Tag: Brand Storytelling

#AuthenticallyAuthentic – How to Develop Authentic Messaging for Your Brand



As small business owners, we spend a lot of time and energy building our businesses and building our brands. When developing a persona for our business, we can get caught up in the process and overlook many of the reasons we started a company in the first place. Businesses forget to be authentic and true to their roots and mission. Customers buy from people they trust, not brick and mortar establishments. This is why authenticity is so essential as a branding strategy. Understanding this concept is not the same as putting it into action, so we’ve created a simply step-by-step process for building authentic messaging.
What Is Your Message?
This goes beyond a mission statement and a plague on the wall. In order to be trustworthy, you have to really understand your purpose and be able to share that with others. What is your reason for existence? If it’s only to make money – your clients will sense that and move on to another business with a greater purpose and reason for existence. This goes back to providing solutions to problems and resolving pain points instead of simply meeting a bottom line.
Understand Your Value
Where many solopreneurs go wrong is by not determining, and then focusing on, their own value. Stop pushing the product or service so hard that you forget to showcase what you really bring to the table. There is no way to convince a potential client of your worth if you do not own your own value. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will either.
Understand Your Competition
Get a feel for your competition, their online presence and what they are offering to your audience. More than just price or packages, what really motivates clients to work with them? What makes them stand out, makes them different? Then make sure, coming from a place of authenticity and being true to your purpose, that you are speaking to the same audience in a way that resonates for both you and for them. Mirroring the work of another isn’t genuine in any way and people will be more likely to respond to a fresh approach and story that resounds. Than a carbon copy of someone else’s ideas.
Draft Your Story
Got a handle on your purpose? Think you truly understand the value of what you offer? Found a way to stand out from your competitors? Then it’s time to draft the story of your work. Storytelling is an immensely powerful marketing technique. Without drifting away from who you are and what you stand for, create stories around your work, your brand and your leadership and then promote them as often as possible. Weave your story into your online presence and be prepared to share it over and over again with those willing to listen. Your clients buy into your story, not just your product or service. That story has to resonate with readers. Make it a compelling one (and don’t forget your calls to action)!
Build a Community
Those who hear your story and are drawn to your authenticity and messaging will want to find ways to work with you, and to share your message with the people they know. Make it easy for them to do so. Find a way to build a community around your tribe, your power partners, your clients and your cheerleaders.  Regardless of format, make sure to share your successes, and struggles, your calls to action and your stories so that they too can share your message with others.
Be Consistent
“Your words should match your actions and you should always endeavour to do what you say.”
Declan Mulkeen
Human beings have a variety of facets. Nothing is ever truly black and white. However, be very aware of remaining consistent with your message and your story. While there are many different aspects to your personality, straying too far from the path you have created could confuse your audience and drive them to other brands that have a clear, concise message to share.

Learn to wear the persona of your company in an authentic way and you have mastered the art of effectively sharing your message with the world.

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Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+,YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and the tools to manage them.

#AuthenticallyAwesome – An Authentic Branding Strategy

As a small business owner, you already understand the value of branding. If you’ve been following my blog, you’re also aware of the importance of personal branding. Now that you have the fundamentals, let’s talk about where many people go wrong with branding. We spend so much time putting together our strategy and our content that occasionally authenticity gets lost.
Have you ever come across any of the following?
  •      A brand that didn’t ring true to its own messaging?
  •      A business owner whose message felt forced?
  •      Content that didn’t seem to match up with the projected brand?
  •      Inconsistency or lack of clarity in a brand’s content?
  •      Drastic swings in message without a proper re-branding strategy?
I’m sure at some point, you’ve witnessed at least one of the above scenarios. It happens. Just because you are an entrepreneur or small business owner, doesn’t mean that you are a branding expert.
Authenticity
The path to authenticity lies in taking the time to discover who you really are. What does your company provide, what pain points does it solve, and how do you provide solutions to problems? What is your message? How do you want to present it to the world? These are the questions that have to be answered because, without this knowledge, you are not able to be authentic in your marketing.
“Authentic companies don’t try to be something they’re not, but instead recognize what they are, what they do best, and what customers value most about them.” 
Vision Critical

Consistency  
Where many businesses miss the boat is failing to remain consistent. Consistency is a vital aspect of branding. Your company, and your team, must live your brand story every day. It needs to be shared, in a variety of ways, as often as possible with your target audience. A clear, concise, consistent message will make a bigger impact than just throwing whatever out there and hoping for the best result. Understand your brand, understand your message and then develop a process where you are sharing high-quality, authentic contentwith your followers.
Brand Loyalty
Authenticity has a powerful return on investment. Honesty, integrity, and candor are highly sought after and valued. Opening up a window, allowing yourself to be a bit exposed and vulnerable, breeds trust within your audience. That trust converts into brand loyalty. Loyal brand ambassadors are the best, FREE, marketing strategy a company can have. Your tribe will not only follow and engage with you – those who trust your message will share it, whenever and wherever they can. This is the real return on being authentic in your marketing.

