How To Brand Your Mumpreneur Business

Last week I wrote about why branding is so important in business, even if you’re just running a little business from your kitchen table.

Today I’m reviewing a product that will help you to create your stand-out brand.

That product is called Build a Brand and it’s by Australian-based mumpreneur Karen Gunton.

Karen is a Canadian living in Australia and we got to know each other because her blog Build a Little Biz is just so close to what I’m doing here at Business Plus Baby. (…Except she says “awesome” and “badass”. Somehow that doesn’t sound right coming from a Brit like me and frankly I’m a bit envious!)

Anyway, I’ve loved what Karen does at over a Build a Little Biz since the day I first found her, so I’ve been eagerly anticipating her first product for mumpreneurs.

And I have to say it really is fabulous.

Build a Brand grew out of Karen’s experience of starting her own photography business:

after 2 years of struggling to stand out in the crowd of little mum-run photography businesses i realized that if I was going to be competitive and make money doing what i loved, i needed to get serious about my business and find a way to stand out and look professional.

She decided to start afresh with her brand but had to spend hours trawling the internet and the library searching for what she needed.

i applied the methods of the big corporate identities and adapted the instructions from the online marketing gurus and until i had something that would work for my little, mum-run, at-home business.

To get branding right, you need to understand what’s unique about your product/service, then get that message across in every interaction you have with the outside world – your logo, colour scheme, tagline, business card, Facebook page, the room where you meet your clients, everything.

It’s a tall order but Build a Brand takes you through all the steps beautifully, from making sure you understand what a brand is, to taking you through the creative process of finding your own brand, then deciding on your logo, business name and tagline, to putting it all together into a seamless brand. At the end of the workbook is a practical and detailed checklist of how to implement your brand on your blog, website, business cards, Facebook page, Twitter, email, newsletter and every other place it need to be.

And if you’ve already got a brand that isn’t working for you, there’s advice on whether to change it or refresh it. Plus how to create a buzz around your brand’s launch (or relaunch).

Karen wisely encourages you to get a professional designer to create your logo for you as you can usually spot a hand-made logo a mile away! But working through her steps on logo design will mean you arrive at the designers’ door with a clear idea of what you want, which saves time, hassle and of course money. There’s even a directory of designers where you can get a discount as a buyer of Build a Brand.

(One of the designers in the directory, Kim of Boutique By Design, has just designed the new logo for my Earn What You Deserve as a Mumpreneur e-course and I really recommend her – she was brilliant to work with.)

But what I like most about Build a Brand is that it takes a confusing and complex subject and tells you precisely what you need to know as a busy small business owner. Then it takes you through branding your business in easy-to-follow steps. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by branding, but Build a Brand cuts right through it all, giving you exactly what you need to know and do.

If you’re concerned about Build a Brand being from outside the UK, don’t be. The information inside would apply anywhere in the world and as we’re all heavily reliant on the internet there isn’t that much difference between living in Aberdeen or Adelaide these days. (Kim of Boutique by Design is in Canada, which was actually an advantage as she was working on my logo while I was asleep!) The workbook is an instant electronic download, so there’s no waiting for delivery.

Build a Brand is $67 Australian (about £40 or US$67 at time of writing this post) for the e-workbook, plus you can buy packages that include access to a members-only brand building forum and 1-to-1 coaching too.

That’s a fraction of what a  marketing coach or consultant would cost. And when you think of how much branding mistakes will cost you, both in lost sales and in printing/website design when you have to rebrand later on,  I’d say this is a good investment. And that’s not even counting the time and money you save by using the logo designer directory.

Click here to buy Build a Brand…

(I’ve seen just the workbook, but one look at Karen’s blog or Facebook page shows just how much she knows and is happy to share with other mums in business, so I’ve no doubt at all that her forum and coaching will be top quality).

This post contains affiliate links.

Why Branding Is So Important For Mumpreneurs

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.

This post contains affiliate links.

Creative Commons License photo credit: [nohide]kmroselle[/nohide]

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