Is it me, or has there been a surge in “brand strategists,” brand seminars, or brand sessions? Find and click on hashtags such as #branding101 #coaching #dowhatyoulove, and other marketing-related hashtags. You’ll see a slew of business coaches and people using phrases like finding out “How To Build Your Brand.” Building your brand vs. building your business are two different things. Before investing time and money in branding, please ensure you have a viable business that you’re willing to stick with first.
Think of it this way. Business is like the process and actually building a house (finding the ideal location, perhaps having an established network of buyers who are interested in renting or buying the house, etc.). Branding is the aesthetic appeal and design (colors, style, and design of doors, windows, type of wood) you add to the house. Your branding solidifies what makes your business (house) different and unique from all others. It also should establish some sort of connection or sentimental value with buyers.
WHAT IS BUSINESS?
According to the Merriam Dictionary, business is “the activity of making, buying, and selling goods or services.” Other words used to describe business are :
Finding the ideal business includes understanding your strengths (and weaknesses), what you’re passionate about and as important, how to turn your passion into profit. Ideally, you want to ensure that whatever product or service you are offering has a demand or a target audience who desires it. This will reduce the risk of your business failing. If you’re starting a non-profit (we advise running it like a business), however, we understand it is a whole different ball game. Target audience (donators, volunteers, etc), will need to be established to ensure the longevity and sustainability of the non-profit. Albeit it is great to have a thorough business plan (which means that you’ve done your due diligence), it isn’t absolutely necessary. A shorthand business plan that can show you business, (potential or established sales/pre-orders) for said product or service, and
WHAT IS BRAND (ING)
The evolution of the term brand(ing) has been quite rapid, leaving room for ambiguity thus the confusion. The act of branding is when you create and establish an identity for a product, service, or personality through distinctive means. This could be logos, packaging, print or online materials (including websites), colors, words or phrases, and/or activities, etc. Establishing an identity helps what your business is offering, be differentiated from another business. What contributes to your business’s distinctiveness is all of the aforementioned, in addition, the marketing, packaging (and most importantly) emotional/purposeful connection to your target consumers, will contribute to your business success. However, understand that the aforementioned takes time and resources (such as money), especially if you’re not a graphic designer or web developer (or have them as friends).
BUILDING YOUR BUSINESS
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But let’s focus on a few things you should know when starting a business. Although it’s important to have some brand don’t get bogged down on having too much invested in the brand identity until your business and shows potential. You’ll be tempted to want to have everything look pretty and feel nice immediately (but don’t do it, yet. At least until you’ve figured out a sure way to make money ( or have made your first 10 K (1-2 years of business) and live off it all sustainably. It’s important to first establish a few things first (in quick form of course) :
- Product or Service Research, Development, Availability
- Target Market/ Market Needs
- Revenue Model / Benchmarks
- Legal Entity Name
- Registration of Legal Entity’s Name and Business Type (acquire an EIN number)
- Open Bank Accounts / Management of Expenses and Revenues
- Client Acquirement, Management, and Retention
- Team Acquirement, Management, Retention
If you’re just beginning a business try to focus on t building the business first instead of diving immediately into brand-building. Earn valuable information and resources along the way.
Set up shop, get your house in order, build a sure-fire client list as much a possible before investing and adding all of the bells and whistles (or branding) to your company, product, and service.
Hey there! I’m Sade Disu and founded an award-winning 15-year-old digital media and marketing agency And Brand Culture where I provide culture-focused advisory, storytelling, and content solutions for Executives and startup founders looking to increase engagement with multi-cultural audiences and media platforms organically.
My content strategies and proprietary live event platforms (like AfricaFashionWeek.com) are deemed unmatched for their convening power of global content, culture, and empowerment according to Forbes, LA Times, Essence, and Black Enterprise. And even more, was given a proclamation, by former Mayor of New York (now Presidential candidate) Michael Bloomberg in 2010.
Africa Fashion Week results increased brand awareness 8.5 million views; $300+ K in revenue generated per event, and 6 K+ newsletter subscribers per event. Media giants such as Hearst Magazines caught wind of my work and influence — the ability to connect to and with consumers through cultural content and experiential solutions. HEARST immediately hired my consultancy to advise, produce content, and launch its international spin-off of COSMOPOLITAN Nigeria.
My press-ordained and award-winning event platforms and digital content work have been leveraged by Shea Moisture, Kimora Lee Simons, Iman Cosmetics, Pikolinos, Zara, Roommate Hotels, and USAID. ( 4-page press feature in Black Enterprise and 2-page press feature in Forbes French Edition.)
Clients have used my four-tier prong approach “culture + content” = “community + commerce” when looking to connect with audiences with nuisance cultures and attitudes.