Branding is important. This much we know. But what exactly does “branding” mean? According to Master Brand Method creator and BlogHer Biz speaker Jennifer Kem, it’s a word with many definitions attached. “Branding is a very confusing topic. You can think of a product as a brand, you can think of your message as a brand, you can think of social media as branding, or your website and logo,” she said during a workshop alongside “The Budgetnista” Tiffany Aliche. Unsurprisingly, an umbrella term leaves plenty of room for error if you don’t have a clear understanding of how to define your business first.
Kem says that “’Brand’ is how what you do makes people feel.” Once you’ve identified what that is, creating a plan is the next step. Kem recommends starting with an assessment called the Archetype-Influence Mix, which uses psychological insight from Dr. Carl Jung to help you harness what truly motivates you from the inside.
Once you know your why and your plan, the key to staying focused and encouraged daily is avoiding a couple of the all-too-common mindsets that could make brand building harder than it should be.
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Expecting Immediate Results
Many people become discouraged when they don’t see immediate results from their hard work, but Kem explains, “You do all this work to be seen and heard and then you stop because you don’t get the feedback you want. You’re actually taking 10 steps back because what people buy is consistency. It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s brick by brick and getting scrappy.”
And yes, the same applies after you’ve exceeded your goals. “There are still days where we’re building something new, a new project, a new launch, a new product. You still have to do it from the beginning the same way.”
Over-Sharing Without a Strategy
Kem also emphasizes the importance of storytelling and knowing which stories you want to tell. Many people jump to the idea of transparency and struggle when deciding how much of their lives to share.
“I think you should be strategic and intentional about your authenticity.” She doesn’t believe transparency and authenticity are the same thing and says, “If it helps your audience, it’s a good story to tell.”
Worrying About Competition
Kem doesn’t “believe in competition because every single person has a unique ‘come from’. No one has your specific story.”
She adds that instead of focusing on the competition, focus on how to tell your story since that is what absolutely sets you apart. An easy way to do this is by setting up simple systems and letting the systems do the work in creating consistency. One of these simple systems is naming your audience, because “once they start to feel part of something, they’ll always choose you over whoever is doing the same thing as you.”
Not only does Kem not believe in competition; she also believes that ‘competitors’ should help one another. “I look at competition as ‘let’s be allies,’ ‘let’s be united’ because the table is limitless. There’s enough for everyone to eat.”
Navigating the branding landscape can be difficult, but Kem says there’s no need to over-complicate things. “The truth is, if you walk in the boots of your customer, you can’t be messed with from a competitive standpoint.”
Watch the entire Brand Building for Beginners workshop (above) and if you haven’t already, register for BlogHer Biz so you don’t miss our next session.