Why Your Branding is Boring, and How to Fix It

Branding | Online Branding
My Facebook news feed is overwhelmingly red right now. A good portion of my friends have changed their profile pictures to a red version of the Human Rights Campaign logo.

What I find interesting about this is that there isn’t any discussion about “why” people are doing this, or what it means. Everyone that’s even mildly connected with the issue knows the Supreme Court is considering equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, and the red HRC logo is a show of support for such rights.

So nothing has to be said. You see the logo, and you immediately feel a certain way (depending on your views). You see the logo, and certain words come to your mind ~ civil rights, equality, gay marriage.

How’s Your Branding Compare to the HRC?

I know, your brand probably isn’t as widespread and popular (yet!) as the Human Rights Campaign. But comparing your branding to the HRC is not a stretch. While your audience may be significantly smaller, you still want them to feel a certain something when they see you online.

Be honest with yourself, what do they feel now when they see your face or your logo online? Unfortunately, it’s probably something close to indifference. If you surveyed people on what words come to their mind when they see your face or your logo, they would probably struggle to come up with any.

The reason behind this is that you’ve been concentrating on looking good online, without thinking about how to get your online visitors to feel good about you. As a consequence, your audience might like the way you look, and yet have no real feelings about you and your business.

We all remember that guy or gal in high school who looked good, but didn’t have much else to their credit once you got to know them. This is exactly what you want your online business not to be. So, it’s time to make sure that your audience is getting the feeling you want them to get once they get past how nice your website looks.

How to Fix Your Branding

In three easy steps, you can take your online look and turn it into an online feel.

1. Get Clear on Your Message

What’s the HRC’s message? Basically, “We are dedicated to fighting for equal rights for all LGBT people.” Can you state your message that clearly and succinctly?

If your answer is “no,” it’s okay. You are not alone. I would say most online business owners aren’t clear on what their brand message is.

You’ll need to spend some time on this one. You’ve probably spent time coming up with an answer to the question, “What do you do?” Hopefully, you have your “elevator speech” for that one. But this is a very different question. To get clear on your message, answer these questions:

  • How do I want to make my audience feel when they’re on my website, reading my blog, watching my videos?
  • What 3 words or phrases do I want to come to my website visitor’s mind?
  • What outcome do I want for those who take my advice and who buy my stuff?

Brainstorm these three questions on a piece of paper, and craft your brand message from your answers.

2. Tell Your Audience What Message You’re Sending Them

This may seem obvious, but it’s widely overlooked. Again, we’re too focused on what we do. I’m a web designer, a social media strategist, a life coach. Great. But what does that do for your audience? Share your brand message with them so they will see how what you do can make their life better.

The best way to get your audience to feel a certain way about you is to start by telling them how you want them to feel. A great way to do this is through your mission statement. It should be short, and to the point. The HRC’s mission statement is a good example:

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

You can also do it through a welcome video on your website, a part of your “About” page, or the tagline of your business. The point is to be bold about it. Don’t leave it to your audience to figure out. Telling them how you want to make them feel is the first step to making them feel that way.

3.  Consistently Embrace that Message in Your Stories

Of course telling them is only the beginning. Saying you’re the number one resource for natural health solutions that keep you feeling young, energized and gorgeous sounds great. But if you show ads for botox and McDonalds in your sidebar, your visitors aren’t going to be feeling your intended message.

Live your message in everything you do in your online business. From your logos and tag lines in your physical branding, to your promotions and partnerships with other businesses, to the stories you tell in your blog posts. Repeat your message in your mind, and ask yourself if what you’re about to put out there is consistent with that message. Then do it only if the answer is a resounding “yes!”

You will find that the more you put your intended brand message out there, the more people and opportunities to promote that message you’ll see coming your way. It’s that “like attracts like” principle.

Are you clear on your message? If so, how did you get there? If not, what are you going to do about it now? Please share your thoughts and advice in the comments below.

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