Few entrepreneurs working in today’s business landscape need convincing of the importance of branding. Even the most inveretare stick in the mud who refuses to embrace digital technology, sneers at social media and thumbs their nose at digital marketing incorporates some element of branding into their business stratagem, even if it’s just a rudimentary logo or their choice of color in the signage that hangs above their shop door. If you’re an aspiring blogger, YouTuber, Instagrammer or social media influencer you are your brand, and with any luck that brand will be your livelihood. But the likes of Zoella and Jamie Genevieve didn’t build their enterprises without an awareness of the importance of branding and that ever elusive cool factor.
While many influencers unconsciously incorporate some element of branding into their activities, it’s unlikely that they approach their branding with the zeal and structured approach of a small business. Nonetheless, if your follow count is in the doldrums and your content isn’t getting the traction that it needs, maybe you should give a little more thought to your branding. Do you have a logo? A slogan? Custom design magnets in the shape of your face? If not, why not?
The cool factor
The cool factor is an integral part of building any brand. Take a look at Coca Cola adverts and see the plethora of ways they’ve stayed cool and relevant. If you’re hoping to cultivate a sizeable following in the digital realm, cool isn’t just a novelty. Cool is being current, and that rolls into currency! Only by presenting yourself as an expert in your field, and up with the current trends can your content gain the traction.
What is your niche?
Knowing your niche is integral to success. What kind of cool are you trying to embody? What sport of market are you pitching to? Uber hip twenty somethings? “Still got it” thirty or forty somethings? Parents who don’t agree that supporting a little life should be an impediment to your cool factor? Each will have their own idea of what “cool” is, what it looks like and how one should aspire to it. You won’t get anywhere trying to be all things to all people but there’s real value in knowing what your target audience wants and providing it for them.
What are your values?
It’s not enough to want to cultivate a following, you should use your social media presence as a platform on which to share your values. They can be a cause that you believe passionately in, a campaign for justice against a particular social wrong, or a set of ideals you think people should embody. It’s important to have belief in something outside of yourself if you expect people to embrace you and your brand.
Follow trends or create your own?
It’s a fine line to walk, between following established trends, redefining the parameters of what’s cool by being a trendsetter. Just look at this Huffington Post article ripping Vogue’s assessment of what it takes to be cool to shreds, and you can see the dangers that lie in trying too hard to be trendy. It’s usually a good idea to straddle the line. Keep an eye on trending topics and capitalizing on them by using subtle differences. This will inevitably distinguish you for your peers, and keep you relevant with the times.