The internet is a busy place. Did you know that every second, 6000 tweets are published on Twitter?! Add to that 660,000 business in the UK started up in 2016… that’s a lot of perceived competition for a small startup, creative or entrepreneur! In this digital age, a business in the UK has a worldwide audience, and therefore potentially international competitors and, excitingly, multinational customers! That’s a big pond, and lot of fish.
So how do you position yourself in front of those essential, committed, enthusiastic, paying customers? By defining your brand and shouting about it from the rooftops! (or facebook / twitter / instagram…which is more widely acceptable marketing practice).
Look at a simple commodity like bread as an example. There are hundreds of brands and bakers out there with a huge market and customer base to crack, and yet it is likely that we are all loyal to our favourites. An ancient grain loaf’s customer is very different to that of a supermarket budget sliced white, and is equally different again to a local artisan baker. All of these products and businesses have built a reputation, they are instantly recognisable and as a consumer you know immediately what their values are – from ethics and nutrition, to price point and quality. These are all different elements that their customers value in different quantities, and by knowing this accurately, the manufacturers and bakeries have each found their niche. After all, this is how we can have a whole aisle dedicated to bread, and a bakery next door, and no-one goes out of business!
Establishing a brand and sharing it confidently creates a connection with your audience. There will inevitably be some of those people that don’t like it, and – big breath here – THAT’S OK! We don’t want to work with people that don’t value, respect and appreciate us, right? What you are looking for, is to match your brand values to those of your ideal client.
It’s a safe bet that yours and your gorgeous business’ values are similar that that of your ideal client. If you imagine your product in a high end supermarket, you need to be talking to that end customer – not a budget superstore visitor. If you care about the environment and your company has a strong eco policy, chances are your clients do too. Similarly, if you value your free time and flexible working, quoting for work that needs to be on strict timescales, conducted during 9-5 and at your own desk might not be the work for you, and certainly won’t be a fun project to work on. And we don’t want that do we?!
My top tips for building your brand?
Know your audience. Upside down and inside out. Who out there really makes you light up when they work with you or buy your products?
Find your niche. What makes you stand out?
Inject your passion! We want to know what makes you excited!
Be consistent. From colours, logo and tone of voice, to publishing schedule and content – make sure your audience know and trust you.
By sharing your message, you will make your voice heard and identify yourself as a leader. We want you to get in front of your ideal client and talk to them in a way which resonates – so get out there and make them listen!
[A version of this post was first published as a guest article over on The Hills]