When building your brand, either as a corporation or an individual entrepreneur, author or speaker, it can be hard to know where to start. There is a sea of brands online talking about similar topics as you are — your competitors. It can feel like you can’t possibly stand out among the crowd.
But the true differentiator for a brand is what so many business-focused entrepreneurs forget about: Your heart.
And while this sounds fluffy and seemingly irrelevant to business growth, it’s not. Why, you ask?
Because people connect with people.
People feel more invested in a business when they know the person behind it. If you’re in sales you know we all buy on our emotions and rationalize later, so mission-driven branding is how you can systematize this.
Here are the five steps you can take to start building YOUR mission-driven brand:
#1 Identify your core values and beliefs
The first part of building an authentic brand that will last (rather than something you change every year) is first understanding yourself and what you really care about.
What is important to you in life? What gets you out of bed in the morning? What keeps you motivated when times are tough?
After some hard thinking, you should be able to boil these down to a few key words. Protip: search up “core values list” on Google if you need some inspiration.
#2 Craft a mission statement
This step is when you take the rough notes about core values and your “why” and make them pretty. And YES this still applies to personal brands!
A mission statement is one to two sentences about who you are, what you do and why you do it.
This is something that should be on your website above your long-form bio to give people quick insight into your brand and purpose.
#3 Understand your audience better than anyone else
Here’s where things get interesting. When it comes to branding, it’s easy to feel like it’s all about you. But it isn’t.
It’s all about who that branding is going to be portrayed to and understanding why they would ever engage with you. Skipping this step can lead to a lot of head-scratching and killed ego when your posts don’t get any likes on the content you spent so much time on.
So where do you start with understanding your audience? First, you reflect on what you already know about your audience.
- What are the top three questions new clients typically ask you?
- What are the topics that take the longest to explain during the onboarding process?
- What are new clients most excited about when it comes to your services?
After this initial reflection, start expanding:
- Search topics on Google you think your audience may be interested in and analyze the top content.
- Do a social media listening exercise. Look at top influencers and businesses in your field and see what their audience (who you’d like to gain) typically asks.
- Create a survey or quiz to collect feedback and data from a wide audience
#4 Create unique content that speaks directly to your audience
Now that you have a list of pain points, desires and values from your audience, start creating high-value content that addresses them. This can be in the form of blog, podcast or social media content.
Top questions prospective clients typically ask = A blog post about the top myths in your industry
Concepts that take a long time for prospective clients to understand = A “Topic 101” style blog post about that concept and its importance
Things that excite prospective clients = Quick social media posts connecting their dreams to your industry or business specifically
#5 Engage with your audience
Here’s the step that most entrepreneurs forget or underestimate. Once you hit “post” on your latest piece of content, it’s not time to sit back, it’s time to interact.
Engaging with those that comment on your posts is the bare minimum you need to grow your brand, but it also helps to engage with others.
It’s the Law of Reciprocity: People give to people who give to them. Social media users engage with those who engage with them.
Now, we’re not saying to spend your whole life scrolling through social media! Instead, schedule a few 15-20 minute blocks throughout your week (at least once) to open the app to see what people are talking about and chime in where you can.
Overall, mission-driven branding isn’t rocket science. It’s authentically living out your values — used as a tool to connect with others and grow your business.
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