Let me tell you a story…
Julie makes blankets for babies. Not just any old blankets, but beautiful, soft, hand-knitted ones. Each one is unique and carefully knitted to order. The reason Julie started her business is because her friends loved the blankets Julie knitted for her baby so much they wanted to buy one for their own babies.
So Julie set up shop on Ebay and Folksy. She priced her blankets at a little bit more than you would pay for mass-produced, factory made ones. Julie reckoned that people would pay that bit extra for one that is hand made. The problem was that once she took into account the cost of wool, postage and packing, Julie was only earning a couple of pounds an hour. She could earn at least double that much stacking shelves in her local supermarket.
There had to be a better way.
So here’s what Julie did. She folded each baby blanket carefully and wrapped it coloured tissue paper, then placed it in a white gift box. In the box she placed a card saying “Congratulations on your new baby from…” or “A gift for you from…” depending on what her customer had asked for. (The cards had been professionally printed with her new logo on top quality card). She then tied the box carefully with a matching ribbon and label.
She took photos of the blankets and gift boxes so visitors to her Folksy page could see the love Julie put into each. She’d worked with a graphic designer (…this hadn’t cost anything like as much as she first thought because her designer was also a mum working from home…) to create her logo and colour scheme for the cards and labels.
Julie used her new logo and colour scheme to customise her Folksy page. Then her Facebook page. She dropped eBay because she no longer needed to compete on price.
Now Julie had a brand. A brand that reflected the care and attention that she put into each blanket. A brand that told the world that her blankets were in a different class to the ones you could buy in any baby superstore.
A brand that meant she could could charge double what she did before.
You need a brand. Even if you’re running the smallest of kitchen-table businesses.
OK, so what is a brand?
It’s the message your business communicates to the rest of the world.
And here’s why it’s tricky to get branding right if you’re a one-person business…
Much of the advice out there is about big company branding. And big company branding is completely different from what you need as a one-woman business.
The big guys are faceless corporations that need to go out and find a personality. As a little gal, you already have a personality – your challenge is to draw it out. And if you’re too modest you might need to give that personality a boost too.
Why is this so hard? Well, we’re all to close to our businesses to see them objectively. It’s tough to ‘big up’ your business’s strengths if you can’t tell where you end and your business begins.
Here’s how you could be getting your branding wrong…
- Like Julie, if you don’t have a strong brand, you don’t stand out from all the other businesses out there. You’re unremarkable, perhaps even forgettable.
- If the brand doesn’t fit what you do the world doesn’t quite get where you’re coming from (or maybe it just doesn’t believe you?) Perhaps you’re trying to be like a big company and have nailed a brand onto your business instead of teasing it out from within? Maybe you’re trying to be the same as your competitors when you need to focus on being yourself?
- If you think you’ve got your branding sorted because you’ve got a fab logo, think again. Branding includes your logo, colour scheme, fonts, photo, business card, tagline, website, customer service, marketing materials, conversations you have a networking meetings, all your updates on Facebook and Twitter. Every interaction your business has with the outside world, in fact. It can be tough to get all that working together as a seamless whole if you’re just one person with a million other things to do.
In my next post, I review a product – designed specifically for mumpreneurs – that will help you build your brand.
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