by Felena Hanson
I founded a coworking, meeting, and event space for female entrepreneurs. After three years of hard work I’m now turning he unique business model into a franchise. It’s the strong culture we’ve created with spa-inspired design and tailor-made benefits that creates our competitive advantage.
While I love my business, I also respect other coworking spaces and know that there are hundreds of other valuable and unique spaces like these around the world. And while we may share some of the same attributes, my company’s name, colors, spa-inspired approach, and systems cannot be replicated. We have worked hard to customize the coworking experience and our brand; it’s meaningful, specific and screams individuality. My 18 years of marketing experience leads to my passion for branding. For those of you in the beginning stages of your business or on the verge of a rebrand, I hope you will find benefit in these 4 key facets to a memorable and sustainable brand.
1. No Meaning = No Story — Your brand should mean something to you. It’s an integral part of you and vice-versa. Your business’ name should represent a metaphor, symbol, word, or emotion that evokes a story, memory, or meaning. Naming a business simply because it looks catchy doesn’t lead to a good story. Great marketers don’t simply share brands, they sell stories. As Entrepreneur Magazine’s article, Does Your Brand Tell A Powerful Story supports, “story is how we connect with one another.” Wonder why the emerging social networking sites are so popular? The answer is because people crave the powerful, emotional connection that comes through telling a story. There needs to be a powerful why behind your name and business.
2.But what’s in a name? Everything.— Your business’ name should reveal what you do and how you do it. Short and succinct is always best, as Forbes’ contributor Marianne Bickle argues, “Think about the speed in which you drive past a business, click through a webpage, or walk down a street. Customers need to be able to read your company sign in a matter of seconds (not minutes).” While Hera Hub isn’t exactly a revealing name, our tagline enables people to understand exactly what we do. If your business’ name doesn’t reveal what you do in the title, be sure to back it up with powerful and clear language that communicate what you do and how you do it uniquely.
3. Your Business isn’t all about you— The only realm where this is possible is a consulting practice but even then it goes back to one question: What is the ultimate goal of your business? If it’s to one day sell it, pass it down, or hire additional support, try to build your brand around what you offer, how you serve your customers, and what sets you apart verses making it all about the founder. While your personality and skill set are an integral part of your business, you can’t be all of it.
4. Why are you doing this? When building your brand, it’s crucial that you remember your purpose and tie everything to that. I am a proponent of Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why. In it, he shares “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.” The answer to this question of “Why?” explains to customers, partners, and the market the reason your business is a contender. The why is what inspires me to keep building, working, and growing. Your business supports a bigger purpose; don’t lose sight of what that calling is.
Your brand sets you apart and your advantage is in the details.
For more tips on branding, I also recommend Seth Godin’s book, Purple Cow, to help make your brand memorable and remarkable. It takes consistency and years to build strong brand recognition but remember: every Tweet, word, and interaction is an opportunity to spread the message of your work and business.
Felena is a marketing maven and caring connector. Her latest venture, Hera Hub, is a spa-inspired shared workspace for female entrepreneurs who need a productive, professional place to work on a flexible basis. She has three locations in San Diego County and is expanding nationally via a franchise model.
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