Valentine's: Lesson In How To Brand Yourself

What does your brand have in common with Valentine’s Day?  Hopefully not much, because Valentine’s Day has a branding problem!

Every good brand experience starts with a business that really knows who they are, the value they offer, and who they help.

But maybe your brand is like Valentine’s Day.  A bit misunderstood.

This year, let us help you get some.  Brand love that is.

It’s not you, it’s me.

Time to break up with your branding problem.  One of the first signs of a branding problem is that people don’t understand what you do or don’t see why it should matter to them.

Valentine’s Day has both.

Valentine’s Day may be one of the few words that evokes a strong reaction from men and women, young and old, single and attached.  But a quick poll tells us there are some major discrepancies in people’s brand experience with Valentine's Day.

Will You Be My Valentine?

You want people to fall in love with your brand. However, creating brand love doesn't come from a formula, it comes from creating a relationship.

Like any great relationship, brand love takes time to develop, an authentic investment and picking the right partner.

Finding the right Valentine isn’t that different than finding the right clients.  You have to know who you are looking for.

  • Getting in front of the right clients is the first step in securing their business. You're never going to find Mr./Ms. Right at the the bar if you're really just a homebody. Just like you're never going to find your dream client if you aren't aligning yourself with the right strategic partners.

  • Why pretend to be something you're not? If you love cheap beers, hot dogs and bleacher seats, OWN IT. Is fine dining and fancy dressing more your thing? OWN IT. Great brands are built on authenticity. Don't waste your time trying to be something you're not looking for who you think you "should" be with.

  • There are plenty of fish in the sea. When it comes to clients, are you looking to be the affordable option? The long term investment? Look for clients whose thinking align with your brand.

  • Show Up. Don’t settle for good enough. Once you realize who you are and who you’re looking for, stop chasing the people you think “should” be your clients. In the long run, it’s going to be the wrong fit.

Self Love Is The Best Love

In order to know who you want to attract you need to really know yourself. Nothing is worse than a brand who doesn’t really get what makes them awesome.

Imagine picking up your Valentine only to find an insecure mess or an overcompensating ego.

Own what makes you awesome and be okay with what makes you not so awesome. You can only do so much.

If you’ve been in the wrong client relationships, now is the time to finally sever ties.

When the right client comes along, you will be ready to jump in with enthusiasm. This transformation won’t happen overnight, but to get the right client it’s worth the hard work.

  • You might need to do some hard work on yourself before you’re ready for your true love. From brand identity to website copy to Pinterest campaigns, a good brand needs to be able to constantly connect with their clients and communicate their value.

  • You might need to date around until you better understand who you are or who you’re looking for. Try offering different services and working with different clients until you find your sweet spot. Whatever you do, try not to take it too seriously. The more pressure you put on finding the right answer the harder it will be to recognize it when it comes along.

  • You might need to get comfortable with your single-self until you’re ready. Not everyone is ready to start a branding project. If you just got out of a huge project or aren’t sure where you want to go, it might be best to wait before jumping into a new brand initiative.

Whatever stage you find yourself in, there are no shortcuts in love or in branding.

Finding Love In An Online World

Putting yourself out there can be scary. You don’t want to be plain or generic so you take risks in order to stand out. But take too many risks and you’ve gone too far.

There’s a fine line between pepto-bismol candy hearts and standing in the rain with a boom box over your head.

In the old days, when you were interested in someone, you called, sent flowers and a card, and then asked them on a date.

Now it’s not so clear.

Navigating the digital world is a far cry from the handwritten notes and candy grams I remember. There is #FOMO, #YOLO, and snapchats - OH MY!

Speaking of fancy hashtags and constantly changing social networks, where do you find your ideal client in an online world. Do you tweet? Text? Pin? or Poke?

Whether you love or hate this new digital dynamic, get used to it and learn the rules because the Internet isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Embrace the positive effects of the Internet; it can connect you with a whole new pool of clients that you never would have been able to reach before.

Embrace your digital marketing and have some fun with it, but don’t get sucked in by peer pressure. Remember, you know who you are and what clients your are looking for.

If you start to waver in your identity, just check your branding guide. That’s what it’s there for. It has all the answers you need to stay true to who you are.

Love Is About Giving, Not Receiving

You can’t force your website visitors to convert to paying clients or your current clients to become brand evangelists. Even if you could make them love you, it wouldn’t be true love.

Don’t be more concerned with what you’re getting than what you are giving.

Regardless of what other people are doing, you are capable of controlling what you do. And what you should be doing is adding value - at all times. For current clients, potential clients, or for anyone else you meet.

Surprise your clients by going out of your way to show them how much you love them. Or spread the brand love to other companies if you find yourself single this Valentine’s Day.

More than a Hallmark Holiday.

This year we are making the most of our Valentine’s Day with the launch of our latest client campaign. A 2 month online video contest to support their favorite nonprofit and promote the importance of oceanic health.

For our Valentine's Day Launch, we are asking you to bring a reusable water bottle to your workout.  Single use plastics are one of the largest factors to poor ocean health.  We want you to see how such an easy thing can make such a big difference.

In an online world, we’re choosing to share the love and use technology to make a difference.  We invite you to join us or to help us spread the word!


Erin Brennan

Erin Brennan is a Creative Consultant in San Francisco, CA who helps you grow your income + impact by standing out from the competition and connecting with your clients through compelling brand messages and strategic marketing. {Creating Brand Strategy, Brand Management, Business Strategy, and Strategic Marketing Plans, Squarespace Design}