No one likes to be misunderstood. How people perceive and understand us is more in our control than we think. Often, I see people give branding aka managing perceptions a bad wrap as if it’s something contrived or outside our control. Truth is, it’s our responsibility to ensure that we are communicating accurately. Here are four common traps and how to fix them.

As entrepreneurs, it’s a constant process to find and clarify our messages so people understand who we are and what we do.

We don’t want to be misunderstood, but we often send mixed signals without knowing it.

That’s why consistent branding and marketing messages are so important — they help make us clear and relevant to our audience.

Four reasons you’re missing the mark with your marketing (and solutions for fixing them):

1) You’re blind to your genius. Your fabulous talents and skills are second nature to you, so you often can’t see them. 

Just like you can’t see the beauty inside the frame when you’re in the picture, it’s hard to realize your greatness because it’s so second nature to you.

Solution #1:

1) Ask your three closest friends to give you three adjectives that describe you. Ask them to tell you what’s wonderful about you. It’s not about an ego boost –, you need that outside perspective to remind you of your strengths and talents so you can put your focus there.

2) Connect what you’re good at with what people need help with. Effective marketing is simple: find out how to serve the people that resonate with your core values. You can do research online yourself by watching conversations on social media and creating surveys.

But my favorite option happens offline: asking questions of your ideal clients face to face – when they are in your store or you’ve got them on the phone. Just take a minute to ask them a few questions, “why did you come to me?” or “how can I best help you?”

In-person interviews are a great way to ask probing questions until you get to the root problems and emotions. People love to be “interviewed” because they love to talk about themselves;), so don’t be shy! If you’d like customer persona guide, click here.

2) You’re a complex human being which means you have a hard time being consistent.

Branding (when practiced properly) helps keep you on topic.

When you “brand yourself as X” you’re not burning a permanent mark on yourself, you’re putting more of a removable tattoo of sorts on yourself or your business. (It’s removable because as you evolve, your brand can too.)

For you to be memorable, you need to consistently show up as the unique experience of you. If you don’t, you’ll just confuse your audience and people won’t be able to remember who you are or what you do. What is the best version of you?

Solution #2

So, every time you interact with a potential client — both on and offline — ask yourself,

“How do I want this person to feel after they interact with me?”

People will not always remember what you do or say but they always remember how you make them feel. – Maya Angelou

Nike sells sneakers but they never talk about sneakers in their branding, they sell “just do it.” Nike is selling the feeling of pride in accomplishment – and because that’s a feeling people want to experience, they purchase Nike products

For your customers, that might look like, “I purchase XYZ’s product because I love that they stand for. Their visual and copy make me feel empowered and beautiful.”

What underlying human wants does your business stand for?

Branding and its benefits are often misunderstood because we think it’s just for big companies, and costs a lot to implement. But you can help people understand how to feel about working with you without all the external ads and marketing materials typical in a corporate effort.

And it doesn’t have to cost a dime. We want human connections now, more than ever.

Marketing is much more powerful for when you brand from within. When you focus on the experience of working with you, you’ll be in a unique category of one, and you’ll be able to charge higher prices as a result.

3) Your outside image isn’t consistent with your inner greatness.

Over time, we all let ourselves go a bit. Well, we can’t turn back the clock but we can take care of ourselves a #1 priority.

Perception is reality. If we do a bad job at managing how we’re perceived, we have only ourselves to blame for being bad visual communicators.

Remember: humans are visual first. Before a word comes out of your mouth, your image has already said a thousand words.

And it goes deeper than your image – it’s your energy.

 

Solution 3

Make sure you project the best, most authentic version of you so you naturally attract the right people. Make an effort every day to express the healthiest version of you.

4) You’re not expressing your core values. 

I have a confession to make. I used to despise saying that I was in the branding profession.

Not because I don’t love what I do, but because there are so many misunderstandings around what branding is.

I’d get strange looks from people that thought I used a branding iron on cows or thought I created logos.

Even some of my close friends who I’ve shared many conversations about “what I do,” still don’t get it.

It’s frustrating and can often be debilitating to your confidence which is so important!

Maybe you’ve felt that way, too?

What if, “what” you did didn’t matter as much as who you are? 

Have you ever met someone that you liked so much, you thought, “I don’t even care what they do, I want to work with them”?

In fact, on average when people sell “who you are” vs. “what you do,” they are paid on 4 times more.* Think about the last time you attract someone that cared about price. You probably talked about what you. You communicate like you are a commodity, so you attract price shoppers. We all know how miserable it is to work with those types;( When you sell who you are and why you do what you do, they buy into you and your marketing is uniquely yours.

Solution #4: Speak and live your core values to connect with your right people.

When they see that you believe what they believe, you create a special bond with them – a kinship.

When John F. Kennedy campaigned to be President in the 1960s, his strategy was to speak to the values of the “lost frontier.” He spoke to the values that America was built upon. He spoke to the collective sense of adventure and connected people with values of their collective maverick past — creating a feeling of nostalgia for those “lost ideals.”

The public connected those lost values directly to a loss in their personal identity.  Even though it was a time of economic stability, the public was sold on those values and voted him in as President

The key is authenticity and alignment with your values. People are more skeptical than ever. That’s why how you live your life needs to speak the truth of your core values.

Check out the video to see how to discover the truth of your core values, and express them in your marketing and branding.

When you get this, you won’t ever feel like you have to “sell” again. It’s simply about expressing the values that your ideal clients relate to.

Go try one of these solutions today in your business and leave me a comment.