why conversations make such a difference
Hello dear reader,
I have been having some incredible conversations this week (more to come this week – see the P.S. for details) that have been resonated with so many of you. I’ve had direct messages, emails and texts about the content of the Disappointment Diaries – the vulnerability, honesty and hope that each conversation has contained has meant that so many of you felt heard and also felt more hopeful.
You can catch up if you’d like to:
Ali Callear talked to us about disappointment in relationships
Zoe Clark-Coates MBE talked about disappointment and grief (baby loss and infertility)
Dr Sally Bell talked about midlife disappointment, and the role wellbeing has to play
Louise Blyth shared her story of losing her husband in her thirties and living a live of hope after deep loss
It struck me, after these conversations, that the simple act of sharing our story, being real about our experiences can do so much. It shares the wisdom and experience and it gives validation to others. We learn, we grow, we change just in the act of hearing and listening. I am so enjoyed these conversations that I just know I’ve got to keep it up! More to come in the autumn.
Talking of conversations, I had another great chat last week. Off the topic of disappointment, but just as important, I had the opportunity to interview Lucy Werner last week. Lucy Werner is a PR expert and founder of the Wern Agency. She is the author of Hype Yourself and her new book, Brand Yourself. We had a great chat about the role of PR, branding and starting your own business, and the juggle of parenting alongside doing paid work. I know a lot of people enjoyed it, and so I asked her to do a ’sidetrack takeover’ this week and share a few thoughts on why branding matters.
Over to Lucy.
Why do you need a brand?
It all starts with a story.
Whether you are a charity, a service, a product-based business. As small business owners we all have our own unique journey into what made us choose the path we have chosen. We often forget to learn how to be an expert in ourselves and our story. We focus on doing the job and doing it well. But actually taking a step aside to focus on our bigger purpose can be crucial to our business success. Here are my top five tips on things you need to think about.
1. Plot your map
If we don’t really understand what we are about and who we are serving than there is zero chance our customers are going to understand. Which is going to be detrimental to our long-term sales and growth. Taking some time out to figure out where we want to go means we can than build a strategy to help us get there.
2. Choose your visuals
One of the biggest mistakes we see if people coming to us for a logo before understanding the meaning they want to convey. The logo is the last piece of the puzzle really. Knowing your values is going to help you to choose the visuals because you can make sure your aesthetic fits with what you are about and who you are for. I
3. Keeping consistent
It can be tempting to change track. We can get bored of reintroducing ourselves in the same way. Or what we look like. Imagine it like a favourite piece of clothing. How often do others really see us where it? To us, we notice more. But actually it takes us wearing it day in / day out to become our signature. Think about Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs. We know what they wear and it stands out in our minds. Don’t be afraid to stick with the same visuals and messaging.
4. Diversity & inclusion
I am not an expert in this space. But I am an equality supporter. And I can tell you it’s a daily commitment that needs to be baked into your strategy. From the visuals you choose, the language you select, the stories we share. We all have a huge opportunity to show what it is we care about. Big business are desperate to be seen as personable. As small business owners we are ready-made to do this by sharing and supporting important issues that matter to us. Don’t just react to something horrid into the news, really think about how you can champion others in the day-to-day.
5. If in doubt – font it
Yup. If you didn’t know already fonts are our fave. It is one of the easiest ways to keep you branding consistent and to convey personality. Think about your favourite shops and store signs, menus, leaflets, we are bombarded with type all the time. You can grab your own for less than £20 (check out Hadrien’s font friday where he shares a fave each week). If you can’t afford a designer, a well-selected font is going to make all the difference. You can use it on socials, in your customer materials and on your website!
And my Jerry Springer final thought. Have the confidence to put yourself where you don’t belong. You don’t need to be doing the same as your peers or competitors. Standing out with strong brand values and personality is scary but rewarding. If I hadn’t taken the steps to refine my personal brand, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to be writing this for you right now. Think about where you want your brand to take you and take incremental steps every day to get there. It’s a cliche but honestly, it’s a marathon not a sprint.
All that’s left for me to say is I hope you have a fantastic rest of your week. What don’t you ask a friend or colleague to tell you a little of their story? You’ll be amazed at what you learn.
P.S. You can buy Lucy’s books Hype Yourself or Brand Yourself (preorder) at any good bookshop!