You’ve started a business! You may offer a service, a product, or some combination of both. You believe in your offering and are ready to share it with the world. Now the question is: how do you find your customers or clients?
One of the first steps is to define your brand personality so that you connect with your appropriate audience and potential customers. It covers how your audience feels emotionally about your brand and the types of characteristics it conveys. Making these connections will not only draw in customers or clients, it will make them loyal and eager to share it with their circles.
Defining a personality can be tricky when you are a solopreneur, because often you are your brand and it can be hard to separate yourself from your business. You may love the color green, eating pizza, and sharing bad puns, but will posting about these things all day help people connect enough to buy your product or service? You’ll need to go deeper. The unique characteristics of your business are what make you different from competitors x, y, and z, you want to express the things that will attract your people.
Where do you begin? Answer these questions to start narrowing on your unique brand personality!
What is your brand’s mission or core values?
This is something larger than simply setting a measurable goal; it is the heart and soul of why your business exists. Who do you want to help? What industry do you want to shake up? Why are you passionate about what you offer? For example, if your new bakery makes only gluten-free items, this value will connect you with a specific group who want that characteristic in their bakery.
Who are the people who I want as clients or customers?
Understanding your target market is key. It’s impossible to build something that will attract and satisfy absolutely everyone, so there is no use trying. The more specific you can get, the better. For example, defining your target audience as females, ages 25-39, who are single and work in a professional field is much more helpful than trying to reach simply “young adults.” You’ll know that anything juvenile or masculine won’t help attract that audience, which will change the visuals and language you select.
What words do I want people to associate with my brand?
Perhaps you want to be an authority, professional, and trustworthy. Maybe your adjectives are energetic, encouraging, and delightful. Knowing how you want your brand to be perceived will help in all steps of your business, including visuals like your logo, website, and collateral design, as well as copywriting and tone of your correspondence.
What about my business makes me different from my peers?
I hate to say competition since I believe there is enough business for all of us, but it’s important to be able to articulate why someone should choose you over another business they are considering. What about your perspective is unique and exciting? Do you offer something unusual in your process that can really benefit your customers? It’s important to study your competition as well so that you aren’t a carbon copy of another business. For example, if you come out with a new cola that comes in a red can with some cool script lettering, you’ll look just like Coca Cola. Not innovative!
Think about your business in a new way:
Try exercises to help you get a picture. Ask questions like: If your brand was a car, which model would it be? (A Buick would indicate classic and trustworthy, or a Fiat would say hip and bold.) If your brand was an animal, which one would it be? (A golden retriever would be loyal and friendly, or a cheetah would be a go-getter with sass.) If your brand had a celebrity spokesperson, who would fit the bill? (Choosing Katy Perry versus Hilary Clinton would indicate a very different personality type!)
There is no right or wrong answer when defining your brand personality. Having a strong sense of its traits will help you in every decision-making process of your business, and it will truly create something memorable for your customers.
About the author: Laura is a graphic designer who loves working with small, creative businesses to build thoughtful brands at her studio, Dotted Design.