Avoid Cookie Cutter Syndrome | Brand Expert
Looking like the rest of the marketplace can feel safe.
Talk the same. Price the same. Offer the same. Stay hidden within your comfort zone.
There’s just one problem: there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all branding.
To grow our businesses and attract clients, we must show others who we are and how we are different. How can we showcase our uniqueness when we are trying to be like the rest of them?
To experience real success, we’ve gotta let go of the temptation to be cookie cutter.
If you want your brand to have the power and recognizability of brand leaders like Nike, Lululemon, Target, Whole Foods, you need to figure out your own, personal IT FACTOR.
Side note: this step, to really hone in on your IT factor, is something I see many entrepreneurs skipping all together. Please don’t be tempted to do that! This isn't the time to copy and paste what you see working in the market for others. Sure, that tactic may work for a while, but over time, it will fail you. When you copy others, you’re not representing your AUTHENTIC self, and you’ll eventually face exhaustion and burnout trying to keep up the facade.
"Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom" - Aristotle
If you don't know WHO you are, how will your audience know?
Clarity comes with work and self discovery, so a brand audit is the perfect place to start on your journey toward perfecting your brand. A brand audit is an in-depth look at your brand and how it measures up to your ultimate business goals. It’s a process to help you identify your strengths, passions and principles, to dig deep into your personal and professional experience, and to map out your self worth. This internal work will be the energy and core of your brand and your message.
Take the time to follow the four steps below and discover your unique IT factor as an entrepreneur:
1) Define your standards. What core principles do you value the most? Family, education, health, beauty — what do you personally stand for? Note: These themes don't shift or change These are principles that are rooted in your belief systems.
2) Determine your skill set. Simply put, what do you do best? What is that one thing that you just ROCK at, that you can do better than anyone you know? Maybe you’re a natural at public speaking and can capture the attention of an entire room with your storytelling abilities. Maybe you’re great at leading group discussions. Maybe you’re a numbers whiz and can see financial opportunities.
3) Declare your passions. What do you truly love to spend your time doing? What kind of work gives you energy and makes you feel exhilarated? Think hard about the things that spark excitement in your soul — these are the same things that often get you noticed by others.
4) Do what makes you happy. That’s right — if you dread the work you’re doing, it shows. A business that is based around something you don’t enjoy isn’t sustainable. What do you love most about your business? What type of clients do you cherish working with the most? This is an important but often overlooked element in the brand audit. You’ve gotta wake up every day and do this thing, so it needs to bring happiness and fulfillment to your life.
This audit is an important first step in the branding process and sets the foundation for crafting a brand that’s meaningful, deep and distinctive. When you consider these four crucial aspects of your brand, you can leave the cookie cutter behind and instead create a brand that’s unique to you alone.
Do your biz a favor, and start digging deep and asking the questions that will take you from brain dump to brand reveal.