By Lori Dubois, Marketing and Branding Expert and CWCC Member
When starting a small business, there is so much of “you” in the business it is sometimes hard to tell where you end and the business begins. This can serve you well—it’s easier to get (and stay) excited about a vision that you created and own. When the days get long, it’s easier to keep going when you have a high stake in the success of the business. At what point, though, does the business have its own identity? How do you know how much of you should be reflected in your business brand?
It is highly likely that your personal brand is stamped all over your business; it can be difficult to avoid. You naturally make decisions based on your core values, what you like, and who you are. We often build a personal brand by default; meaning we don’t spend the time to purposefully create the image we want to portray, it just kind of “happens.” While this may not be the ideal way to build our personal brand, it certainly is not the way to build a business brand.
It is worth the time and effort it takes to plan and carefully craft your business brand. Branding your business is like planting a stake in the ground that says “this is who we are and this is the space we claim.” This process should be done independently of building your personal brand. Of course, it makes sense that your core values will be aligned between your personal values and business values. It would be difficult to put your blood, sweat, and tears into a venture you didn’t really believe in.
Whether you are starting or running your first business, or are a serial entrepreneur and have several business ventures under your belt, make sure each business is branded uniquely. This is for differentiation purposes—clarity in how your business is unique in the marketplace. This does not mean your personal brand or brand of other businesses you are involved with don’t align with your business, it just means that at its core every organization should have a unique identity.
Want to find out more about branding your business? Come to “Branding Uncensored for the New Year” on November 13, 2012, at the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce. As you work on your marketing plan for 2013, make sure you are on track to leverage a strong brand to grow your business. Learn about the five critical pieces of a brand and how to avoid common misconceptions about branding.
Lori Dubois owns Dubois Information, a marketing communications company helping small to medium sized businesses build a brand that tells their unique story in the right way to the right people using the right methods. Dubois Information works with business owners to communicate better with their clients and prospects through email marketing, newsletters, surveys, web content, video, and social media strategies. www.DuboisInformation.com, 303-221-1129
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