At this point, you should have decided what type of business to start. You should have your customer avatar filled out in the worksheet you downloaded in the last lesson. Finally, you should have your pricing figured out. Now it’s time to start getting into the fun stuff.
Heidi Cohen of Riverside Marketing Strategies has a great blog post on her website with 30 different definitions of what a brand is. I found #19 to be the easiest to understand. “Branding is the representation of your organization as a personality. Branding is who you are that differentiates you.” – Dave Kerpen
To put it another way, branding is basically the perception the public has of your business. What makes you stand out from other businesses like yours?
The answer is, you can’t. But what you can do is craft the message right from the start of your business that you want your customers to get. You craft the message and then keep that message front and center in the public’s mind. You can show it in many different ways, including your company name, slogan, your marketing materials, and your voice. Not your physical voice of course, but the words you use to discuss your business in person and through your flyers, business cards, website or other marketing material. Everything you do in your business should center around this message.
Craft your Message
It’s important for you to inject your personality into your business and branding is the way to do it. So let’s start crafting your brand message. There are two questions you can ask yourself to help you determine your message.
- What are you good at?
In the first post in this series, you wrote down a (hopefully) long list of your hobbies, talents and skills to help you decide what type of business to start. Keep that list handy because in the next post, we are going to talk about how you can use those things to put a little YOU into your business.
- What do people compliment you on?
Okay, I’m not talking about your straight A’s in school or your lacrosse excellence. I’m talking about personality traits. What do people say they like about you? Maybe you’re really honest. Maybe you are ambitious, always trying to find a way to make some spare money. Maybe you are a hardworker. Pull out that old notebook again and start listing anything you can think of that you get complimented on. When I was a teenager, I always carried a dictionary with me because I read A LOT and when I came across a word I didn’t know, I would look it up. I remember the first time my Aunt saw me reading and I paused to look up a word. She was so excited and told me that I was a “curious cat.” Okay, at the time, I rolled my eyes, but it did make me feel special. Since then I have always described myself as curious and have become a lifelong learner because of what she said.
- But I can’t think of anything?
Sometimes when we are racking our brain for answers, we come up dry. That’s okay. Here’s a BONUS TIP for you. If you can’t think of anything, go find your BFF. Ask your BFF what they like most about you. Don’t worry, they are your best friends, they won’t judge you.
Okay, so take some time in the next few days and think on all this. If you think of more things, pull out your notebook and add them to the list. Next time, I’m going to show you how to incorporate your personality (your BRAND) into your business!
In the next post in the Teen Business Launch Series, we will be getting into what I think is the fun part. Incorporating Your Brand Into Your Business! You’ll be naming your business, coming up with a tagline that targets your ideal customer, develop an elevator pitch,and your logo. We’ll also be working on marketing materials in the coming week (with a few surprise FREEBIES!)