I am new to the Shout it Out team, so I thought I would start this blog by introducing myself.
My name is Paige Langenderfer and I support Shout It Out Design clients’ written needs. From web content, blogging, social media messaging, email messaging and more – I am here to help you tell your story!
You can read more about my writing background, but for now I want to get to how my background connects to this blog. Don’t worry if it doesn’t make sense now, it will.
I live in Columbus, IN with my husband, David, and our daughters, Quincy and Amelia. We have three dogs, two cats, 45 goats, 50 sheep and a llama named Bob.
Why is my llama named Bob important? You need to know about Bob because this blog is about business brand/personality and Bob is an important part of the personality/brand of my family business – PAQ’D Meats (the letters stand for the first letter in each of our names, Paige, Amelia, Quincy and David).
Does your business have a brand identity? Let me just give you a quick refresher on the importance of focusing on your brand.
Brand identity is:
There are numerous companies that excel at brand personality like Apple, Levi’s, Coca-Cola. We know these brands because they know who they are and why they exist and they spend millions of dollars making sure that we know the answers to those questions as well.
You don’t have to spend millions of dollars on brand personality, but you do have to spend some time. Your brand personality is the face that interacts with the world, so you will need to be sure it accurately communicates who you are.
The first step in branding is to decide who you are. Think back to when you started your business. You had a dream, and with hard work, long nights and perseverance you have made that dream a reality. Now is the time to think back to why you started your business. What were your goals, what did you hope to accomplish, what product or service were you providing?
Make highlighting your priorities, specialties, and your emotional appeal the framework of your brand identity and the rest will fall into place. You are selling your unique brand, not just a product or service. It should reflect who you really are.
This is where Bob comes in. When my husband and I started our business, we wanted to focus on providing high quality meat from our small family farm. Our focus was not on quantity, but on providing a quality product. We wanted to show how much we loved these animals and how the process was a family project, with even our two young daughters joining in to get the chores done. Everything we communicate with our audience goes back to those values. Bob is a mascot of sorts. Anytime you drive past our farm, Bob is the most visible animal because of his insanely long neck and his generally lanky appearance and movements. We often feature Bob in our social media posts because people are fascinated by him, and he has been a wonderful conversation starter. Bob is the face of our small, hard-working, sometimes quirky family farm.
American Express posted a great blog about brand personality on its website. The blog featured a quote by Detavio Samuels, president of marketing agency GlobalHue-Detroit and author of Exist No More: The Art of Squeezing the Most Out of Life.
“People connect to the people and things they believe in,” Samuels said. “So, as a brand, you are either connecting based on showcasing a similar belief system or you are providing them with new beliefs based on a better future they choose to embrace.”
The blog continued quoting Samuels saying, “The first step is figuring out your own beliefs. Once that’s achieved, then it’s simply about finding innovative ways to bring that belief system to life. Apple believes in the notion of simplicity in design, so their products are designed to be as intuitive and efficient as possible.”
Your customers have found you and are loyal to you for a reason. They look to you for your unique knowledge and perspective. Be sure to focus on that fact when communicating with the public. You will likely gain additional like-minded customers by doing so.
We know that our customers are not people out looking for a deal on cheap meat. They are interested in locally raised beef, lamb and goat. They want to know how they are raised and why we do what we do. That is why our communications focus on daily activities at the farm and articles by experts about meat and livestock.
Choosing your voice means choosing the tone of your business communications. Is your business affordable or luxurious? Are you funny or serious? Do you provide antiques or modern furniture? Are your products for women, men, children or everyone? The great part about your voice is that you don’t have to pick just one. Many companies have blended voices, they might be funny but professional or innovative but realistic.
For our business, we knew that we would never compete with the stores that offer meat at the lowest prices. We knew our focus had to be on providing high quality meat and the fact that we work together as a family to take care of these wonderful animals. Again, Bob helps us do this by demonstrating how much we care about the safety of our animals. If you didn’t know, llamas actually serve as protection animals. Day and night Bob patrols the fences looking and listening for threats. If he sees or hears something concerning, he will run toward the animals crying. They immediately listen to him and run to the barn for safety.
The American Express blog featured another excellent section about the importance of hiring the right people. The article quoted Jason Robbins, CEO of ePromos Promotional Products.
“People do business with people, not companies. Humanize your brand by making your employees visible. Include staff photos on your website, blog and social media channels, and use them in your videos and marketing materials,” Robbins said. “Your brand personality naturally emerges when you bring your employees to the forefront.”
Once you know who you are and what you are trying to accomplish, the next step is to communicate with the public. This is where effective content marketing is vital. Will you communicate via social media, web page, email, text, etc.? How often should you communicate? What fonts, colors and design elements are you using? This can seem overwhelming and that is where the Shout it Out Team shines. We can partner with you to help you answer those questions get you started communicating with your audience.
With our business, we kept it simple at first and plan to expand as we better understand our goals and audience. We started by simply creating a Facebook page and posting a couple of times a week. As we have learned more about what our audience is interested in, our posts have become more focused and feature more photos and videos (as requested by customers).
Building a brand identity is all about differentiation, making your brand visible, relevant, unique and engaging. Time spent focusing on your brand will always pay off. Remember, if you lose sight of your identity, your customers will too.