitches over a whole variety of other such things. It can be tempting to try my best to have impeccable grammar, but I find that I get better responses when I don’t.
SIDE NOTE: This only pertains to my own blog posts. I maintain proper grammar rules when I am doing client work. . . unless otherwise stated.
Tip #3: You Get 3 Wishes
Okay, so they’re not wishes. But, it sounded good.
One of the exercises I found online forever ago involved asking my friends to describe me in three words. I felt pretty darn vain asking them, but my friends are good sports. Plus, they’re used to me doing weird things like that.
Do this. Take note of how they describe you. For me, my three most commonly received words were: Compassionate (Also: kind, sweet, caring, etc.), Thorough (professional, detail-oriented, meticulous, etc.), and Intelligent (smart as hell, super smart, brainiac, erudite, etc.).
Yeah. I have some pretty great friends.
But, these words gave me some great insight into how others see myself, and I was able to incorporate them into my brand. Check out my About Me. As someone who has gone through a lot – plus I stutter – I understand how hard things can be. I always try to be kind toward other people, and I never give up on something I want. I push myself to achieve my goals, which is how I became the top sales person in my previous job, and it’s how I did so well in school.
What do YOUR friends say about you? Incorporate those words into your personal branding.
Tip #4: Find Your Strengths
Find your strengths.
What are you good at? Like, REALLY good at?
Make a list of your top 10 strengths, with subcategories for each one.
Strength: Writing > Blogging > Comics
Tip #5: USE THOSE STRENGTHS
One of my strengths is finding ways to incorporate my love of all things business with my nerdy/geeky interests. (Check out this post about the valuable business tips I learned from table-top gaming!)
I am also really good at researching things, reading large amounts of text in a short time (with high levels of comprehension), and retaining the most random information.
I am not very good at coming up with jokes. I happen to think they’re funny, but…yeah.
What is something YOU’RE really good at? Figure out what it is, and incorporate that into your brand. Make it all about you, and what you have to offer. What do you have that they don’t?
How are YOU going to personalize your brand this week? Let me know in the comments below!