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After what seemed like an eternity of hard work, you finally launched your brand. Now what?
You worked with a brand strategist and couldn’t be more pleased with the beautiful brand elements designed for you. Spent the last few weeks fine-tuning your message and what your brand stands for. And now, you’re ready to open for business.
You’re proud of what you created and excited to share it with the world, but…
👉 Maybe you’re unsure of the best way to share your brand with the world (or if there’s even such a thing).
👉 Maybe you still feel like there are a million other things to work on before you’re ready to go public.
👉 Maybe you’re worried about the feedback you may receive.
👉 And maybe life just happens, and you get too busy, and you decide to postpone the official launch.
Internal pushback is completely normal. After all, you only get to launch your brand once. But as a wise person once said, “You should really work on marketing during the times you’re the busiest.”
Easier said than done, right? In my years of experience launching businesses just like yours, I’ve identified 7 things that will help you sustain your brand beyond launch day. The last thing you want is for all your hard work to go up in flames before your brand gets off the ground.
Here are my 7 secrets to brand success.
1. Know your brand message by heart
Sometimes we shy away from repeating what we do for fear of being seen as desperate. Or salesy.
But you shouldn’t let people’s perception of your brand affect the messaging. You’ve lost control the moment you let others dictate your direction.
Your goal is to make the planned brand impression be the same as how other people perceive it. And to do that, you need to be sure of your purpose and what you are here to do.
You’re not just here to make a sale (although I wouldn’t say no to that). You’re here to help your audience. To solve their problems. To make their lives easier.
Now, the disconnect happens when you don’t let people know what your brand stands for. Or worse, if you can’t properly explain what you do and why you do it.
Consider the case of HBO, a giant in the entertainment industry, but a newcomer to the world of streaming. HBO has long been associated with prestige television, but not even that could save them from the confusion that ensued when they came up with not one but three streaming services. They did a poor job of communicating what each service was for, which ended up damaging the HBO brand.
Always remember the one thing you want to be known for, keep your message simple, and beat them in the head with it!
Why? Being consistent with your brand’s philosophy is what makes people believe in your company. Inconsistent messaging makes you look disorganized and unreliable, and your customers can confuse you with your competitors or not recognize you at all.
You need to maintain this consistent “image” in all media at all times. And this goes beyond the visual elements of your brand. Being consistent with your brand message is as important as a cohesive visual identity, if not more.
When people believe your message, they trust you. And when they trust you, they buy from you.
2. Believe in your brand (and yourself)
Let’s be real. It’s not easy to present yourself or your company as something great or unique, especially if you’re just starting out and have doubts about your chances of success.
Fortunately (or unfortunately), healthy self-confidence is a crucial part of brand success. You need to think about how your customers see you and why they see you this way.
People flock towards success or at least the appearance of it. If you come off as confident and successful, you will have an easier time growing your business. On the other hand, a cautious or even defeatist attitude makes it challenging for people to trust your brand.
You also need to determine what makes you different and special.
The world doesn’t need another Facebook or Apple, but if you know you’re better than them at something and can outshine them in that aspect, you need to highlight that every chance you get.
You don’t have to think big to get big. It can be a small thing, like offering better customer support than your competitors or showcasing unique products in your storefront. Simply put: You need to find something unique about your brand and brag about it.
3. Face your doubts head-on
Psychology plays a huge role in your brand’s success. Every entrepreneur has had to grapple with fear and self-doubt, and whether you’re starting a new company or simply launching a new product, you may (and likely will) face many obstacles.
You may have the best game plan in the world, but if you don’t possess the right mindset, you might end up sabotaging yourself.
Just thinking about the obstacles you may encounter can fill you with self-doubt. You may wonder, “Do I have the right skills to solve these issues?” “Will I know what to do right away?” “What if I do the wrong thing and damage my brand?”
These questions are perfectly valid, but you shouldn’t let these things frighten you away from your goals. Take it one step at a time and trust your ability to overcome any issues that may come your way. You’ve already come this far.
You also need to be ready to accept criticism and feedback. A great entrepreneur understands the value of criticism and doesn’t let their fears bring them down. Listen to each one and use the insight to improve your business. It may be tough at first, but it will get better with time.
And don’t look at what others are doing. While research is important, you shouldn’t let your competitors affect your decision-making. Only you know what’s best for your brand and have faith in your instincts.
Even when some people love you, others might even actively dislike you. And there is absolutely nothing you can do about that. You need to face your doubts head-on and keep showing your fans what you stand for and what you believe.
