How Building Your Brand Can Drive Your Income
In this post, we’ll explore how building your brand can increase your income, help you make more money and even drive additional streams of revenue.
We’re in a cost of living crisis in the UK right now. Household energy bills have increased and are set to keep increasing even more (don’t get me started on how unjust this is.) Interest rates are steadily rising. And the recent budget only seeks to make stuff better for people who are already super rich. Like billionaire level rich.
I recently attended the PRECIOUS Wealth conference, a day dedicated to the wealth and wellbeing of women of the Global Majority and I came away inspired and on a mission. Not just with brilliant tips on how to build wealth for myself, my business and my chosen causes but also to make it SUPER CLEAR how building your brand will help you make more money. Whether you run an organisation or small business or are an employee. This is for organisational brands and personal brands alike.
Because we know that this cost of living crisis is hitting some people, some groups WAY harder than others. There is already a wealth gap between people of colour, especially Black people and white people in the UK (and US too).
The gender pay gap means that in 2022, women worked for free for almost 2 months of the year (and it’s way worse in some industries). And Disabled people are at a higher risk of being in poverty despite more Disabled people being in work over the last 10 years).
Selina Flavius, author of “Black Girl Finance: Let’s Talk Money” spoke at the conference, sharing sobering stats on the gender and race pay and wealth gaps but also offering brilliant tips (like these) about how to be financially savvy even if the face of a system that works against you.
That’s why this blog post is specifically targeted at people from minoritised communities. This is about helping you use the brilliant power of brand to make more money. And before you say anything, no I do not think branding is a silver bullet that alone can help people lift themselves out of the poverty caused by inequity and structural oppression. Or terrible government policy. But it can help you build and amplify your efforts to create wealth.
NB if you don’t know what we mean by building a brand, read this first. Or just put brand building into the search bar at the top of this page.
Here’s how building a brand can drive your income:
Building your brand helps you own your intellectual property
Remember when the biggest thing for any business was to develop your USP or unique selling proposition? Well nowadays USPs, if they exist, are short-lived because it’s way easier for someone to come along and do something similar to you – But as long as you ensure that what you’re offering is still needed and relevant, it doesn’t need to be unique, as long you can make sure that people know that it’s specifically yours and you help them associate it consistently and continuously with you. And that’s exactly what building a brand does.
Note, even if you invent something unique and fabulous, you still need to make sure people know it’s yours. And keep it relevant. So Kodak, a really well-known brand in photography actually invented the digital camera. But didn’t think it would be a thing so didn’t really promote it. Then mobile phones and social media changed the game for digital photography and they didn’t really respond, so disappeared from mainstream consciousness altogether.
Oh and be sure to build your brand specifically, not the whole category. Otherwise, you will be making money for anyone who makes something vaguely similar even if vastly lower quality than you. Isn’t that right, Hoover?
At the PRECIOUS conference, Denise Nurse, keynote speaker and someone who has been a massive source of support and inspiration to Team Brand By Me, referred to this as building intellectual capital- which is basically how your ideas, knowhow, expertise and the processes that support them help you create wealth. If you associate these things to you specifically by linking them to who you are and what you stand for, it makes it way more difficult for someone else to claim them and profit from them.
It will help you stand out in a crowded, noisy marketplace
As above, USPs are finite. So whoever you are or whatever you do, there is likely someone doing something pretty similar to you. And even though we now have so many ways to get the word out about the stuff we’re doing, because there are so many options, there is a LOT of noise. So even if you are doing something amazing, really different and much-needed, it feels a bit overwhelming and daunting to metaphorically (or literally) have to shout over that noise so that people can hear about your specific offer. And in doing so, the irony is that you are adding to the very noise you are shouting over so everyone has to shout even louder. Yikes. Imagine if there was a way to cut through the noise so that you can signpost and be more visible to the people that need you the most. Oh wait, there is. It’s called branding. Brilliant branding helps you quickly and easily communicate your offer in a way that stands out from the rest so you don’t have to shout yourself hoarse in a noisy world. Instead, you can be selective about where you show up, picking the places where the people who need you hang out and making yourself visible to them. And if you’ve taken the time to make sure that you are easily recognisable to them (which is the point of branding), then they will see you, even amongst all of the noise and crowds (again either metaphorically or literally).
