My hubby and I enjoy visiting wineries for which there are aplenty in our area. While you have your basic gems — red, white, rosé — each winery offers distinctive flavorings based on environment, soil, air quality, etc. In other words, you won’t think: “This wine tastes like the one I had at another winery.” Not all wines are harvested equally.

Generally, people go to a winery for the wine, yet many of the wineries offer live entertainment.

On one such occasion, we were sipping wine while a musician began playing the guitar and belting out somewhat familiar tunes. His guitar playing was pretty good. His vocals, well, not as good as talented as the guitar performance. I cringed because I knew the songs and how they were supposed to sound. I remember the original versions. The musician was merely a copyist, and he, sadly, fell flat.

As writers, entrepreneurs, business owners (and yes, musicians), our passion is in our work. We build our story of who we are and what we represent on our uniqueness. When we try to “copy” others — building a platform, our marketing, our offerings and products — we fall short because we shortchange ourselves.

Think about it: with what you do, would you prefer your audience to relate what you do to you or to someone you remind them of?

Why should we start simple in shaping our brand identity? What four things do we need to apply to our brand identity?


Carving out our brand identity

Being ourselves, sticking to our values, doing what works for us (especially when it comes to marketing) means we’re creating our own identity. An identity that cannot accurately be copied.

After our winery visit, I pulled up the original artist to one of the songs the man played. I’d forgotten how talented the originating artist was. But part of her talent was that the song was hers. If the man we’d heard earlier had performed his own songs, maybe my opinion would have been different. Instead, he inspired me to revisit the original.

If you, or your brand, is not original, if you are a copycat version, you merely steer your audience away, even back to the original.

We’re surrounded by others, even “experts,” who tell you you have to be on social media, you have to be on TikTok, you have to take a certain course, you have to do this or that. But not all of that advice, and maybe none of it, works for you. It might even hold you back. You’re copying what others are doing instead of embracing your uniqueness.

You’re complicating what should be simple.

So start there — start simple.


4 Tips on shaping our brand identity

(1) Embrace your uniqueness. You are the original version of you. Do what you do best and focus on that first.

(2) Build your identity in a way that works for you. Have a website? Write blog posts. Share images and videos. Whatever represents you and highlights your strength.

(3) Hand out cards. Business cards are cheap and can be changed. We all either shop, grab coffee, go to the bookstore, visit wineries. When you engage in a casual conversation about your work, hand the person your card with your website address. Own your identity and share it with others in this quick and easy way.

(4) Focus on what you do and can do, not on what others are doing. Comparing ourselves to others holds us back. Stop it.

Nearly all of us experience imposter syndrome, telling ourselves we’re not the talented person we tell people we are. We all have bad days. Just remember: people are drawn to your unique talents and personality, whether you are an individual or an organization.

Your brand story starts — and ends — with you.

As writers, entrepreneurs, and business owners, our passion is in our work. When we try to copy what others are doing as we build our platform, we shortchange ourselves. Being ourselves, sticking to our values, doing what works for us, means we’re creating our own identity. We start simple in shaping our brand identity. Then we embrace our uniqueness and build our identity in a way that works for us. We focus on what we can do, not what others are doing.

(Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels)

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