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The important first step to creating a brand that too many entrepreneurs skip

Pop quiz.

As an entrepreneur, what’s the first thing you should do when creating a brand for your business?

Work on your logo?

No.

Design a website?

Wrong again.

I might be the only branding expert who will tell you this, but your website and logo should NOT be the first things on your mind when you’re creating a brand.

Your number one priority at this stage of the game should be learning all you can about your target audience.

Your target audience is the select group of people you want to reach. They are the people you know you can help with your product or service, and they will value your business and pay top dollar for your contribution because they understand that you are worth the investment.

Without locking down your target audience, every other aspect of creating a brand will be futile.

Sure, it will feel safe and cozy behind your computer screen, coming up with colours and designs for your website and logo.

But then, you’d be wasting precious time and resources perfecting your designs, and then wonder why crowds of people don’t knock down your door begging for your business.

I hate to break it to you, but that’s just not how branding works.

Please don’t make this critical (and sadly, common) mistake.

Have the guts to determine who your target audience is and make the serious effort to learn everything you can about them – first.

Here are a few ways you can get inside the heads of your target audience, before you begin the branding process…

Understand that it is a worthwhile investment.

I know what you’re thinking.

What business owner has the time to invest in getting to know their target audience at a grassroots level?

Who can afford to just mingle with people who may or may not buy from you?

The answer is – how can you afford not to?

You will waste time spinning your wheels if you don’t make the initial investment of getting to know who your target audience is and what their needs, desires, problems, and dreams are.

Nothing – and I mean nothing – is more important in business than knowing your customer.

Without your customer, there is no business. The end.

Attend networking events.

Thanks to the Internet, you can easily do a search and find out what meetups and networking events are happening in your neighborhood.

You don’t necessarily have to meet with people you think might be potential customers. You can also meet other business owners. Branch out and meet with people who could one day be collaborators, referral partners, suppliers, subcontractors, or even just emotional supporters.

Remember not to use these meetups as an opportunity to sell, but rather, to learn and to be of value.

If you walk in to a meetup blasting a sales pitch, you are just going to turn people off.

Have real, two-way conversations. Ask questions and try to make meaningful connections with like-minded people.

Join a professional association.

In order to get a better handle on your brand, consider joining an association.

Joining an association usually requires an investment of time and money – that’s often considered the downside.

However, the upside to this is that you will be surrounded by people who value the association so much, that they see it worth their time and money to be a part of it.

People who are invested will contribute more, which means more value for everyone.

The association may be a group of professionals who are in the same industry as you, in which case you could share resources, as well as inspire and support one another.

The problem with this scenario is that while you are all in the same boat, you are also in competition with one another, for the most part.

On the other hand, you could join an association that includes professionals from different walks of life – for instance, a small business networking association.

The advantage of this type of organization is that you can meet a more diverse group that you can help and learn from.

These people can become, or lead you to, your target audience in many different ways.

Have a social media presence.

Having a social media presence will help you offer value and maintain rapport with your target audience.

Offer tips and advice on your business social media platforms so that your target audience sees you as a trusted professional in your industry.

Also, ask them questions and invite them to share their opinions and experiences.

Engaging your target audience in meaningful conversation on social media is a great way to learn about them, what their problems are, and how you might solve their problems.

It is also an opportunity to show that you care about your target audience, and that you want to help them.

Building relationships on social media, when done correctly, will even turn your most faithful followers into brand ambassadors.

Brand ambassadors are people who will sing your praises on social media simply because they believe in you and your business. They might share and like your posts, as well as invite their friends and family to follow you.

Having brand ambassadors vouch for you is an extremely effective way to get the word out on your brand and grow your business.

Follow up and stay in touch

The most important part of meeting and engaging your target audience is staying in touch with them.

If you’re here today, gone tomorrow, they will not think you put a lot of value on the relationship.

Don’t allow this to happen.

Build rapport and maintain your relationship with your target audience by meeting up with them on a regular basis (both individually and in groups), and staying in touch via phone, email, and social media.

Perfecting your business logo or designing your website should not be the first thing you think of when it comes to creating your brand. Your first priority should be getting to know your target audience. Engage your target audience at meetups, by joining associations, and on social media. Above all, do not forget to follow up and stay in touch with everyone you meet. Learning about your target audience is an ongoing and evolving process. It may seem like a lot of work, but it is a worthy investment of your time and resources if you want to grow your business and build a successful brand.

Launching your brand? Call Kim Speed at Purple Moon Creative today!