Let’s start by asking the question “Do You Have a Brand?”
Is your brand your network marketing or direct sales company? Is that what’s on your business cards?
Is your brand your product?
Or, have you carefully crafted your message . . . what you want to mean to prospective customers, clients, and business partners.
What is a brand supposed to do?
Seth Godin, well known marketing expert and best-selling author (of multiple books), defines a brand as “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer. “
It should reinforce your credibility as well as create a connection between you (your business) and your target audience, which in our profession includes both customers and business partners or distributors.
A brand ideally can inspire or motivate and even create a following.
So in going back to the initial question, “Do You Have a Brand?”
Do you . . .?
- Do you have a mission statement that passionately states your purpose and tells the world (or at least your target market) why you exist?
- Do you have a customer service plan in place? Do you have a marketing formula?
- Do you have a training program in place for your business partners (associates) that includes a plan for education, growth, and recognition?
Are you creating a movement . . . a community where people are fed?
Most people in the direct sales/network marketing arena believe their brand is their company.
News Flash . . . Your Brand Is You. We call it YOU INC.
What are the components of YOU INC?
How do people remember YOU?
- What are you known for?
- What do you Stand for?
- What do you Believe?
- What is your Purpose? And,
- What is the Message You Send?
It’s my belief that all of these questions can be answered by how you create relationships . . . how you make people feel . . . the message that you send.
What do your customers and potential clients and business partners see when they first meet you? Are you more interested than interesting? How do you nurture these relationships?
If you don’t have a formal BRAND (outside your company), should you?
Only you can answer that question, but in ‘the postage stamp version’ my answer starts with a few questions:
- Are you 100% sure the company you are with will indeed be the one you are always associated with?
If you had asked me 5 years ago if I would be looking to partner with a different company (I was the #1 female recruiter and on the Field Advisory Board with my previous company), I would have laughed at you and told you ‘you’re crazy.’ BUT, life is full of twists and turns, and suffice it to say, the timing was right for me to make a change.
Over the previous 13 years, I had carefully crafted a community, loyal customers, and a TEAM, and I didn’t want to lose those. Shortly before the change that occurred in my company affiliations, I began branding myself and my TEAM to . Before that, I had been known as the Mineral Girl.
This one action (creating my Brand) was so critical that it allowed me to seamlessly transition to a new company without my community (of prospects) knowing there was BIG change on the horizon. As far as they were concerned, it was business as usual – People who had inquired about a home business, were still looking for a legitimate home business. I did not have to start over.
I am guessing that right now your brand is your company’s brand (this is true for 99% of the network marketing/direct sales industry).
- In light of this, do people only associate you with the product line of your company? Does your ‘elevator’ speech send a ‘product peddling’ message instead of a ‘you need me’ or an IRRESISTIBLE message?
I want to encourage you, if you have never taken pen and paper to write out WHY you are building a direct sales/network marketing business. If you did this at the beginning of your career, then you may want to do this again. As we mature in our business, our WHY usually changes. This first step is also critical for your new business partner to answer (but more on that later in the Developing Leaders Section). It truly is the glue that helps you get up early and stay up late while building your DREAMs – the book I wrote that addresses your WHY is called 7 Steps to Finding Your WHY (as $99 value)is available in the INNER CIRCLE Members Area at no charge.
Knowing YOUR WHY generally makes answering some of the questions below easier.
There are some key exercises that we take our business partners through when assisting them in creating their brand, and it starts with asking yourself
“What do I want to be known for?”
How can you dig deep and find this answer? Besides really thinking about that answer (and paring it down to a few words), take a look at what brings you joy. When we are joy-filled we are at our best and our passion comes through.
A good place to start would be to ask others what your strengths are and a few bullet points on how they would describe you.
“What do I want to be known for?” should be followed by some other key questions:
What value do I bring to my customers and how is this different from what others bring to the party?
What is unique about me and why someone should join your team?
When you answer these two questions, you will begin the process of creating two key programs for your business (also known as your brand experience):
- Your Customer Service Program
0 How you bring your message to potential customers, how you service your clients, how you bring value, and how you create loyalty, how you reward your customers for referrals.
- Your Business Partner Program
0 How you attract a quality team, train the team, provide opportunity, coach your team, inspire and motivate, and celebrate with your team.
- What kind of TEAM and Community are you creating AND what is the personality?
You now want to create a tag line. This allows you to communicate your purpose and personality to your target audience once you have identified what you want to be known for.
Awesome . . . you have the words, so now you want to convey this in a graphically appealing message, which generally will include a logo, words, and colors. Why we include a logo is ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’ A logo can create instant recognition. If possible, the design should include a customized font that again conveys your personality.
One of Seth Godin’s books talks about creating a following – he calls it a ‘Tribe.’ “A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea… A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.”(from page 1 of Tribes, by Seth Godin). Creating a TEAM is creating a Tribe – and our TEAM is part of our brand . . . so is the community. Part of how we convey that message is the visual identification of our Community/Brand.
What’s the best way to create your logo? A professional graphic artist (don’t cheat and try to create your own logo). I’ve found that when I a creating a new company, I have a conversation with my graphic artist about the message I want to convey and let her go to work. If you don’t currently work with a graphic artist, here are a few recommendations:
- Your local college – the graphic design department
- www.Fiverr.com (you can literally get a logo for $5)
- Check with your local chamber
- Check out my graphic artist under recommended resources
Next is the actual ‘physical branding’ of our business with some of the components of your business:
- Business Cards
- Email Signature
- Car Advertising
- Thank You Cards
- Give Aways
- Web Presence/Internet Marketing
- Marketing Pieces
- Writing a Book
Last but not least is living your brand. How do you present yourself to the world? My motto is “How you do anything is how you do everything.” This encompasses everything from how you dress to how you follow-up and everything in between including the feeling people have when they walk away from encounters with you and your events.
And, of course in our profession, duplicating – helping your team become part of the community. Our community is indeed part of our brand.
Remember, while all of these components are indeed important to creating your brand, your brand is YOU. The final point I want to leave you with is that your brand boils down to how you make people feel.
People remember how you make them feel – not the shiny business card.
We will explore each of these topics relating to branding and more as part of our INNER CIRCLE Programs:
- Silver Inner Circle
- Gold Inner Circle
- Platinum Inner Circle