When we hear the word branding, we tend to think of major corporations like McDonald’s or Netflix.
But the power of branding is just as important for solopreneurs and freelancers. The problem is, I’ve seen way too many entrepreneurs almost completely ignore branding because they don’t think it’s something that applies to them.
Newsflash: if you’re selling anything — be it your services as a copywriter or your ability to film cutesy wedding videos — branding matters. Don’t let these deceptive branding myths keep you from achieving your full potential.
Names, Logos And Color Schemes Are Worthless
In my experience, it seems like most entrepreneurs end up being either “too hot” or “too cold” with this stuff. Some fall into the trap of believing those that say these things aren’t a “true” part of branding, and therefore, don’t really matter. Others get a little … obsessive, poring over every tiny detail and running every decision through focus groups and surveys to find the perfect option.
While you shouldn’t be spending a whole year to fine-tune your name, logo and color schemes, these issues are still important. Color schemes and logos have a psychological impact on how potential clients perceive your brand. Your name can also help tell potential customers who you are, and what your business is all about.
Because these things make up such a huge part of your first impression with customers, the consequences for getting them wrong can be costly. Don’t go overboard, but take some time to do them right.
Branding And Advertising Are Essentially The Same Thing
Another common issue is when branding and advertising get confused as being interchangeable terms for the same thing. They both fall under the marketing umbrella, so they can’t be that different, right?
I recently discussed this via email with Eloisa Marchesoni, an accomplished branding and marketing expert and co-founder and COO of Blackchain. She explained, “Branding is all about creating an identity for your brand. Your brand describes who you are and what you stand for. It’s the foundation for everything else you do. Advertising is how you communicate your brand to others. Your advertising will only be as strong as your brand allows it to be.”
My brand comes from who I am as a person. I school entrepreneurs on the things they don’t know so they can build a business that actually turns a profit. I’m not afraid to use a bit of sass as I do it, either. Advertising is a whole different ballgame. That’s the stuff like blog posts, podcasts and social media outreach that helps me communicate my brand with others.
Branding is the foundation for good advertising — you won’t get the results you want without it.
Branding Is Only A Concern For Big-Name, Fortune 500 Companies
Because so many solopreneurs have fallen into the trap of thinking that branding is just for big Fortune 500 companies, they also end up thinking that it’s something that requires a multimillion dollar marketing campaign. With this mindset, branding doesn’t just seem unimportant for small businesses — it also becomes financially out of reach.
The problem with this attitude is that without a strong, memorable brand to build on, your small business is going to be forgotten in the white noise of thousands of other startups that look just like yours.
Branding is a chance to show how you are unique. It helps you get the right messages to the right people, instead of trying to be all things to all people.
So, while quality branding doesn’t come cheap, it’s still worth the investment. And for a small business, you don’t have to spend millions to establish your brand in a way that will help you reach your dream customers.
There’s A Right And Wrong Way To Build Your Brand — No Questions Asked
As with so many other things related to marketing, too many people try to take a “one size fits all” approach to branding. There is only one way to do things, and anyone who tries to do it differently is bound to fail.
I’m here to tell you that’s a pretty stupid attitude.
You see, context is key for proper brand- building. Target markets change. So does your competition. Even your entire industry can change overnight (COVID-19, anyone)?
As the context surrounding your brand changes, you need the agility to adapt in a way so that you will continue to appeal to your target audience. Many of the world’s longest-lasting brands have undergone big changes over the years, from adopting new logos to getting into completely new lines of business.
The thing that remained consistent? Staying true to the original brand mission.
As long as you hold on to your brand mission and values, you can have confidence that any changes you make to your branding won’t alienate your core clients. Instead, you’ll excite them with new services, improved messaging or other updates that help keep your brand relevant as you adapt to changing times.
Stop Listening To Myths And Build Your Brand The Right Way
These branding myths seem to be pervasive in the modern entrepreneurial world …
So, consider this your chance to get ahead of the competition. By understanding how you can truly use branding to grow your business, you will be far better equipped to reach your target audience and make a real impact in your niche.