Do you feel like a rock star when it comes to your brand?
I ask, because it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately as I work on my own brand (new website and totally new look coming soonish!) and help clients work on theirs.
I had the opportunity of a lifetime last week to have some photos made with Monica True, a photographer who specializes in high fashion editorial photography, and Myken Garcia, an incredibly talented hair and makeup artist, all under the thoughtful direction of Sarah Ancalmo, my friend, client, and creative director.
It was, in a word, amazing. Two+ hours in the makeup chair, several hours and outfits shooting with Monica resulted in some really stunning photos that made me feel like a glamorous movie star, and will definitely make people sit up and take notice when they visit my new website.
But the real power behind these photos isn’t so much about the fact that they’re beautiful images, that I look pretty freaking hot (just sayin’), or even that I will look more professional on a web page with excellent photos.
The REAL power comes from the hours Sarah and I put into considering the reason, the story, the hook behind the photos. It’s going to set me apart from any competition simply by being so unique and memorable.
That’s what a good brand should do for you, and it’s what your brand voice (your copy, your blogs, your tweets and social media posts) should do for you.
I always come back to one of Sarah’s best lines: Your brand is like a good bra; it should lift and separate you from the competition.
It’s a fine line to walk between a hook and a gimmick.
Think about some of your favorite internet personalities, and chances are, they have a hook (also known as a unique selling proposition) that helps them stand out from the crowd.
They all do (roughly) the same thing, but they all have VERY different hooks to get you thinking about them and remembering them. But none of these are gimmicks—they’re all an integral part of who each woman is and how she got to where she is now.
Derek Halpern was doing some market research on his facebook page the other day and he asked for people to share why they follow him if they originally (or still) find him annoying. (If you don’t know, Derek is pretty loud and sounds like he’s from Jersey.) The answers were pretty fascinating. I personally don’t find him that annoying but I was won over by his excellent content if I needed any help getting past the accent. Other people talked about the fact that he reads academic papers on psychology and applies them to business, how he’s a chess and poker player (strategic thinker), how he’s run several very successful niche blogs, and other things.
Any of those could be Derek’s hook, but I personally think it’s the fact that he is a little brash, loud, maybe obnoxious to some—yet is talking about serious business and psychology topics. A Jersey boy talking academic psychology and applying it to business? That’s a hook.
So how do you find your hook? There’s no one-size-fits-all formula. It’s a process. Hiring Sarah helps a lot. 😉 But here’s what I’m thinking about hooks while elbows deep in the process:
I’d love to know if you’ve put any thought into this for your own brand. Do you have a hook concept that informs the rest of your brand? Let me know all about it in the comments below.