How to build an Authentic Brand? Don't know where to start Branding? Start Here! Cold Hard Truth Nobody talks about!

How to build an Authentic Brand? Don’t know where to start Branding? Start Here! Cold Hard Truth Nobody talks about!

Your ‘Brand’ is not your logo, colour palette, visual identity, products and services, trademarks, patents, shelf space, billboards, packaging etc. but it is every possible interaction you could have with your potential and existing customers/stakeholders and how you make them feel in each of those from smallest to greatest. Your brand is the sum total of all the experiences, perceptions, expectations, memories and stories they associate with your business and hence branding is how you influence the above.

“People will forget what you said, forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

— Maya Angelou.

A lot of so-called Branding Experts would tell you to start branding by “Identifying your audience” but that’s not how you build a genuine and memorable brand. All true things come from within, from an inner reflection and so does a brand that makes a difference to the world! Hence I insist you start with honesty, sincerity, authenticity and self-reflection! How you perceive yourself in your head/s corresponds directly to how you represent yourself in the world!

Don’t be Freaking Neutral!

A brand isn’t supposed to be neutral. It isn’t supposed to be altruistic but it’s definitely some-truistic. It’s definitely about providing value but it is much more than that. It is about caring for some “issue”, representing some “ideal”, serving some “people” very very deeply like no one else can!

How to build an Authentic Brand? Don't know where to start Branding? Start Here! Cold Hard Truth Nobody talks about!

“If no one hates it, no one really loves it.”

– Jessica Walsh

Don’t be a people pleaser, don’t be distracted by ways to make a quick buck or by trying to capitalise on recent trends and whatever you do but don’t be just another commodity. Discover your personality, Distinguish yourself, Stand out from the crowd, and find something you genuinely care about!

Ask These Questions:

  1. Why is this important to me/us?
  2. What makes this particular pain point more important than the rest?
  3. Am I really passionate about this?
  4. Do I really care about serving this particular group of people or it’s just another payday?
  5. How does this business enterprise contribute to the greater good?
  6. Some personal questions like: Am I a Windows person or a Mac person? Do I like to work in a sunlit office with bright colours or in a dark room with cool neon lights? If you’re a very “hip” individual then the last thing you want to do is work with someone super corporate!

Don’t be neutral! Nobody really loves elevator music! They can tolerate it but they don’t identify with it, they don’t dance, laugh or cry to it. It’s just another background noise!

Branding Starts with Authenticity — Be a Unicorn

And although this intention is intangible when a company communicates this intention with clarity and sincerity in every single possible interaction and decision it makes, the XYZ company is now a brand. Now people start identifying with it, they have stories and expectations.

For example, if I told you Apple is going to come up with a series of deodorants it is not difficult to have some anticipation in mind, some vision of how it would be packaged or who would it be for, you could immediately feel something which is quite abstract yet very real whereas if I told you Unilever is going to come up with a new laptop, you have no freaking idea what it’s gonna be like, you have no expectations because Apple has a brand, Unilever has a logo, billboards, adverts and shelf spaces.

So then the easiest way to start establishing yourself as a brand is by being Authentic.

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”

― Brene Brown

Authenticity will take your Brand to places no technology, funnels or algorithms can.

Being authentic requires acceptance of vulnerability, transparency and integrity. Being authentic makes us fearless, it keeps us going when everyone else stops.

Authenticity requires no pretence.

After all, we can fake genuine care and concern only for so long. If you ever feel tempted to be inauthentic, think of those politicians you despise and you’ll be back on track.

Authenticity makes the Brand Integral and Genuine.

In this day and age, it only takes one viral video from a dissatisfied customer and employee to unmask one and sink the business.

What are your thoughts on branding and being Authentic? Let me know in the comments below. If you enjoyed the post then do share it with your fellow entrepreneurs and loved ones, after all, sharing is caring.

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4Ps of Marketing

4Ps of Marketing are basic framework that helps you to Position Your Product or Service within the market

The 4Ps of Marketing synchronises the product, the price, the place, and the promotion when a product or service is to be launched into the market. It was created by Neil Borden in the 1950s to illustrate the ways companies use advertising and marketing techniques to convert potential buyers into paying customers.

The four Ps stand for:

  1. Product
  2. Price
  3. Promotion
  4. Place

Product

Product refers to the good/s and service/s you offer. What needs does this product satisfy? What pain points or frustrations does it address? What is your value proposition? What makes it compelling to customers? What are the key features? How does this product affect your brand?

Keywords:

Product

Features

Brand

Packaging

Price

Price is the monetary sum customers are willing to pay for a product or service and it takes into account the cost of production. What is the value of the product or service to customers? Are there established price points for this product or service in the market? How will this price compare with competitors? Do you provide financing options?