Don’t be afraid to shine. You have to put yourself out there. Toss aside the masks you tend to use for protection when you face the world and have faith that your authentic message will draw the right clients to your doorstep. This is a fundamental foundation to #BeAwesome with your branding.

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Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedInFacebookTwitterBlogGoogle+,YouTubePinterestInstagram and the tools to manage them.

#BrandConsistency – Themes in Your Marketing Can Help With Consistency

One highly-useful tool for Brand Consistency is the use of themes. Marketing themes help solidify your branding in the mind of your audience. There are two areas you should consider when it comes to themes: visual recurring themes and thematic messages.

Visual Brand Consistency


Visual Brand Consistency is something we’ve mentioned before. You want your images and messages to follow guidelines you’ve built for your company. Think of brands you know. Pepsi and Coca Cola are two that really stand out. Across the board, they use the same branding style: Colors, fonts, etc. to push their brand into the mind of the consumer.So how do you create visual brand consistency? 

  • Create a brand use document where you list how your logo icon can be used. Make sure you provide a color and black and white logo. Place your logos in a group folder so your employees can use the logos as needed for official correspondence.
  • Use uniform colors across your social media platforms and website. 
  • Standard graphic layouts. It’s best to create a graphics template for your preferred social media interaction. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more all have ideal size requirements. Create templates that meet those needs. Don’t forget to include a PowerPoint and video template that has your logo already inserted. Creating these templates will save you time and money since no one will have to guess which layouts work.
  • Uniform images with logo placement. To further expand on your logo style guide, you need to determine where your logo and text should be placed. Consistency is key. 
  • Keep the same cover image for all aspects of your social media platform so your customers aren’t jarred by inconsistency. Modify it, of course, to adapt to the platform’s requirements, but keeping consistent is necessary for making you stand out in a crowd.

Thematic Consistency 

  • Create a one-line summary of your company, a tagline if you will. Expand it, by adding a two-sentence paragraph that further explains the mission of your company. After this, create several in-depth paragraphs with detailed descriptions. Provide your blogs, social media, and website links in that final detailed description package. Use these as needed depending on your social interaction. If you have room for a one-line summary, then use that. If you have an opportunity to further explain, use the more in-depth options. These files, like the logos mentioned above, should be available for your company’s use.
  • Create themed content based on your company’s values. If you believe in speedy delivery, create content that emphasizes that part of your brand. If your company puts the customer first, emphasize that instead. While you can have more than one value, choose the one you want to emphasize over the others.
  • Release themed content on a consistent basis. Whether you’re doing a Q&A, highlighting new trends, or providing motivational content on Mondays, keep your content consistent with both releases and styles.

These are just some ways to get you started. If you’re ready to tackle #BrandConsistency, start with your brand and logo use document. Decide which fonts, colors, and logo can be used. Once you have that established, move into building thematic content. Templates are key to speed and quality, so make sure you set them up as soon as possible.Do you have any tips on Brand Consistency? Let us know in comments. 

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Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedInFacebookTwitterBlogGoogle+,YouTubePinterestInstagram and the tools to manage them.

#BrandConsistency – How Consistency in Social Media Helps Your Brand

Consistency in Social Media is a necessary component for gaining and keeping loyal followers. Here are some of our top tips on being consistent:
1. Create a familiar look across all platforms. Your brand is a style, a unique voice among a sea of distractions. You want your potential clients and customers to recognize your brand no matter the platform (or mobile device) they use. Visual branding is just as important as the message you wish to share. For brand consistency, you’ll want to use the same color palette, logo/avatar, use the same filters in places like Instagram so your images look organized and part of an overall package, and consider using templates for graphics you share on social media sites. This will make the fonts, colors, designs, and size constant.
2. The voice must be the same across all platforms. A voice is more than grammar and spelling (but that’s important too!). It’s about how you speak to the public. Are you relaxed? Do you take a formal tone? Do you go out of your way to make viewers feel invited? Or do you prefer to keep a wall up between you and your customers and client? Deciding your brand’s voice involves these three elements: company culture, your audience, and your authenticity.
3. Humor is a unique form of communication. It can break the ice, relax or offend others, or reflect on the social and moral core of the individual. Sometimes, it can be all of these things at once. Keep your humor focused on your brand. When you use humor, imagine how someone new to your brand would interpret it. According to Sprout Social, 71% of consumers have unfollowed a brand on social media because they were embarrassed by the brand’s posts. You are on public display. Don’t forget that.
4. Consistent posting is key to brand success. Lack of interaction on your social media pages will leave a potential client/customer thinking you have gone out of business, or worse, that you don’t care about their business. If time is a factor, use social media tools to keep your pages updated.
Brand name recall is key to building a loyal following. Reinforce your brand’s beliefs and goals.
And one more bonus tip: Create powerful calls to action. Don’t be shy. This is still business. 
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Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+,YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and the tools to manage them.


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