Your brand’s job is to communicate who you are and what you offer in a way that resonates with your target audience. This can be a tall order for even the savviest and most self-aware professionals. Even industry experts – individuals who specialize in branding – struggle to apply their knowledge and experience to their own businesses. They’re just too close to it. When it comes to assessing our skills and articulating our vision, we often fail to capitalize or even recognize our greatest strengths.
- You’re a little shady. Once upon a time in the not-so-distant past, technology was optional and it was possible to be a player in your industry, build a thriving business, and find a date without an IP address. For better or worse, the rules have changed and life off the digital grid is no longer feasible. People want to know who they’re dealing with, so an absent or spotty digital footprint may very well spook prospects (professional or romantic). At best, they’ll assume you’re a dinosaur who’s completely out of touch. If you don’t include a picture so they can put a face to a name, many people will assume you’re some kind of scam artist and ignore your inquiries or requests to connect. Unfortunately, if you don’t lay all your cards on digital table, the most probable scenario is that you’ll be completely overlooked. None of these situations will help your business or love life grow. Full transparency has become the standard.
- You’re trying to please everyone (and satisfying no one). We all want to be liked, but people who need to be liked by everyone and require constant validation often come across as trying too hard. Translation? You’re desperate and there’s nothing sexy about that. Likewise, a brand that tries to be all things to all people often results in just the opposite. If you spread yourself too thin, you risk becoming a “Jack of all trades, master of none.” Being well-rounded might be an asset if you’re applying to college or competing in a beauty pageant, but it’s almost sure to kill your business. Maintaining a competitive edge in the market requires distinction, so don’t dilute your brand and lower the quality of your service simply to widen your target market.
- You’re not clear about your core values. Some say that opposites attract, but it’s human nature to gravitate toward the familiar because the unknown is often perceived as scary territory. You don’t have to be your ideal client’s clone in order for your brand to resonate, but it needs to communicate that you see eye to eye on what matters most. Your values are an integral part of your branding DNA, identifying what you stand for and hold sacred. Properly implemented core values help shape company culture and decide how to prioritize and allot resources. In addition to a comprehensive list of core values, this article provides a six-step process for narrowing it down to your top five. Use these to write your company manifesto or mission statement.