Keywords:

Price

Discounts

Bundling deals

Credit terms

Promotion

Promotion is how you will get the word out about your product or service to your target customers. It includes advertising, public relations, and promotional strategies.

Keywords:

Ads

PR

Social Media

Influencers

website

SEO

Email

Video

Place

Place refers to how and where your customers will be able to see your product or service. It also considers how you will deliver the product or service to them. Will it be in a physical store or online? What will be the distribution channels?

Keywords:

Stores

Dealerships

Franchisees

Online Marketplace

Affiliates

If you liked this post then leave a comment and share it with your fellow entrepreneurs and loved ones. Sharing is caring 😊.

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Your 1000 True Fans (or just 💯 ?)

The ability to influence people without irritating them is the most profitable skill you can learn.

Napoleon Hill

A thousand true fans is all you need out of nearly 8 billion people in the world

The problem with most entrepreneurs and startups is that they want the internet but they want the whole of it. They try to replicate or reinvent models of companies like Facebook, Apple, Google etc. But these are outliers and they were able to capture that market size because the internet was a relatively new thing.

Now internet is relatively mature and even such corporations are having trouble retaining users. But this is not something to be disappointed about, no one can have the whole of the internet but everyone can have a little piece of it, and even a little piece is big enough for most individuals and companies. Think about it? If you could make around $100,000 doing the thing you love to do, how would you feel? And 1000 true fans is the way you do it, it is feasible and hundreds of thousands of individuals have done it.

To be clear this is a standalone article however it continues and builds upon the things I’ve shared in some of my previous articles, particularly How to build an Authentic Brand? and Caring is the best marketing strategy. So if you are really interested in this topic and need deeper insights into this post go and check those articles too.

When we put the needs of people first and show them our real authentic self, people can see us for who we are and when we share our story, they relate to it and even become encouraged to tell their story. That builds a bond, that builds influence. And when people know us, some of them love us (not all but that’s good know why?) and when they do they’d do anything for us. And we just have to ask. We just need a thousand people who genuinely love our work or personality in the world of nearly 8 billion people

It’s scary when we have expectations and responsibilities on our shoulders. But it’s the only way to get paid for doing what we love and would secretly do for free anyway. So wouldn’t it be amazing to get paid for that?

If you want to help others and become a person of influence, keep smiling, sharing, giving, and turning the other cheek.

John C Maxwell

When we genuinely care about people, people genuinely care about us.

More than a decade ago, Wired editor Kevin Kelly wrote an essay called “1,000 True Fans,” predicting that the internet would allow large swaths of people to make a living off their creations, whether an artist, musician, author, or entrepreneur.

To be a successful creator you don’t need millions. You don’t need millions of dollars or millions of customers, millions of clients or millions of fans. To make a living as a craftsperson, photographer, musician, designer, author, animator, app maker, entrepreneur, or inventor you need only thousands of true fans.

Kevin Kelly

Rather than pursuing widespread celebrity status, he argued, creators only needed to engage a modest base of “true fans”—those who will “buy anything you produce”—to the tune of $100 per fan, per year (for a total annual income of $1,00,000). I believe that $1,00,000 is a very comfortable living for most people especially if you earn that while doing what you love. By embracing online networks, he believed creators could bypass traditional gatekeepers and middlemen, get paid directly by a smaller base of fans, and live comfortably off the spoils.

However, in reality, the maths of this isn’t this straightforward and that’s for good. This is why, if you leverage the concept of value ladder and create an end to end product ecosystem then you could actually make the conversion from fans to customers much more gradual and non-linear.

This means you have different segments of consumers, firstly there are those who simply consume your content, a second group could be those who are still testing the waters, the like you but may not pay you $100 per year and then you have people just what you do so much that who might be willing to pay more than $100 say $500 or even $1000 if you could provide them with some value.

Then you don’t even need 1000 True Fans. You could do with just 100 True Fans and on top of that you might have a few dozen who like you and would spend a modest amount to support you and they’re already ready to become the True Fans if you underprice and over-deliver just one product. I will soon publish an article on this so stay tuned!

What are your thoughts on this post? Let me know in the comments below. If you enjoyed the post then do share it with your loved ones, after all, sharing is caring.

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Web Design as Storytelling

Web Design as Story Telling | UX UI Web Design Inspiration Video

I first started working on this video in 2020. And I kept improving the production quality, especially the voiceover with minor edits to the writing. Initially, I thought I was going to inspire someone new to design but last several months this video has kept me inspired through various aspects of life including design but not limited to that and that’s why I am sharing this here 😊