By Lola-Coker Esu
When you hear the word ‘Brand’ what comes to mind? Your brand is the way people perceive you or your business. Fortunately, you can guide that perception by sending out a clear message to your audience. There are two types of Branding, Personal Branding and Business Branding.
Let’s talk about Personal Branding. This is the Branding that most people are confused about. But it is also very important for a lot of reasons. Kim Kardashian is a Brand, Richard Mofe Damijo (RMD) is a Brand, TY Bello is a Brand, Lola Coker-Esu is a Brand. What comes to mind when you see these names? For example, for RMD you’ll think Actor first, then politician, then unofficial model. For TY Bello, her photography comes to mind and maybe music. For me, my Brand will flow fluidly from author, entrepreneur and speaker, depending how well you engage with me.
Let me tell you about the branding mistake I made. When I started out, my name was lcokeresu on Instagram and mzlovalee on twitter and periscope. As my audience increased, it became harder to share my various social media handles with them so I decided to make it consistent by changing the name of all my social media handles to LolasTips. I changed my name on Periscope first because I was more active on there and everyone loved it and thought it was ideal, after all I was coming on there daily to share entrepreneurship tips with them. I didn’t have a problem changing my twitter handle but I had a bit of a problem changing my Instagram handle.
LolasTips was taken on Instagram though it was an abandoned account. So I took a page off Cici, the Instagram Guru’s book and figured if she can have underscores in her handle and have thousands of followers, so can I. Obviously at that point, I was aspiring to grow my audience like her. Well here lies the problem, I was not as big as her nor had a loyal audience like she did. Essentially, it was difficult for people to find me and I didn’t even know the underscore was hurting me. Fast forward to now that I know better, I also discovered that the name LolaTips was common on Twitter, most people forget to put the extra ‘s’ and then complain that they can’t find me. You see this was a problem I recently found out about, and the only reason why I know these things is because I’m building a loyal audience that’s pushing through to find me, but let me know how challenging it was.
Personal Branding is not just about your social media appearance, that’s just one part of it. You have to be consistent and have a clean brand. Do you have a logo, do you have a website, or a blog, do you live-stream, do you go out to speak? Are you the same person all the time or do you confuse people? Are you authentic, or do you try to look or sound like someone else? It’s good to have a mentor or admire people but don’t get lost in your admiration. Do you have a message that you pass along every time? For me, it is entrepreneurship with a focus on mothers and women; so no matter what I’m doing or saying I will talk about entrepreneurship or the struggles that working or enterprising women face.
What is your message and who are your audience?
You can’t create a functional brand if you don’t know this. Once you know this, you need a compelling message or an elevator pitch. You need to be able to introduce yourself in a succinct way that tells people about your brand, that is also easy to remember. It’s okay if this evolves because you will evolve as well. In your pitch, you must address who you are, what you do, who you cater to and your solution to their pain points.
For example, here is my elevator pitch:
“My name is Lola Coker Esu” (who I am), I help female entrepreneurs build their businesses with confidence (what I do), so they can live the life they truly desire (solution)”. My message to my audience is “you don’t have to settle, I can help you live your passion and purpose and show you how to keep the home”. I take real life problems that my clients face, and offer them a solution.
So, when people hear your name, what comes to their mind?