The thing about getting your voice heard is that missed opportunities to deliver a powerful brand message tend to land like generic chocolate chip cookies next to a bag of Chips Ahoy!.
With that said, there’s no doubt about the importance of knowing your unique value proposition, especially when you’re in a competitive service-based industry. Otherwise, you’ll solely be judged based on familiarity and not expertise or value. (I talk more about messaging in Edition 2 in case you missed it, hint hint!).
Communicating your value is an ongoing process because it’s all about reinforcing your message over and over again like how we all knew Celine Dion’s’ heart would go on when the movie Titanic was out in the 90s (Damn you Rose for letting go of Jack!).
I think we can all agree that hiding in our corner of the Internet hoping clients will bump into us is not a good strategy, right? So let’s focus on getting your refined message “out there.”
This is where your brand voice comes into play. It’s what attracts ideal clients and business opportunities.
Let’s say you’re on the dating scene and go to the bar, church (or wherever you look for love), and you spot someone who is exactly your type.
You straighten out your clothes, change your posture, and do a breath check. Now, it’s time to make your move.
What do you say?
Do the words that come out your mouth sound like you? Someone you admire? Or, maybe, out of nowhere does, “So, what’s your sign?” come out of thin air because it’s the first thing that comes to mind?
If we’re not clear on our defined voice, we could come off like the awkward person going around asking people what’s their sign to kick off conversations. Not cool or effective.
So, what’s the best way to connect with people you want to attract? By being yourself. (Yup, I went there.)
Authenticity Will Never Go Out Of Style
I know the word “authentic” is all the buzz these days, but there’s something to it as simple and cliché as It sounds. After all, it’s been the key to success since kindergarten when you got awarded for being a genuine kid all the teachers and students liked.
When it comes to business, we want to attract clients who like us for who we are, not who we’re pretending to be. If you imitate your favorite entrepreneur or the “cool kids,” it won’t take you far because you’re a replica of someone else.
We’ve all been there where we’ll admire someone who appears to effortlessly sell and write, and it’s like, “Ooh, I want to be like her!” Then you go on the path to “find” your voice and think it’s lost or broken because it doesn’t sound as natural as said person you admire.
This is where imposter syndrome rears its ugly head, but you don’t have to give it power over your next steps. Instead of manufacturing ways to appear likable, be likable and align this with ways to engage with your target audience.
How do you do that? Start with the following:
- Write down four brand attributes that you think are your strongest.
- Look to what past clients have said they love about working with you.
- Ask your friends and family what they think are your most compelling traits.
- Reconcile this feedback with your brand messaging and positioning.
Use this information to define your brand voice and share captivating stories that are true to your personality and business objectives—this is your brand story.
Don’t Throw Out Your Past With The Bath Water
Now, what if you don’t think there’s anything special about your story? I would say this: Dig deeper into what motivates you every single day.
Usually, there’s a series of events that led you to where you are today. I can’t tell you how many entrepreneurs that I know that are former lawyers, nurses, phycologists, assistants, teachers, or corporate managers.
You name it, there is something that someone used to do before starting their business.
I started my career in corporate as a technical writer and trainer over 15 years ago and still pull from experiences in my past.
My path to entrepreneurship was bumpy as hell and not always filled with the best experiences, but it gave me plenty of stories to tell. In fact, my first book From Nine to Thrive is a compilation of lessons from my past experiences just as it is a personal branding guide.
You see, your past is a part of your story. Pull from your wins, losses, and struggles. Use them to show why you’re an expert in your industry. Use these stories to spread your brand message and connect with people who are going through the same thing.
Show that you’re human too.
Making It All Add Up
Ultimately, when your “people” (aka target market) find you, they should stalk you and immediately feel like they’ve found someone who they know, like, and trust.
They should bookmark your website, subscribe to your list, follow you online, and eagerly take out their credit card to buy whatever it is you’re selling because you talk their language.
So, really, it all comes down to how effective we are with getting our brand message across to the right people.
Is your voice engraved in your website copy, About page, blogs, social media posts, and elevator pitch like initials carved into a tree? Hopefully, this 3-part series helped you identify opportunities to fine-tune your message.
If you go through a rebrand, remember this: Behind every successful brand is heart and soul.
Your “story” is the heart. Your “message” is the soul. No matter what you do, make sure there’s a place for both in your business.
Links to Series:
Latest posts by Marietta Gentles Crawford (see all)
- Self-Promotion vs. Personal Branding - July 17, 2018
- What I Learned About Information Overload - July 10, 2018
- Behind the Rebrand – Edition #3: Your Message + Your Story = Your Voice - June 27, 2018