Creating and being your personal brand
30 Apr 2019
The businesswoman and founder of namesake bridal brand, Charlotte Balbier, discusses the importance of personality in branding with her new brand All The Pretty by CB
“Build your brand and your business will prosper"
This is my favourite subject… like, ever! Branding, being a brand and creating brands is what lights me up. It’s what I do best and one of the things I enjoy working on most with the clients I coach and the brands I consult for.
Want to know how I built my former brand into a seven-figure brand? Aside from working hard, setting goals and being extremely determined, it was the strong brand identity and experience I created and evolved and consistently delivered on, year on year. It was not a business; it was a brand.
Every single touch point I always made on point with my brand. It’s what set me apart from my competitors. I worked incredibly hard on building the brand identity and experience over the years.
Every industry is oversaturated, so you need to stand out. You need to make your brand totally irresistible to the consumer so that they buy from YOU and not someone else. This does not come down to the product or the service that you are selling (although these are very important also). It comes down to what defines you and that is your brand.
So, what is a brand? What does this word mean to you? Do you even think you are a brand? Or do you identify as a business?
I know for so many, and especially those who are not in a creative field, thinking and acting as a brand not just a business, can be a hard one to get your head around. A really simple way to look at it is this - a business is just a product you are selling, while a brand is the personality, the aesthetic, the little details. ‘All the pretty’, some would say. Now these, of course, overlap and, done correctly, this is where the magic happens.
So, what does the word ‘brand’ mean to me? For me, it’s an experience, how it makes me feel, and do I want to be a part of it? It’s something I am connected to. It’s a very old saying but it’s such a true one…‘people buy from people’.
When it comes to a service-based offer, it all comes down to the person who is selling that service/offer. That person is the brand if you are a small business. By creating a community, getting to know your clients and applying the personal touch, this gives them a feeling of belonging and wanting to be a part of what you are selling.
I have worked with many people who have been selling both a service and a product who have fallen into the trap of believing the product alone is strong enough to make the client buy. This isn’t the case - the person behind the product, YOU, is so key also. You can have the best product in the world but if this is not backed with the brand, then however good the product is can become totally irrelevant. This has been incredibly frustrating for so many people I have worked with over the years. This was until they worked on building their brand.
The brands I am loyal to are not exclusively about what they are selling. It’s about me buying into what they have created to attract their brand hero and that brand hero is me. These brands have connected so strongly with me with their brand strategy and message that the actual product almost becomes unimportant, as I want to buy from them just to be a part of their brand. Clever, right? They have sold to me on an emotional level and this is how most people, especially women, buy.
Creating emotional connections, caring about your audience and adding value is all key to your success. Clever brands offer customers the chance to invest in just a small way as well as the high-ticket items. A great example is how we all lust after having a Chanel handbag, but at around £5k for a classic, this is not always accessible. However, a lipstick is and the beautiful packaging and experience still gives you that feel-good factor and helps you feel a part of the brand. You can pick up a lipstick for just a few pounds, but we all invest in the more expensive ones as the brand is so much more desirable.
I also buy from brands that have positioned themselves as market leaders – the ones that have created a strong message and a level of high consistency that, although I can get something similar from someone else, I choose them as I believe they must be the best.
A good example of this is Apple. I think once you convert to Apple, you never go back. They are SO good at strong brand experience that you’re hooked. I often play a little game with myself when I notice a group of people all on their phones (and in this day and age, that is almost all the time). I count how many are using an Apple iPhone and it’s nearly always every single person. I smile to myself as I think about Steve Jobs who started out working in his garage and who went on to create a multi-billion dollar brand. Now that is how you build a brand.
Think about the brands you love for a minute. What is it that you like about them? Write all this down and take note - how can you apply this to your brand experience?
Behind the brand
If I was to stop by your website now, or your social media, would I get to see the faces behind the brand? Would I get to know your story? Your journey to what got you to where you are now? If you are wanting to create and be a brand, then personal branding is SO key to your brand.
Invest in some professional images and use them. Show up in your stories and posts. Share the inside scoop and behind the scenes. People want to know about you and this is your opportunity to connect with your current and potential clients, creating that all important relationship.
"Become a brand. Then you are in business"
Touch points and all the little details
I talk about touch points and it all being in the detail a lot. Some would say I am obsessed, but for me these are SO important. I believe all the little touches are what make the big difference. When I had my former brands, I created a brand experience for both my customers (the retailers) and the end consumer (the bride).
I was passionate about training my brand partners to be an extension of my brand. I also ensured that my stockists always had an on-brand experience with all touch points. So, what do I mean by this? It comes down to consistency and thinking about every aspect and detail of your business and brand. From that very first second of contact, to the last and beyond. Every step must be on-brand and a positive, enjoyable and feel-good experience, with both the pretty and the practical executed perfectly.
Ask yourself what brand experience are you offering your customer? Now, how can you improve on this? What little extra details and finishing touches could you offer your customers? What can you do to make you totally irresistible to your dream customers?
Tag lines, slogans and straplines
Do you have one? If so, do you feel it represents your brand message? Or do you want to change it? If you don’t have one, now is the time to make one. A tagline or slogan is a short message that tells the customer the important information, or a catchy message, that people remember and know you for. Really good examples are:
- John Lewis: Never knowingly undersold.
- Nike: Just do it.
- L’Oréal: Because you're worth it
- Pringles: Once you pop, you can't stop
- McDonalds: I’m lovin’ it.
- MAC: Think different
- All The Pretty by CB: Putting the practical into the pretty (my personal favourite)
Get creative and note some down. Pinpoint the one that best describes your business – then start using it where you can. Use it in your website, social posts and as a hashtag.
The above is an extract from my Brand Coaching workbook that is part of the All The Pretty Coaching Programme, where I coach ambitious entrepreneurs on how to ‘put the practical into the pretty’ and get the results they’re looking for: www.alltheprettybycb.com. If you would like to hear and learn more about becoming a brand, drop me a email on firstname.lastname@example.org.