When it comes to establishing a small business brand, it’s less about your marketing budget and more about the message design decisions you make. In fact, your initial and most important marketing efforts cost time (not cash — that comes after you have a strategy).
Every personal and small business brand begins with a story. And effective marketing hinges on your ability to do three things with that story:
- discover the people who need and want to hear your story,
- design your message to share the core elements of your story regardless of time constraints, and
- deliver your story in a manner that honors that core message.
The better you are at understanding those three, the better your branding efforts. Problem is most business owners dive into marketing without identifying the fundamentals. And it’s difficult to market a message that you barely understand.
Below are three common story-based mistakes that personal and small business brands make. Check them out and see if any of these are impacting your brand. After all, it’s hard to address an issue that you don’t know is there — that’s like trying to fight a ghost.
Weak Message Design
What are you trying to say? Truth is — if you can’t find your words, most of your audience is not going to figure it out. To be effective with your brand strategy you have to get clear about your audience, your product and the story that your audience needs and wants to hear about your product. There is no way around
- identifying your target audience,
- listening to how they talk and the problems they have,
- creating a solution to meet their needs, and then
- telling the story of that solution in a style that captures their attention.
Gritty Writer is about step #4 in that process, but you can’t get to the story without the other parts. And if you just skip ahead — because you’re in charge and you can — then you’ll probably end up with a weak message. But that’s not the only issue.
Big Brand Wannabees
In fact, don’t try to copy cat a big brand (or any brand for that matter). You can’t keep up. You don’t have the budget to keep up. Besides it kills your authentic message when you try to become something that you’re not.
But you can extract.
Pull out your syringe. Stick it into the heart of any strategy. And extract the elements that fit your small business brand. For example, you don’t need the big BMW commercials, but like them you need an effective tagline, as in — a crystal clear message about what your brand can do for your people. But wannabes and copycats are not the only small business brand issues on the table.
Let’s quit with the one-off efforts. You may not have the time or the budget to focus on marketing seven days a week, but you can put two hours a week into your message design strategy.
As Dr. Mike Murdock, author of 101 Wisdom Keys, puts it
“habit is more powerful than desire.”
Just because you want something doesn’t mean you’ll receive it. It’s your habits that’ll turn it into a reality. Developing your brand message is no different. Consistency pays off.
To get your message design strategy on the right track, be clear, be authentic, be consistent.