Though I am a visual brand designer, I understand that your brand is more than just what you can see on the surface.
Just like there is so much more to YOU than the color of your hair or the clothes you wear, there is so much more to your brand than your colors, fonts, and logos!
The stuff that’s going on behind the scenes, the stuff that you can’t see right away… that’s the stuff that really matters.
Since coming into the entrepreneurial space, I have learned that brands, like people, have personalities.
And, like people, brands without personalities are B O R I N G .
Think about it – surely, you know at least one person who has the personality of a saltine cracker.
Not too thrilling, right? In fact, hanging out with them is probably downright miserable because they have no substance. Nothing to add to the conversation. They don’t argue or agree with anything; they just exist.
They are, in the words of Gordon Ramsay, “BLAND.”
So, if being bland is the opposite of what we want, the question begs to be asked: Why don’t people let their personalities shine through when building a business?
The truth is, there are a TON of mindset blocks around leaning in to who you really are, especially when you’re in the public eye (as everyone who runs a business, especially online, is.)
Intrusive thoughts like, “They won’t like me,” or “They’ll think I’m weird,” can cripple you and make it hard to want to be authentic in front of your audience.
But I have a challenge for you, if you want to break through the noise: EMBRACE IT. Embrace it all.
Embrace the imperfections. Embrace your wild and tangled hair because you just wrestled your kids to bed before jumping on a live video chat. Embrace using your catchphrase, even if it has nothing to do with your business. Embrace your love for all things Disney-related. Embrace your lisp or your stutter.
If your dream client can’t tell the difference between what you and your competition have to offer, they’ll probably just choose whoever has the lowest price. So, the easiest way to get their attention is to be different!
People have infinite options for things and brands and businesses to pay attention to. Think about Facebook groups – how many people offer the same service you do?
When I’m browsing through groups, I often see people offering brand design services. Some people even offer more than I do! Web design, free brand strategy calls, the works. So how do I stand out?
A differentiation strategy is crucial if you want to break through the noise!
So now, I’m going to tell you about a little ice cream chain we have here in Columbus. It’s called Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams… and when I say it’s to die for, I mean it.
(You guys, Jeni’s is SO good.)
They have some of the best flavors I’ve ever eaten. My favorite is called Gooey Butter Cake. It’s a cheesecake ice cream with chunks of cake and caramel and I could easily eat the whole pint in one sitting.
And do you know what? Jeni’s is expensive. They’re out of the way. There is usually a line to get in the door… but I happily drive there, wait in line, and pay for it because when I want Gooey Butter Cake, I want it. I don’t want something from Dairy Queen, which is right down the road and way cheaper. I don’t want something from the grocery store, where I can be in and out and eating my ice cream in 5 minutes.
Your Special and Unique Flavor
Think of your brand like a flavor of ice cream: it’s special and unique… and if you’re doing it right, some people will love it and some people will hate it.
Do you know what ice cream flavor nobody loves OR hates?
Vanilla. It’s boring and safe – a compromise ice cream. Think about it: nobody really dislikes vanilla ice cream… but nobody ever really lists it as their favorite, either.
In fact, a few months ago, I ran a poll on my Instagram page to see what everyone’s favorite and least favorite ice cream flavor was. I had about 40 responses, and there was no vanilla in sight on either the love or hate side… just as I had suspected.
What I found really interesting, though, was how many flavors did end up on both lists. Some people (like me!) love mint chocolate chip… and some people used a vomit emoji when they listed it, or said it tastes like toothpaste.
It’s interesting because something that is so yummy in my opinion is vomit-worthy in someone else’s.
If you want to stand out in your business, your goal needs to be to BE LIKE THAT.
Sure, showing up with no personality might get you a little traction. Most people will probably like what you post.
But in almost every market, there are PLENTY of boring brands that already exist. Those slots are filled. If you want to stand out, you MUST be different. You must be willing to be unliked by some people.
If you are the right flavor for someone, they will come back again and again.
What flavor of ice cream is your brand? Head over to my Facebook group and make a post to let us know!