How to not be vanilla
I was talking to my good friend the other day and she suddenly declared that her business was just too Vanilla. She felt as if she wasn’t being seen as anything new or different and was just another business coach. Immediately I protested that she was anything but meh and I couldn’t believe the wonderful value she offered her crowd, but then, I know what she does and what she is all about.
I love her quirky sense of silliness and forthright hit it head on and no pussyfooting aroundedness. She gets things done and gets other people to get things done. No excuses. She’s brilliant! I know this, and her loyal followers know this but does all this lovely practical gogettedness and approachable NO fluffiness come across to people who have never heard of her before? Maybe not.
The thing is that we do judge a book by its cover, especially in the split second we flick by an ad, or land on a new website. Making the best first impression on new peeps is even more important as SO many different messages are bombarding us ALL the time. That first impression could be the difference between an uh, that’s nice and an oooh, I love that! I know which one I’ll stay to discover more about.
Content is certainly number one, but that includes visual content and without that singing what you are all about you are missing a trick.
So how can you avoid your business looking meh and turn it into a headturner? Here are 4 ways you and your business can avoid looking vanilla and get your customers to get that ‘ooooh’ feeling before they even start to explore your brand. Make your business stand out!
Don’t suffer from compareitis
This is a tricky one. I too am guilty of finding another graphic designer, teacher of beautiful graphics techniques and website building online and collapsing in a heap of indecision in a corner. Suddenly my work seems average, my website looks terrible and I wonder why anybody would EVER want to work with me.
It can be good to see what the competition are doing but their business isn’t your business. They are aiming at a different crowd of people and not selling what you are selling the way you do it.
There are LOADS of beautiful cushions for sale on Etsy but they won’t all look good on your sofa. Pay attention to what makes your products super you and stick to it.
Take a couple of the unique characteristics of your product and make them visual
If you sell handcrafted jewellery inspired by the natural world, then take an element of your designs – the imperfect surface of the stones or the colour of the wood and use it across your marketing.
If you have a coaching business working with mums in business and you offer a very close one to one focused experience then try and replicate that warm, safe feeling you bring to your clients. Use warm colours and close up pictures that focus on the emotion and thoughtfulness you inspire.
If you sell outdoors experiences, think about what people really love about them. What gets them excited, how do they feel after the experience? Show that high point and get your new audience to really feel what the experience will do for them.
I took the imaginative story telling of my illustrations and graphic design and turned them into my little fairy, splashes of bright colour that make a visual come to life and a swirly font that could easily belong to a kids storybook.
Don’t forget yourself
Whether you sell beautiful objects, offer a service or teach, the most powerful point of difference in your branding is YOU.
People love a good story and will more easily connect with your products if they have character.
I recently rebranded the Business Beautician. The old brand just didn’t reflect me at all, it told people what I did, had some nice colours and fonts, but little else. And I struggled to move the business forwards. So… back to the drawing board. My new branding was shy to come out, but now that it is emerging, it is finally growing into something that is truly uniquely and wonderfully me. Yay!
Now all of my marketing includes sparkles, fairies, lots of colour and magical transformations. Marketing is easier, my ads get more clicks, more signups and my business is growing. ALL because I put the kind of mad silly childish and straightforward view I have on things into the visuals.
When my sister looked at my website she said, ‘wow, that’s intense’. That’s when I knew it was just right as that’s how she views me too.
Keep on doing it
Use elements of your style everywhere to really make your business stand out. In your social media, your website, your advertising, your emails and everything in between.
The more I use my little Business Beautician fairy the more ideas I get – I’m now branching out into more fairy stories, which is extremely and completely ME. My branding now feels like it’s all mine to play with.