If you know what you sell and who you sell it to most successfully, you’re well on your way to having a brand.  What’s a brand? I used to think that it was a logo, a tag line, a color palette.  But now I know it’s not.  A brand is a promise.

When you deliver exactly what you say you will, that is a successful transaction.  When your customer is so delighted by what you deliver that they tell someone else about it, you have a brand.  Your promise is alive and well in the world, and spreading its own story.  How can you tell if you have a brand?  If you do, two things should happen regularly:

  • Clients and colleagues refer you to great opportunities.
  • You get unsolicited – but serious – inquiries about your services

What Is a Brand, Anyway?

So if a brand isn’t the visual elements we’ve all been focusing on for so long, what is it? There are 3 key elements:

Expertise – Having an niche and explaining it clearly

Credibility – Making your clients “raving fans” by doing terrific work for them

Visibility – awareness of your company in your niche market

I’ll take for granted that you’re great at what you do, and that you’ve read my previous articles about defining your niche.  On to the question of visibility.  How can you spread the work about your business?

Most small businesses lack the budget to use advertising effectively.  It isn’t targeted enough and it’s too passive.  You can’t know who sees your ad or when.  So what else can you do to raise the profile of your work?  Some common strategies are networking, social media, speaking, and writing.

If you’re a good writer, a blog or a regular column in a relevant publication can be a great way to demonstrate your expertise and get your name in front of the right people.  If you enjoy public speaking, workshops or seminars, key note addresses at conferences, or even a TED talk, might be a great way to gather together prospects and show them that you have what they need.  Of course, you need to be in regular contact with key clients and referral sources.  This can be tackled one on one or by attending networking or other events where you know they congregate.