"Respect should be earned by actions, and not acquired by years. "
- Frank Wright
The best kinds of experience in life are the ones that leave a personal touch, or memory behind. Whether a film, book or a song, feeling a sense of connection helps elevate the impact felt on people. When you think of a business, you think of terms such as finances, profits, losses and sales, but an important aspect of business that’s often brushed over is branding.
Personal branding is a process that involves finding your uniqueness and expanding it your business and reputation. A brand is much more than a logo, some colours and a website, it is an identity.
Cultivating this sort of identity is important particularly in case of small, home-owned business. Speaking to two inspirational businesswomen, we delve into the world of brands and explore the important role played by brand identity in making these women succeed in their unique fields.
Meg Muir, 55, from Leeds, began a new chapter of her life in the past year. She began her business as a folk artist, following her passion for painting on glassware. Talking about the beginning of her business, she says, “ At my age, starting a new business may not seem like the wisest thing to do, yet here I am trading in my first year as an entrepreneur.”
Meg is under no qualms that this isn’t a risky decision. She says, “ I hadn’t even picked up a paintbrush since school and now I’m trading as a folk artist. Is it madness or sanity? Financially, madness. Emotionally, sanity! I am looking for the second bite of the career cherry and trying to do something that I love which is to paint on glass.”
In Meg’s experience, the best way to curb the mounting financial madness is by building a brand identity. She says, “Not only is it professional but building a business into a brand means that it has more chances of being something people will recognise and recollect.”
Speaking of her brand, Meg says, “ My brand has a folk art feel with strong colours and my favourite flower the poppy. I also wanted a brand which represented my Christian values, and I came up with the tagline “From Heart to Hand”, as I paint from the heart, each piece I paint is painted with love care and dedication.”
She adds, “ I believe my branding has evolved since I started a year ago. If I grow as a business, I know this brand is strong and will grow with me. In fact, in my case its already happening, as I am now a known name in the industry for finely painted glassware.”
As someone with a blooming business and brand, Meg reaches out to aspiring entrepreneurs with advice, drawn from a very personal place. She says I would strongly advise anyone to take time to get your branding right, I wasted money and had to do it twice, so think about your products, services and what you want your brand says about you.“
Right now her business goes by the name Beckie Melvin Weddings but the young entrepreneur reveals that is name is about to change soon. Talking about her evolving business, she says “Last year I rebranded & learned a brand isn’t just a logo on your stationery & a pretty website. Who knew?!”
Before the rebrand, Beckie reveals that despite having a brand name and putting in a lot of effort she wasn’t getting any business. But the rebrand helped her refocus on her aims as a business owner.
She says, “ It suddenly became so clear who I was aiming my business at, and knowing the demographic allowed me to cater my services to attract my ideal client. It’s been an absolute game-changer, not even an exaggeration!”
Beckie’s current game plan is anchored simply on putting out a clear message, she tries to be clear about services so that people online know who’s “speaking” even before they see her name.
She’s not satisfied just yet though. Hoping to further refine her brand, Beckie is soon changing the name of her business to Bad Ass Weddings. She explains, “ I already have a group on Facebook for brides– “The badass brides club” – so my business name needs to reflect this. Once I’ve changed this over the rebrand will be complete & the world is my oyster.”
Both Meg and Beckie offer exceptional services, catered personally so that customers have an experience that’s second to none. What they both want is a business that stands out and a brand that represents not just their entrepreneurial outings, but who they are as people. This is best put by Meg, who says “ I care about people and love what I do so Meg Muir is the brand”
When people think of a brand, they think of attractive designs and catchy words to bring customers into your business. But a personal brand is so much more; it’s not just about the business it’s about the values, vision and love an individual has for their business.
A brand isn’t a business, it’s a person who loves what they are doing, a person who wants to spread this love through the services they provide. A brand is a beautifully personal thing, and everyone needs this kind of personal touch in every aspect of life.