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Your brand is not you – tips to brand success part 1.

May 31, 2013

Realize Beauty is all about helping you to build your brand but while we can help you with what goes in and around the pot, bottle or jar when it comes to connecting with customers that is predominantly up to you.  I talk to a lot of small to medium-sized brand owners in my day-to-day life and quite often ‘getting out there’ is their biggest fear. Often this fear comes from the fact that your one solo, quiet journey of discovery is about to go out into the world and be judged by and against others.  The only healthy head space to approach this from is the ‘I am not the brand’ mentality, something that sounds easy but can be surprisingly hard to achieve as we see below.

Here are the most common ‘barriers’ that people feel they have to get out and selling their product:

  • I’m not a chemist, I feel like I don’t really know if my products are good or not.
  • I don’t feel confident that I know the laws surrounding this and don’t want to hurt anyone or get into trouble.
  • Nobody has told me what I have to do.
  • I just feel overwhelmed by it all.
  • I am not a sales type of person and don’t like being pushy.
  • I really don’t know where to start or who to talk to about getting stocked.
  • I tried selling at a market once but people either thought that my products were too expensive or  they didn’t even seem to see them.
  • I don’t have the time to do it as I’ve got too many other things going on.
  • I feel like I don’t have anything ‘different’ to offer.
  • I don’t have any more money to put into this, I feel really stuck.
  • I feel so alone.

All of the above are valid concerns worth acknowledging and working through.  We can and do help address the practical concerns and can offer support, information, resources and testing to help fulfil your professional obligations but not all of these are ‘business’ issues, some are personal and it’s the personal that I want to delve into today.  Of the list above those marked in pink are the personal issues, black are business.

We all feel like our head has been smashed into little pieces sometimes.

We all feel like our head has been smashed into little pieces sometimes.

Getting personal. 

So our journey towards cutting those emotional strings between the business and the brand owner begins with a trip down memory lane……

Remember when……..

Remember when you couldn’t wait to leave your day job to get home and start planning your cosmetic/ hair/ natural health project?

Remember sitting up all night to do your research?

Remember hour after hour in your kitchen trying to perfect your first product?

Remember that ‘I must tell the world’ feeling – a feeling that you shared with your close family and friends who thought you had gone potty?

Remember when you would do anything to get the information or answers that you needed to keep you on track?

Remember when you fell in love with this, your new baby?

And then I say…….

It sounds like you might benefit from these three things.

  1. A hug.
  2. A bit of perspective.
  3. A plan.

Just like when you welcome a new baby/ puppy/ kitten or other living thing into your life you go through periods of insane love, energy and happiness followed by the occasional emotional drought.  Building a brand is hard, very hard and I know you won’t believe me if I told you that having money makes it no easier but it is true.

The only thing that makes building a brand easier is experience which is what you are all gaining now.  Next time (there won’t be a next time I hear you cry) you will know ‘now’ what you didn’t know ‘then’. It will be easier.

So let’s deal with what is happening now.

The Hug.

This is the hardest bit as believe me I know that feeling of guilt, shame and maybe even anger (I’ve spent all the money/ time/ energy we have into this and it’s not giving me back what I need)  are really tricky to get over but drawing a healthy line between you and your feelings and the business is very helpful.

heart stone

Sometimes we need help drawing and hopping over that line. It is entirely possible that a brand owner has become chronically fatigued, depressed and somewhat dis-connected from loved ones by this point and as acknowledging that and then finding a way of letting others help or encourage you is helpful.

At this point I find it helpful to reinforce this little mantra with clients:

  • The brand is not me, the brand is a business.
  • Personal problems need personal solutions. It would help if I addressed my feelings.
  • Business problems need business solutions. I need to sit back and analyse what is wrong then build systems and practices to put it right.

Many brand owners are ‘first time’ business owners and as such are not used to seeing their business as anything other than a reflection of themselves – an emotional attachment.  While that can give you the momentum you need to get started it isn’t healthy in the long run.  That isn’t to say that you can’t LOVE your business, your part in it or you brand story.  It just means that it is healthier not to attach your self-worth and identity to it.  You are more than the business, you are more than the brand, you are complete without it.

Finally in the hug section I ask clients to think about what ‘success’ means to them.

  • Success to me is learning a new skill be it finding out about my tax obligations to working out how and where to source the best bottles for my room mist.
  • Success is being home for the kids when they finish school.
  • Success is being able to have a coffee break whenever I want.
  • Success is the joy of hearing that someone loved my product enough to write me a testimonial.
  • Success is that feeling that I’ve made this. That I created a cream from nothing more than a few ingredients.
  • Success is building up new connections and friends – something that building my brand has gifted me.
  • Success is feeling that I am doing good in the world.
  • Success is being able to pay myself a small wage.
  • Success is sticking to my goal of blogging twice a week/ facebook posting/ growing my virtual audience.
  • Success is the feeling of freedom I get when I am doing this work.
  • Success is being able to be creative and spontaneous.
  • Success is being a role model to my family and showing that you can get out there and do it.
  • Success is having everything organised and recorded the way I want them.
  • Success is being able to take my children to business meetings if I need to.
  • Success is fun.

If my clients find that this is still too hard then a new perspective and some space away would possibly be helpful.  A gratitude diary can really help here and is simple, free and relatively easy to do as you can do it in any way you want.  Acknowledging things that you are grateful for in everyday life is a very powerful tool as it helps us stay in the moment and also recognise that even when we have a terrible time there are many small things to be grateful for.

  • I am grateful that I stayed up late enough to see the beautiful star-studded night sky.
  • I am grateful for my hot cup of tea
  • I am grateful that I can spend time with my animals.

Yes it does sounds like ‘therapy’ and it is but only to the level of healthy perspective breaking/ making therapy. If after this you are still feeling depleted, beaten and direction less it is certainly worth getting professional help. There is nothing wrong in that, our brains often need a spring clean and some love and attention after undertaking such a life-changing venture as this.

Step 2 – Gaining  Perspective.

Stormy skies

After taking as long as you need to do the above the next step is to gain some professional distance from your brand and give yourself the benefit of a healthy perspective.  Being able to stand back from the brand, cut the emotional ties and evaluate it as a unique item out in the world helps the brand to grow in confidence.  We will talk more about this next time and also give you some tips of how to put together a plan to achieve this and set your brand up for success.

Remember:  

The secret to a successful brand is believing that you deserve it.

Take care and stay safe and sane (well, as far as is reasonable under the circumstances). Oh, and remember that you are not alone xx

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