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Brands and branding word cloud

What's In a Brand?

Brian Austin
Brian Austin Branding

Many people would love to create their own profitable Internet business. For a variety of reasons, there's never been a better time to start than today! Yet most web businesses fail. Sure, the reasons why any business is not successful can be many and varied. However, I think there is one overriding driver above all others, that can cause a new Internet business to falter. Amazingly, to me at least, we don't often here about this topic - that in itself is a clue.

What's more, I think I know why. You see the problem I'm outlining here isn't really profitable for anyone but the Internet business owner - perhaps that's one reason you won't here much about what I'm suggesting here. Let's get started.

Big Brands Snapshot

Every business needs a unique identity more commonly referred to as a brand. Large organizations like Amazon, Wal-Mart, Tesco and Marks & Spencer for example, rely heavily on their brand reputation.

A well known and trusted brand is why without hesitation, millions of us shop at these stores. We trust brands that we're familiar with and like - one reason why so much money, time and effort is invested in creating a brand. Also, a favorite brand can play a deceptively large part in basic buying decisions, perhaps more than most of us realize.

Large organizations with established brands also have the luxury of momentum. What this means in practical terms is that they can essentially make countless organizational mistakes and still make a profit.

Contacts with UK supermarkets reliably inform me of the constant errors they make in their process of buying, yet supermarkets have such a strong hold that they can still win out constantly.

However, the power of momentum also means that most larger organizations tend to be slow and cumbersome in key decision making. One reason why largeness can sometimes be a handicap as well as a benefit.

The One, Incredibly Valuable Characteristic You Have That No One Else Can Ever Own

A new Internet business however, doesn't have the luxury - yet - of relying on a well-known and trusted brand. Yet, every small business has something of immense value that no large organization can ever have, yet perhaps many would dearly like.

The characteristic I'm referring to is also that same ingredient that can make a small business faster, leaner and fitter than large organizations with established brands.

So just what am I really talking about? Simple: if you're operating or seeking to set up a web business, I suggest that you cultivate the brand of You.

You, as the Brand

Some folks are uncomfortable with the idea that their web business should put a strong focus on them. Yet, for the reasons outlined in this article, unless you're setting up shop just selling widgets, I urge you to ignore such fears.

Appreciate that you really can and should be the brand of your web business and in fact may even be its saving grace, especially if you already have a web business that is struggling! Keep reading to discover why.

If you're a small business made up of several multiple employees, ideally, elect one person to represent and build the visible "Brand of You". Often, the business owner is ideal for this role, even if other people create the actual resources.

If you're a one- or two-person web business, your task is even easier: either one or both parties can contribute to build the individual brand that stands for your business.

  • Tip: most importantly, whichever path your choose, make sure that you build your brand with your personality, for that is how people remember who you are and what you're about.
  • Tip: don't be afraid to let your enthusiasm for your theme, current topic and entire web business shine through. Why: money just loves excitement! And you like money don't you?
  • Tip: buyers love the idea that they're dealing with a real, live person, rather than just a shopping cart. Although I can think of lots of software products that are useful to me, software is, well just software. Whereas, things that live and breathe and come with emotion really command my attention.
  • Tip: every small Internet business, in my view, should use the one totally unique, often overlooked and yet utterly valuable commodity: the power of ourselves. You see, no one else has it, and that's precisely why you should use the brand of You more than any other promotion tactic.
  • Tip: to have a profitable Internet business, we need to sell something: a product, a service, or both products and services. Problem is, if you've done your homework, they'll most likely be others also selling the same things. That of course is good news since competing websites prove that your market exists.

If we think in a conventional way, competitors create white noise - a kind of barrier to sales. However, you only truly have competitors when you DON'T use the brand of You. An individual brand of You has the one supremely valuable trait: individual personality - that helps you break through the white noise that is everywhere across the Internet.

Here's why: if you closely examine almost every successful small- or medium-sized web business, you'll see something unique about them. You'll see what can best be described as a kind of online character.

The next time you receive communications from your favorite Internet marketing guru, notice that their business is built around their personality, or their uniques angle, strengths, noted skills, and so forth.

Their individual brand may even be subtle. They may want to hide or play down that aspect of themselves.

Yet when you dig deep, you'll notice, it's there: the ever-present personal brand.

They may discuss a variety of topics, but the one reason you're prepared to listen to them is through the power of their personal brand, one that you like and respect. One that has to be earned and proven.

And that my friend, is the key to their success and yours too!

Tip: here's something else you should consider. Don't necessarily do what your favorite Internet marketing guru suggests you should do. Instead, consider modeling your business on what they actually do themselves, providing that makes sense and doesn't conflict with your values.

Conversely, if their doing something unethical, I suggest, switch off and steer clear as fast as you can.

Assuming they have passed your "are they honest" test, I'm not saying copy them, just model your success on their success.

And when you look below the surface you'll see individuality and personality - that's where the brand lives: within individuals, not systems or methods. You can copy a method precisely and still not get the result you want. Yet when you combine a winning method with the personal brand of You, magic can happen.

Building Your Own Personal Brand

What's my personal brand you might reasonably ask? Here's my answer in an elevator speech format:

We build powerful, optimized websites that serve both people and search engines for today's web.

Or, the longer version:

We build optimized websites that serve both people and search engines. Powerful, modern, mobile friendly, search engine opimized, web business solutions for mostly non-technical individuals and small businesses.

We could elaborate with: to us, a "web business solution" isn't just a smart, technically advanced, modern website; it's much more than that. Rather, a powerful website that any non-technical person can operate and manage directly themselves, combined with a support solution that includes training, one-to-one advice, downloads, software, e-books, checklists and templates.

The big benefits: clients save time and money and customers can spend more time focusing on their business rather than wrestling with web technology. How? When a customer meets a problem, we're only an email or phone call away. The support and training we give is completely unique. We add to our reservoir of website content constantly with articles like this one, combined with videos that train and tutor people in easy steps. That's a personal brand at work.

The key point here is that you too can do the same for your area. We can help you discover who you really are in terms of your personal brand.

Tip: do the work that you love to do.

Tens of thousands of personal brand topics are available. Example: imagine you know something about fly fishing (I know nothing about fly fishing but the idea is attractive). If you know something about fly fishing, you can build a profitable website theme around the theme of fly fishing and built around your own personal brand. What's more, it need not cost the earth.

Tip: the personal brand of you is the key to why competing websites can never truly become competitors. Read the previous sentence again more slowly to allow the suggestion to gel with your subconscious mind.

Let's wrap up my tips for this article:

  • Combine your Unique Service Proposition (USP) with who you are.
  • Cultivate the art of friendliness and approachability. Customers prefer to do business with people and organizations they like and know and trust.
  • Your uniqueness, knowledge and skills are your key strengths. Be yourself rather than try to copy someone else. You truly are best at being you.
  • Demonstrate enthusiasm. Why: it shows and an enthusiastic person can give life to an idea.
  • Learn from existing successful models. Use the power of Replication in combination with your unique brand: you!
  • Don't let AdSense and other PPC madness and mania run a web business based around the brand of You.
  • Use You as the brand to tap into the power of attraction to build your web business.
  • Always, always, always, make your web business fun: this is what will sustain you in the medium- and long-term.

Building a profitable web business that uses the "Brand of You" is not rocket science. Countless personal brand websites have already gone before and forged a trail that you can follow. Simply build, connect with others, serve your customers, help them solve their problems  or feel better, and you'll prosper.