It increases your reach
The brilliant advantage of having so many ways to get your message out there, especially through digital and social channels, is that it is way easier to reach people at scale with little investment. I don’t say no investment because even free stuff will take time and preparation to make the most out of it. However whilst anyone can go viral with a social media post, the likelihood of doing so is a bit random whereas building a brand means that you are more likely to capture and keep people interested once you have their attention – even if you initially reach fewer people. So once people find you, it’s more likely that they’ll understand what you offer remember you because of it, recognise you if they come into contact with you again want to come back to you again and tell their friends about you. And all of this will help you increase your reach by multiplying the impact of your efforts. Which is really useful if you are a small fish in a big pond (and frankly in this world of inequity and billionaires most of us are).
It allows you to turn your active work into passive income
Active income is the money you make through your direct work and effort. So you are exchanging your time for money and it requires you to be present and do stuff to make money. Passive income is where you can make money without even being present. Investments, royalties, and rental income are all examples of passive income – and you get them by acquiring or creating assets that make money for you – without you having to be there, directly doing the work ongoing. People sometimes refer to this as making money when you sleep. Camille Johnson did a brilliant workshop that explained this way better than I have at the conference so check her out if you are interested.
If you build your brand – so people understand who you are, what you stand for and what you’re great at and specifically come to you because of it, it helps you translate your active work – or even just stuff that you’re great at, into assets that can make you money.
Don’t get me wrong, you do not have to build a brand to create these money-making assets. You can make a passive income by acquiring assets and investing in other people’s brands. And you can create assets for yourself at any point. However, if you’ve already built a brand around yourself and your activities and create assets from this, it is way easier. Trust me on this. Ever tried to sell an online course, get people to visit your YouTube channel or buy your book? It is SO much easier if people already know you. If they understand you and what you’re offering. If they LOVE what you do, who you are and how you show up. And that’s what happens even you build your brand.
It makes people more likely to want to invest in you (and the stuff you’re doing)
Building a brand will help you build trust. People will feel like they know you, and like you have a relationship even if they have never met you. A brand helps you to be clear on who you are and what you stand for, delivering it consistently through your offer and presenting this in a way that stands out and that people can understand and connect with. And it’s this clarity and consistency that will let people get to know you – and over time love and trust you too. Yes, I said love – it’s a strong word but it’s true. Building a brand around the stuff that you’re brilliant at and love to do, will make people love you because of it. Because they share your values, understand your purpose, and like your personality. And remember those assets I talked about in point 4? Well if people trust and love you, they are WAY more likely to spend money with you.
At the PRECIOUS Wealth conference, Lorraine Thomas talked about property investment as an income stream – not just buying and selling property, but investing through methods like crowdfunding. She is all about property with purpose (do check out her amazing business and is on a mission to get more people into property- so that property investment is no longer just for people who are rich and or well-connected (as it increasingly is). Obviously, you don’t need a great brand to buy property, but if you are looking to get investment for any reason- whether through investors, crowdfunding or other methods that are asking other people to give you their cash – building your brand can really help. Being able to link your past successful activities easily to you, having a reputation for doing similar stuff brilliantly, being seen as the go-to or being known for the great stuff that you produce or offer, will make it more likely that people will invest with you and invest larger sums – and this applies to individuals AND organisations alike. Of course, you can sell without a brand. And people may even invest small sums. But the analogy I’ll use is that if I need to clean and tidy my house, I might pop into an unknown random pound shop that has appeared overnight on the local high street to buy bin bags. I might even do it more than once. But I won’t be buying my vacuum cleaner from there. And I am unlikely to do my regular cleaning products shop there either. Because I don’t know anything about this shop, nor does it look like a shop I want to go in. I don’t trust them enough to get anything remotely high value from there and I am not even sure how long it will be around.
In short, building a brand increases trust, familiarity and connection. And that can convert into revenue directly and will accelerate your existing money-making efforts.
So there you have it. Five ways building a brand can help you increase your income. I know times are tough right now. So I hope this helps.
PS I closed the PRECIOUS Wealth conference with a talk on the entrepreneurial mindset – here’s a snippet of the talk for you.
You can check out the full talk on YouTube.