I had the pleasure of having a conversation with Sashka Hanna-Rappl last week about branding your business. Sashka helps businesses create their soul brand, capturing your uniqueness, so that your ideal customers can find you through the strong brand you create together.
Apart from having fun and sharing stories in our half hour together, Sashka shared some ideas for business owners as to how to create a strong brand, using your life purpose as the starting point. She calls it reverse marketing – starting with you, not your customer. It’s not the usual way of creating a strong brand, that you’ll find with many marketing agencies, or branding specialists.
However, it works.
Just think about it. If you can capture all your passion for your business, plus how your product or service helps your customer, then that’s it isn’t it? All in one go, you’ve created something that is identifiable to potential customers and they understand why buying from you is just right for them, and not your competitor.
How to create a strong brand
We all know, and can list strong brand names. We often know the stories behind how the brand grew, or started, or how it developed. Think of Apple and Steve Jobs. Whether you buy their products or not, can you feel the essence of the brand from the story you know? Simple, effective, giving the customer something beautiful and strong to communicate with others/listen to music easily.
Sashka’s advice about creating your brand, from reaching into your soul first, may sound a bit unusual. So think about that now too. If you could get your passion, your story, the why you run your business, and the benefits of what you do for customers into your brand, do you think you’ll sell more?
Yes, I think that’s right too.
People buy from people, and we all love stories, so why not think about our business in the same way. Why should our business, which is what we want to earn our living, and create a pension for us and our family, not benefit from all the things we love & attract us to buy the things we want in our lives?
Know your Life Purpose. Sashka said, “this isn’t your why”. Now to my mind, it’s the WHY that Simon Sinek talks about. It’s not, “I want to buy the extras so we can go on holiday”,or, “I’m creating a pension pot so I can travel when I retire”.
What are your Core Values? The things which are running through your body all the time. The things which without them you feel lost. In Sashka’s workbook, she says, “Your values are your Zone of Genius in Communication. This is where your inner strength and energy will often come from”.
Listen to Yourself. What others think isn’t important here. Not your partner, nor your customers. Starting with yourself can seem selfish, but if the words your using for describing your business aren’t coming from you, or are your words, they won’t sound genuine. Listening is so important to business owners.
Know that words can change. When you’re working on this reverse marketing to get really clear about who you are, and why your business is different, remember that you’re in charge. Your words can change, remember our conversation about words that sell? You are allowed to have some fluidity in the words you use, even though your core values will remain the same.
I’ve seen many business owners spend a lot of time, and money, on getting business cards & paper, and websites built around words that someone else created for them, which didn’t feel right. It was a clumsy way to start their business. Some pulled through and made it work. However others, it didn’t start with them, and the customers didn’t come as the business didn’t attract the right people.
Be You. Be Honest. Sometimes we don’t know exactly why we’re being drawn to a particular colour, or image, or word. Trust yourself. You’re a business owner, and totally in charge of yourself and your business. Give yourself some time to create your strong brand before sharing with others.
Are you ready to create your brand?
Let’s start with Sashka’s book, Soul’d Out, and/or a Find your Why session. I’ve used both of these methods, hand in hand to create the brand words I use in my business. They feel right to me, and hopefully you can see my passion for helping other business owners succeed come through. There’s still work to do. There’s always work to do.
Don’t be afraid of being you, and sharing your soul, to create your strong brand. Your business will thank you.
I’d love your thoughts on branding & how you’ve created your brand for your business.