With all of the "excitement" surrounding the financial markets, a lot of people are in a state of fear. One way out of fear is to have a brand that is recognizable, stands for something people believe in, and makes your way to new business easier.
There are four key steps to creating a clear, powerful and effective brand:
- Differentiation. What separates you from others who do what you do? Time in the business? A unique background in other industries? Your education and/or training? How do they know what makes you different? Do your letterhead, business card and other promotional materials reflect your expertise?
How about your website? I recently had my website undergo a major overhaul. Click here to see it - you may notice its drastically different from my old one. In the 21st century your "storefront" is your website. Your potential clients do their research on you before they commit a dime - make sure what they find excellently represents your brand.
- Emotion. It is said that buying decisions are based on emotions, and justified with logic. Ultimately it is someone's personal connection with you, not the actual product or service itself, that inspires or repels them. Make sure you and your brand inspire positive emotions.
- Authenticity. We can feel, even if its just on an intuitive level, when someone is incongruent (the inside doesn't match the outside) and they aren't genuine, trustworthy or "bona-fide." It is a good idea to be real, be human, and be the best you can. Others know when you're pretending to be someone or something you're not, even if they don't say it to you (chances are they'll say it - but not to you!). They just won't hire you.
- Relevancy. Being relevant is at an all-time high. With fear comes pulling back, hunkering down and being more prudent. You must prove what you're selling is relevant - and how specifically it is relevant. You must either solve a problem or give someone more of what they want. If your brand doesn't convey that, you won't go as far as you'd like.