4. Educate your team about your brand
A brand is only as good as its people. You might know the ins and outs of your business, but if your team members don’t know your brand’s mission, the message that you spent weeks or months crafting will not reach the people that need to hear it.
All team members, including outside vendors or contractors, need to know the fundamentals of your brand philosophy, including:
- Your target audience;
- Your brand personality;
- What problems you solve;
- How you want your audience to perceive you;
- Why you do what you do.
Think of your team as messengers of your brand. They are instrumental in spreading your message to your customers. And if each team member feels like they’re a part of the brand, they are more likely to perform better.
Walk into any Apple Store, and you’ll be greeted by an army of Specialists and Geniuses at your beck and call. Not only will they assist you with your Mac or iPhone needs, but they will even answer any question you may have about Apple’s expansive ecosystem. Apple owes its reputation as a reliable and customer-centric brand to its devoted and well-trained staff.
The better your team understands your brand, the better they will deliver consistent service to your customers.
It’s important to have a personality blueprint and brand style guide that everyone can refer to, including yourself. These two documents will help you better clarify your brand to your team and will also serve as a reference for every brand decision you or others will make in the future.
5. Build a community of loyal customers
Loyalty is an essential component of growing a brand. How? Loyal customers buy more, spend more, and return more frequently. They are more likely to rave about your business to others, bringing in more traffic. They are also more tolerant of the occasional missteps and give better feedback.
Loyal customers represent a small fraction of your customer base, but the long-term success of your brand relies on your ability to cultivate a devoted following. Why?
According to the Pareto Principle, 20% of your customer base is responsible for 80% of your sales.
But how do you turn new customers into loyal ones? There is no single path to building lasting loyalty, but all your actions boil down to one thing: trust.
Start by communicating what your brand is about and what it stands for. As I mentioned earlier, being consistent with your brand’s philosophy is what makes people believe in your company. And when people believe in your message, they start trusting you.
You should also strive to provide exceptional service every single time. Customers forget nothing, and a single negative interaction can deter many from going back to your business.
It also helps to show your appreciation to all your customers, not just the loyal ones. For instance, a simple note of thanks with every purchase goes a long way in building a deeper connection with your customers. You can also go for tried-and-tested techniques such as loyalty programs or special offers to get people to return. No one’s going to say no to a discount.
6. Embody your brand
Like it or not, your brand is an extension of yourself. You represent your business, both directly and indirectly. The clothes you wear, the way you speak and carry yourself, and even your mindset say something about your brand.
I’m a big believer in “Practice what you preach.” Just think about how some brands and their creators are similar in so many ways.
Martha Stewart sells us the ideal home life through her many product lines, and she has cultivated an image as a goddess of domestic perfection. Now, I’m not saying you need to change every aspect of your life (or that you need to become a god or goddess), but it helps if your actions and values are aligned with your brand’s philosophy.
When there’s a disconnect between the two, you might find it more difficult to get people to trust your brand.
It could be as simple as redecorating your home office to fit your brand aesthetic. You could even tweak your wardrobe so your brand’s persona is reflected in your appearance. (i.e., Maybe ditch the flannels and ripped jeans if you’re going for a spring florals vibe.)
Most importantly, be the biggest cheerleader your brand can have. You are your brand’s number one supporter, and you owe it to yourself to take advantage of every opportunity that allows you to showcase what your brand is about and what you can offer.
7. Map out your next steps and execute them
So you’ve launched your brand, and business is starting to trickle in. Congratulations! You should be proud of what you’ve created. But it’s not quite time to relax yet. There is still a lot of work left to do.
Ask yourself (or a trusted advisor) about your next steps. There’s always room for improvement, and you could make a few tweaks, or perhaps you could do something that will help your brand get off the ground.
Have you set up your social media accounts? How about writing an email sequence for your subscribers? Have you printed your new collateral? Does your office or store match your brand aesthetic? Have you even set up your background?
Write everything down, organize your action plan, and start executing them. You can even create a roadmap to have an idea of your action items in the next few months.
I believe that half of success is pure psychology, and when you’re building a brand, it’s essential to understand that the person is just as important as the business model.
Believe in your brand, know its message by heart, and embody its core principles. These three things will help you build a tribe of loyal followers that will sustain your business.
And don’t forget to take care of yourself. While it’s not easy to put yourself out there as an entrepreneur, we both know you have what it takes to confront your concerns head-on.
Finally, while planning your roadmap for the (near) future, make sure to listen closely to feedback, educate your team about your brand, and adjust your marketing strategy as you see fit. You want to have a rock-solid foundation before trying new things.
Do you need help with launching your brand? Hop on a discovery call with me.