Ditch Your Bland Brand

Checkpoint: 

Present Your Brand 

Level:  

years of experience

POST BY

Meghan Maydel

Meghan Maydel is a sales funnel + marketing strategist + CMO-for-Hire for creative biz owners who are looking to finally get consistent with their client + cash flow.

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Nobody goes into biz thinking they want to constantly rebrand. I know I didn’t. And yet, 6 months into my business I had rebranded SIX times. Yep, that’s right. SIX TIMES. Why? I had led several companies through the branding process in my years in corporate America so I definitely knew all the right steps to take. The answer? When you’re your own boss the options are, quite literally, endless. Especially when you’re a creative entrepreneur. We get SO EXCITED by all the possibilities when we get started and way too caught up in the competition that we jump in head first with very little plan as it pertains to our visual brand, never mind any strategy. When I finally took a step back and took myself through my own brand strategy process, I quickly realized the 3 big mistakes I was making and the ones that I see other entrepreneurs making all.the.time

 

Mistake #1: Not knowing yourself or your ideal client + their pain points

 

When I first started out I had an idea of who I wanted to work with, but not a concrete plan and I definitely hadn’t spoken to anyone who fit this imaginary rough idea I had laid out for myself. I was practically winging it with what I thought people might want. This resulted in brand messaging that was all over the place, and a visual brand that didn’t represent me or attract who I really wanted to be spending my time with in my biz.

 

Solution: Take a step back and get to know yourself first. What do you love? What don’t you love? What kinds of things do you want to connect with people over that really light you up? Use those to help you define your ideal client. Put them out there on your website, in your social media posts, put it out there everywhere. Potential ideal clients will start to come to you who care about the same things you do. Listen to what it is they’re struggling with in their biz. Use their pain points to drive your brand position and messaging so that you have a message that resonates, and attracts those who you want to work with most.

 

Mistake #2: Not sharing your story

 

When I got started my brand didn’t reflect my story at all. In fact, most of the time my branding reflected someone else’s story entirely as I tried to turn other people’s success into my own. I would say okay, this successful coach uses lots of florals and talks about popping champagne in the morning and seems to be doing really well so maybe that’s what I should start putting out there too. When in reality, popping champagne in the morning is SO not my style, and flowers are totally not my thing. As humans we LOVE to tell stories and listen to stories. Telling a story creates a strong emotional connection with the reader and the story I was telling was creating the wrong connection with the wrong kind of reader and just creating massive amounts of confusion.

 

Solution: Tell YOUR story, not anyone else’s. What things do you hold dear in your life? What are sayings or experiences you’ve had that made you who you are today? How did you end up on this crazy entrepreneur roller coaster with the rest of us? Make sure you’re putting these stories out there as much as possible and building them into your brand strategy. You will attract people who can relate and connect with you on a whole ‘nother level. Bonus points if you write it just the way you talk for an even deeper connection.

 

Tell YOUR story, not anyone else's. Click To Tweet

 

Mistake #3: Having a visual brand that isn’t rooted in who you are

 

Since I was busy trying to figure out everyone else’s “key to success” with their stories and ideal clients and whatnot, my visual branding definitely wasn’t working either. There was nothing there to tie it all together and have it make sense with who I was or my story so I created each and every visual on-the-fly. Talk about creating confusion in the marketplace! One day I would use one kind of visual and hope it worked, the next would be something entirely different and neither had anything to do with who I really was or what I really wanted to be saying in my biz. Whoops!

 

Solution: Create nothing without a mood board in place first. Mood boards are a godsend! They give you an overall vibe for your biz so that everything you do moving forward visually is cohesive and consistent which is key in gaining momentum for your brand. To create a mood board start by collecting a minimum of 30 images that you feel reflect your story, your personality, the way you want your clients to FEEL when they interact with your brand. These can be images of landscapes, living rooms, textures, people…anything and everything. Slowly begin to pare your collection of images down into 5-7 images that you feel really truly fit together and represent YOU. These images when put together will give you that awesome butterfly feeling in your gut. From this collection of images you can pull your brand’s color palette, fonts, and decide which type of imagery and tone of voice you need to be putting out there in the future. Play around with what works best for you. Once you decide on something however, stick with it. Remember, being cohesive is key!

 

Don't just jump in head first, have a plan for your overall brand! Click To Tweet

 

If you’re reading the above and still aren’t sure where to start, start small. Start small, and the bigger changes will come. Start by writing out your stories if that comes easiest and simply share them in your favorite Facebook groups. If visuals are more appealing to you, begin with your mood board. Or just get to know yourself first. I promise, you’ll love who you find and the brand that you create in the process.

Did you kick-off your own brand by making any of these mistakes? Tell me how you plan on working towards a more cohesive brand in the comments.

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15 Comments

  1. Becky Mollenkamp on 02/09/2016 at 11:32 am

    I can really relate to this. Great information. I’ve always thought about rebranding with some fun business name, but I’ve always used my own name and it helps me stay true to myself. Sometimes I worry it holds me back from growing into something bigger or from having people take me more seriously as a “business” and not just a “freelancer,” but in the end, I want to work with businesses who like me for me. Authenticity is key. Thank you for sharing this!

    • Heather Crabtree on 02/09/2016 at 5:53 pm

      Becky,
      Yes, you have to be true to yourself and do what feels right for you 🙂

      Heather

    • Meghan Maydel on 02/12/2016 at 4:50 pm

      You are so right, Becky. Authenticity is key! And I would argue that naming your biz after yourself allows room for it to grow and evolve as you grow 😉 Thanks for reading!

  2. Alexa B. on 02/09/2016 at 11:56 am

    I launched my business in January….and have recently realized I missed a lot of these steps. I’m not behind-the-scenes working on these and hoping to get it right. But I want to take the time and put the effort into checking off all of these things! Great post!

    • Heather Crabtree on 02/09/2016 at 5:52 pm

      Alexa,
      Yes, the time and effort will pay off!

      Heather

    • Meghan Maydel on 02/12/2016 at 4:51 pm

      Like Heather said, it will all pay off Alexa! Once everything starts to jive together…its crazy how everything just starts to flow. Thanks for reading!

  3. Mary Harr on 02/09/2016 at 11:58 am

    I have done all three and thankfully meghan helped me focus on the message while putting together my mood board. MEGHAN YOU ARE A ROCK STAR.

    • Heather Crabtree on 02/09/2016 at 5:51 pm

      Mary,
      Yes, Meghan IS a rockstar! I am so happy that she was able to help you!

      Heather

    • Meghan Maydel on 02/12/2016 at 4:52 pm

      Yes! I am so excited to see the direction you start to take this all in Mary. YOU’RE A ROCKSTAR! Thanks for reading <3

  4. Jodi Brandon on 02/09/2016 at 2:20 pm

    Great post, Meghan. Love the advice to start small. I was so overwhelmed by trying to figure everything out at once when I first started that it blew up in my face and I ended up accomplishing nothing of value. Great advice in this post!!

    • Heather Crabtree on 02/09/2016 at 5:51 pm

      Yes, it is so easy to get overwhelmed. Starting small is such great advice from Meghan!

      Heather

    • Meghan Maydel on 02/12/2016 at 4:54 pm

      The overwhelm struggle is SO REAL. I’m glad you were able to adjust your sails. It took awhile, but I finally realized its all the little steps that make up the big stuff. Thanks for reading!

  5. Marie on 02/09/2016 at 3:09 pm

    These are fantastic tips! I’m off to make a mood board now!

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