A usual side effect of using business branding is that the progress will be slower compared to personal branding. It's harder for your business to really take off and become popular with the public.
(Side note: Business branding is when your business is a whole separate brand from yourself. Like "Apple & Co" instead of "Ana Lewis".)
One, it takes time for people to warm up to your brand or ANY brand. You can speed up the process by being endorsed by influencers or celebrities or getting featured in magazines, but it will be slow at the start. This is normal because trust is something that can't be manufactured instantly. Earning the customers' trust requires time.
Two, people trust people more, not man-made entities. When the customer doesn't know who the owner of the brand is, they'd think that there's nothing stopping this unknown business from basically cheating them out of their money. The brand doesn't seem trustworthy or approachable when it's FACELESS.
Are you hiding behind your brand?
One of the reasons why I chose to create the Narrativity brand (instead of an Aina brand) is because I didn't want to be vulnerable. I really didn't like the idea of putting myself out there, so I thought I'd hide behind the Narrativity name and no one will know who I am.
But now after some months in business, I realized that HIDING MYSELF behind my business is really detrimental to earning my customers' trust.
It's fine to use business branding and create a brand that's totally separate from yourself. But choosing to HIDE behind your brand because you're scared? That comes with a cost.
So what I've been doing to make my brand more trustworthy and approachable is by HUMANIZING my brand.
You have to humanize your brand to make it more approachable.
You have to gain trust by humanizing your brand, or basically making it more PERSONAL. There's a few practical ways to do it:
- Use your own name when you're interacting with your audience, behind the scenes or otherwise. There's a lot of power in your name. Your audience or customers will feel safe knowing that you won't screw them over, because your identity is already out there. In my newsletters, I always put 'Aina' as my signature so that people get to become familiar with my name.
- Introduce your own face into your brand. Hear me out: I HATE having my photos taken. I'm just not camera-friendly. And for the longest time, I only used the Narrativity logo as my profile photo. BUT, BUUUUT, after starting to use a photo of my face as my profile photo, I've discovered that people are more willing to respond to me and buy my e-guide. The difference is really significant. A normal photo of your face (nothing fancy) that you can use as profile photo or post on social media will make people more inclined to trust you.
- Surprise your customers with something thoughtful. Every week or whenever you can, do something unexpected for one of your customers, just to show that you care as the owner. It doesn't have to be big, it just has to be a complete surprise. A small bag of cookies, a mini sewing kit, a lovely comment on your customer's Instagram photo. You can be creative with what you give, but don't forget to sign it with your name.
The only person that can really make your brand take off is you. There needs to be a balance between your business brand and your own identity. You've got to inject a bit of yourself and your personality into your business for customers to see and trust.
In a way, I know it takes courage to actually put yourself out there for customers to see. But sometimes we gotta step a little bit out of our comfort zone to see results.
So it's okay. Take a few small steps. Focus on genuine connections. And I promise you, your brand will start to take off and you'll feel more confident than ever. :)