“You have to set up the narrow parameters that you work in, and then within those, give yourself just enough room to be free and play.”
Danielle Krysa – Creative Block: Advice and Projects from 50 Successful Artists (public library)
I’ve been a bit obsessed with habits lately. Specifically, the ones that help me achieve an ideal work/life balance, keep me inspired and make me a better mentor for my clients and students.
When we think of habits, we tend to think about personal routines such as coffee breaks or sleep first. It’s easy to forget that we have (and can build and modify) brand and business habits. As a designer and user experience-obsessed person, I tend to give my clients advice on how to keep up with branding their businesses and build momentum after launching or re-branding a product or service.
The first thing you need to identify is the resistance you might feel towards creating effective branding habits. I’ve heard it all:
- “I’m not creative enough!”
- “I don’t know where to start!”
- “I don’t have the time!”
You need to put those thoughts aside and take a proactive approach. Create a branding habit one step at a time:
1. Let’s go back to the basics.
Remember your first day as a business owner? That day, you became the founder of your vision and dream. I encourage you to grab some post it notes, index cards (I’ve used magnetic notes on a metallic surface) and make three lists:
- Who are you?
- Who you are not?
- Where do you want to be next?
Each of these thoughts are related to your brand message. This is a good exercise to do every once in a while to revisit your initial value proposition and see how you compare in your current state.
2. Where is your audience?
Your audience already has some habits you should identify, so that you can put your knowledge and solutions to their services. Don’t fall into platforms or mediums that are trendy just because everyone’s using them. Your audience may not be there and you’ll find yourself making a lot of noise in an empty forest. Specially true for sites for hotel and booking like Escape Cheap
3. Be consistent with your voice, amplify your user experience.
You might have heard this dozens of times already, but consistency is key when building brand awareness and positioning yourself in a place of recognition and admiration. You’ve done the work to recognize your audience and identify the brand elements you’ll build your proposition upon. It’s time to spread magic brand dust all over your marketing ecosystem and reach out.
You want to look and sound like the same person in every type of communication you put out there to keep your audience engaged. Don’t confuse them with fancy vocabulary or the way you present information. This is key, and will allow you to keep your audience engaged.
4. Stop talking, start doing.
We’ve all been there. We want our business to be perfect, and want it to blow everybody’s mind, but we’re just not there yet. For technical, financial, personal or social reasons, we have not taken a leap of faith and put our ideas out there.
The thing is, it won’t magically happen anytime soon. You need to stop waiting for affirmation or approval from that loved one or mentor and just start getting your hands dirty and work on it.
There are free tools and professionals out there that will allow you to reach that new level, you just need to commit and do it.
5. Set aside half an hour a day
And start creating something for your brand. It can be as small as a banner or uploading pictures to your Instagram feed. Choose one small task that you wouldn’t normally work on and use it to benefit your business by cultivating your brand and putting yourself in front of your audience.
You’ll start to create effective branding habits that will enrich your business, build with your audience and make you less anxious and overwhelmed when talking to anyone about your business (tweet this!). You’ll slowly build up a structure that will have a personality, voice and message so strong that you won’t have to think twice when delivering any type of communication on behalf of your business.