As a marketing consultant, I often work with people who are a little bit uncomfortable with the idea of branding and marketing themselves. I very often hear things like:
- I don’t like marketing and advertising. It feels manipulative.
- Spending time on marketing means I’m not putting my energy into my real work.
- Promoting myself feels egotistical, like I’m out to get something.
- I don’t want to shove my name or my product in people’s face.
I get it. I really do. If you are coming from a place of trying to convince someone to buy something they neither want nor need, marketing can come across as manipulative. If you are trying to decide what to make or sell based on what the market says people want, that can feel like a distraction from your real work or a dilution of your vision. But here’s my question:
Is your brand driving your vision? Or is your vision driving your brand?
In good marketing, vision comes first. Brand is used to communicate the vision, to raise the real work into a place of visibility and public awareness. Who you are, when communicated beautifully and authentically, sells itself. Then marketing becomes simply a use of tools to help people find that authentic vision-driven brand that they so resonate with. It becomes about creating content that inspires your natural audience, whether they ever hire you or not. It becomes about presenting every aspect of your business is a voice, style and method that says something about who you are and why they might benefit from getting to know your brand. When vision drives the brand, marketing is a two-way communication and the product sells itself. All you have to do is be yourself.
So, here’s the call to action:
Get really, really clear on your vision.
- Who are you, as a business?
- What do you do?
- How do you benefit your clients?
- What makes what you do special or different from your competitors?
- What’s the highest experience you envision for your clients?
- Who are the ideal clients for you?
- What do they want and need, and how does that match up with who you are?
When you know the answers to these questions, branding is easy and marketing is a joy.