So, the kind folk at Flying Solo asked if I’d contribute to an article about how to make people love your brand. The first question they asked, was, unsurprisingly, ‘What do people love about your brand?’
I was stumped. Do I even have a brand?
How would I describe my brand?
Would I like my brand if I met it in a pub?
I didn’t have a clue.
Yes, I’m a picky bugger when it comes to my site design, logo, colours, etc.
Yes, I have a kooky 1950s-style photograph taken by pin-up photographer, Sherbet Birdie, that stands out from the crowd.
And, yes, I have just about the coolest second name ever. (Thanks, Dad.)
But can I have a brand if I’ve never really thought about it?
Writing about your own brand (especially when you’re a solopreneur) is like writing a dating profile: no matter what you write, you sound like a loser or an arrogant fool.
So, I gave up and went onto my Facebook page where I tentatively asked ‘How would you describe my brand?’
Then I waited for the snarky comments.
They didn’t come, and instead people said awesome stuff.
“Funny, lively, quirky, breaks the rules, cheeky, not afraid to be controversial, informative, knows her stuff, doesn’t ‘feck’ around, straight to the point, no wanker or up your ass factor, concise, bold, write like you speak (says it how it is) raw and open. I think you have a done a fab job of creating your brand and growing your business.” Thanks Stella!
“When I read your emails or read status updates, etc., I could almost swear that you were sitting here chatting and advising me as a best friend.” Thanks Sarah!
Other phrases used to describe my brand were honest, down to earth, professional, playful, engaging, cheeky, fun and spunky.
Now my Facebook ‘persona’ is a lot cheekier than the one I use on LinkedIn and Google+. It’s also not as professional as how present myself to my clients via my website.
What do my peers thing of my brand?
So, glutton for punishment that I am, I also asked my peers – that’s right, I asked OTHER COPYWRITERS (my competitors) what they thought of me. Am I stupid or what?
Again I was blown away by how positive they were. I’m not going to list all the things they said, for fear of looking like a show-off, but the words that stood out were:
One writer chum, Sarah, added:
“The fact that ‘business you’ is so closely aligned to ‘regular you’ is one of the most defining points of your brand. It’s natural authenticity.”
My old boss, Matt, (who taught me how to climb the copywriting rigging), spoke about how my creative writing actually boosts my professional writing, and that I practised what I preached.
Another writer chum, Max, wrote a poem about how much he hated me – which was immensely complimentary.
So, apart from having my ego hugely massaged, what did I learn?
I learned that my brand is just me. And that’s okay.
I also learned that you can let your brand evolve and change over time.
You see the shocking truth about my brand is that I’ve done zero brand planning or strategising. And yet I’ve ended up with a set of brand values that truly match how I want to represent myself. Pretty cool huh? Just by being myself I have unwittingly created a brand that I like and am proud of – if my brand were a person, I’d happily have them over for a glass of wine.
I couldn’t have planned my brand better if I’d tried.
I’ve now written my brand values down and stuck them above my computer make sure that what I do from now on measures up.
But, I’m very interested how other solopreneurs brand themselves, and if, in reality, their brand values are just extensions of their true selves.
Over to you
Do you know what your brand is? Did you work it out before you started marketing, or did it evolve? Is your brand a kind of super hero version of yourself? Do you like your brand? Comment below to let me know.
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