YourAreYourBrand_ID-100139770What is a brand? The simple answer is a brand is a product or a trademark.  Yet, it goes beyond a tangible product.  A brand is an idea or an image that you want consumers or potential consumers to connect with.  When they see you, your company, your product, your logo or when they think of your service, you want them to easily identify it.  As a matter of fact, you want them to think of you when they anything similar to you.  That’s top of mind!

I emphasize the word “idea” because branding is the planting of an idea.  It is what you want people to think of when they think of you, the service you provide for them and anything else connected to you.

Unfortunately, many young entrepreneurs do not get this.  They work hard at their product but never create any lasting value.  I have seen many young business owners suffer because of lack of branding or inadequate branding.  Let’s face it, people do business with people and companies that appeal to them whether through a relationship of trust (which requires experience) or through the feeling of connectivity.

Consumers trust Coca Cola, they have been for years.  And, the result is Coca Cola continues to dominate the beverage market because of it.  Their brand is easily identifiable and recognized amongst the many choices on the store shelf.  But, trust had to be gained.  When Coca Cola started out, they had to build trust with consumers.  How did they do it?  They started with an idea, created and planted an impression that would allow potential consumers to connect with them first before they could win a place in their hearts.

Connecting with people is your first duty when branding yourself of your product.  Here are four simple things I always stress to young business owners to consider when connecting with their audience and building their brand.

1) Dress appropriately.

For years, we have taught our children to “dress to impress” and we should continue to teach it.  First impressions carry a lot of weight.  You would be surprised how many people may not engage you simply because of inappropriate dress.  People want to do business with people who look like them or, at least, look the part.

2) Change how you talk.

I’m not saying you should try to talk proper or even speak in different dialect that isn’t native to who you are.  What I am saying is this, how you talk to people is important.  When talking, slow down or speed up, don’t talk too fast and, by all means, don’t talk too slow.  Try connect with your audience on their level, at their pace.

3) Watch what you do.

What you do, your actions, even behind closed doors, are a testament of who you are.  If you deal shady behind closed doors, your shady dealing will come to light and they will ultimately manifest themselves in your dealings with everyone.

4) Always be mindful of those beyond your target audience.

Having the pulse of your target audience is important.  But, what about everyone else?  It is highly likely that someone outside of your target will introduce you to someone within your target audience.  People look out for each and they are always referring products and services to their friends and families even if they themselves have not used the product or service.  Therefore, your reach has to extend beyond the people you do business with or want to do business with.

I do my best to keep these top of mind whenever I’m on a speaking engagement, facilitating a workshop or just out about town.  They help me to stay on course with who I am and what I offer while hopefully creating an impression of someone likable and trustworthy.  What tips do you offer to maintain your own personal brand?

Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at