Your passion can humanise your brand
I always love small businesses. When I lived in Hong Kong, I loved going to flea markets, small boutiques in Soho and Causeway Bay during the weekend. The products they sold were not particularly cheaper than the big chain stores but they were special, unique and I could feel a slice of the owner's passion. This is what humanise a brand and makes a brand authentic. Your "why" is a powerful marketing tool that you can ever get, no branding agency can do magic if you don't know, live and breathe your "why".
The secret sauce of brand building
Let's say you are a graphic designer and you have an impressive portfolio. You have enough clients to keep your business afloat but for some reason, the business isn't growing. The reason is simple: no matter how great your portfolio is, how famous and big your past clients are, they are soulless. They are just logos and pretty images. Remember, people buy from people. If you are selling your talents, don't be shy and show up and tell your clients and prospects your "why" and your story. What made you want to be a graphic designer? Where do you get your inspiration? What makes you better than other graphic designers? What are your struggles? Yes, you read it right - share your struggles, be vulnerable! Even the most successful businessman or businesswoman struggles from time to time. Your vulnerability doesn't make you look weak, it makes you real and approachable and this is the secret sauce of brand building.
Your vision is the fuel and your "why" is the engine
As you all know, entrepreneurship isn't all rainbows and unicorns. There are bad days or even days that feel like the end of the world. When this happens next time, remind yourself why you started the business. If it is because your ex-boss didn't recognise your hard work and abilities, tell yourself that and build a successful business to prove your ex-boss wrong. Your "why" can also help you out of your comfort zone. If you are feeling stuck and the only way out is to do something different, something that you have never tried before. Remind yourself the reason why you need to be confident and brave and take a step forward. Your "why" is as powerful as your vision. Your vision acts as the fuel to push you forward, your "why" is the engine. They work hand in hand to keep you motivated and persistent.
I always believe that successful brand building comes from the owner his-or herself. If you don't know the reason(s) why you started your business (making yourself rich shouldn't be one of them) and what sets your business apart, working with a branding agency will just be a waste of money. Branding should go beyond stylish logos and colour palettes and it's not a one-off project. It's an ongoing effort, requires authenticity, humanisation and most importantly, you. Your "why" also helps you stay on track to your goals so you won't easily give up when the business is going through rough days. Now ask yourself a simple question: what is your "why"?
Image by Milada Vigerova