What are you branding when you brand your business? Is it the product? Is it the culture? Or is it you personally?
Yes, yes, and yes.
There are degrees to branding: all of what I mention above deserves separate consideration in terms of branding.
When you are a small business owner, it starts at the top: with your Personal Brand.
What comes before the brand
Before you know what to design, before you know what logo and colors you want, before you determine your messaging and keywords, before all of this, you must determine what you stand for.
Here is the challenge: this is difficult to do for yourself.
We – as humans – are not adept at questioning our assumptions or at examining our habits and preferences. Work with a partner to go through some key questions, to extract what you can prove and promise with your personal brand.
What to know about yourself
Focus on the constants for you, regardless of industry or country or job. Consider these questions:
What motivates you?
What do you want to do more of? What makes you want to get to work? When do you feel energized and creative?
Ask this once and then a few more times, as always. Get to the root cause of what clicks in your brain and your heart, making you want to be more productive.
What do you take pride in?
What do you wish people knew about you? When you are on the cover of Forbes, what do you want the article to be about? When you win the lifetime achievement award, what category will it be in?
How do you want people to think about you?
And talk about you. What do you hope people are saying about you when you are not in the room?
How do you describe “quality”?
This question transitions you from yourself to your business. Given all of the above, how do you exhibit quality in your work and your company? Describe that quality, what does it mean for your customers?
Use these questions to build a description of how you act, interact, communicate, and prove your value. And that will be your personal brand: constant truths.