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WiT Stories: Perfecting and Promoting Your Brand

Tips for Creating and Building a Personal Brand to Promote Your Business Digitally


by KIARA IMANI, Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment Board Member and Co-Founder, LikeU


Creating a strong brand with high visibility is one of the best things you can do if you run your own business. But establishing your brand identity, coming up with an exciting elevator pitch, and learning how to promote your business effectively takes time and practice. It’s easier said than done.


If you’re feeling imposter syndrome or fear of failure — you’re not alone. Here are some steps you can take to empower yourself and market your business.


IDENTIFY YOUR STORY

Do you know what your brand is? 

In the age of social media, we all have a digital footprint that people use to define us online. Businesses are no different, people often draw conclusions based on the way a brand presents itself digitally. Additionally, in order to create an unforgettable brand, it’s important to consider how others perceive your brand and the emotions it evokes. 

When thinking about your brand, ask yourself these questions: 

  • Who are your primary and secondary audiences? 

  • What is the clear messaging behind your product?

  • What are your brand’s values and your goals? 

  • What do people feel when they encounter your merchandise?

  • What is the common thread you can integrate into all of your offerings?

There are many excellent examples of a successful brand. Take Mattel’s Barbie —a brand built so well that people immediately recognize the color, song, and look associated with the doll line. The common thread of your brand story may be parenting, education, empowerment, STEM, sustainability — whatever is at the core of your brand, people should be able to see it in everything your brand puts out in the world. 


DEVELOP YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH

Once you feel confident about your brand story, it’s time to think through your “elevator pitch.” This is a 30-second version of your story that you should always have at the ready. Here are a few things you should keep in mind as you develop the pitch:

  • Keep your pitch relevant to the situation. You should always start your pitch with your name and a relevant title summing up what your company or brand does. Your brand may have many offerings or facets to its brand identity, but again, it’s important to focus on that common thread that ties everything together. Don’t just list off all your brand’s impressive accomplishments — this can get overwhelming and confusing for whoever you’re pitching to. 

  • It’s okay to attach an “ask” to your pitch. It’s important to be clear with yourself on what it is you actually want for your business. What do you want to get out of pitching your brand? Are you looking for new intellectual property (IP) to potentially license? Are you seeking more ways to implement STEM in your toys? Do you just want to connect with better warehouses to combat the global supply chain issue? Whatever it is, ask for what you want directly. 

  • Don’t be afraid to show your excitement. In the business world, there’s often a belief that you must always be reserved and professional. But when you’re genuinely excited about your work, it’s more than okay to share that. That excitement can be contagious and can actually help you more effectively share what you’re about.

  • Preparation and practice matter. Before sharing your pitch publicly, write it out and practice it. Ask a friend or colleague to listen to your pitch and provide feedback. Be open to criticism, and don’t jump to the conclusion that anyone who doesn’t like your pitch is trying to tear you down. 

SPREAD THE WORD

Once you feel good about your brand story and elevator pitch, it’s time to start sharing it with the world. Social media is one of the best ways to share your brand story, but social media can be intimidating, and it can even feel awkward at times to brainstorm posts. But those visiting your social media profiles are eager to find out more about your brand. They want to better understand what your brand offers and if you don’t post frequently, they will end up drawing their own conclusions. 


It can be helpful to set goals and create useful social media habits. For example, a good benchmark to follow is to actively engage on at least three of the major platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok, or Twitter. Decide the platform you would like to use based on the audience of each platform. Once you’ve decided on the platforms you’d like to use, decide on your posting cadence. Will you post once a day or a few times a week? This will depend on your personal bandwidth and overall goals.


Another helpful tool for self-promotion is email. This medium is key when there are specific people or organizations, you’re eager to share your personal story and elevator pitch with. If you can’t find the email address of the person you’re looking for, one thing you can try is guessing the email based on the organization’s general email address format. For example, many organizations style their addresses as first.last@company.com. If you do sleuth your way into an individual’s inbox like this, make sure not to spam everyone else in their organization with your pitch. Do your research and find one or two people who you want to reach out to. 


Finally, don’t be afraid to look in paid PR options to help you with your self-promotion. It can be challenging to keep up with social media and email hunting on top of everything else you do. Although paid PR can be expensive, it may be worth it for you to have someone dedicated to making people aware of your brand and what you’re working on.


DON’T GET DISCOURAGED

Throughout this process, you may often find yourself wondering if what you have to offer is really worth promoting. Of course, you will fail at times — we all do at some point in our lives. But being afraid of failure can drastically hold you back. It can lead to feeling like everything you create or put out in the world needs to be perfect. And that perfectionism can lead to being frozen. 


To move past this, try setting time limits on your projects. For example, if you want to share an Instagram post today, tell yourself you only have 10 minutes to get it done. At the end of that 10 minutes, put out whatever you have created, whether or not it’s perfect. Remember: Practice makes progress, not perfection.


Putting your business out there can feel challenging. But if you don’t engage in promotion, no one else will be able to witness the greatness your company has to offer. Empower yourself to tell it to the world. 


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