10 Unusual Branding Tips That Experts Swear By

Personal Branding
What’s an unusual (online or offline) branding tip you swear by?

The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. Don’t Be Relatable. Be Authentic.

“The most successful brands are relatable, period. However, that relatability is a byproduct, not the driving force. Brands that try too hard to be relatable end up sacrificing what makes them truly unique. Be authentic, and focus on what sets you apart. Although you may not generate a huge following immediately, the die-hard fans (a.k.a. brand ambassadors) you’ll earn are what lead to real longevity.”

Bryce Welker, Crush Empire

2. Embrace Simplicity

“People get too caught up in gimmicks and creative ways of branding. Branding is about relating to your target audience, demonstrating that you know what you’re talking about, and that you have the expertise to serve them and meet their needs. The best way to brand yourself is by knowing who you are and knowing who you’re serving.”

Thomas Smale, FE International

3. Handwrite a Note

“In a noisy world of countless online, digital platforms, in real life communication has skyrocketed in value! I’ve recently been obsessed with a card-sending service that delivers chic, handwritten cards. Yes, I’m talking snail-mail! After a great meeting, I jump on Postable (or similar) and send old-school “thank you” notes. This easy gesture sets us apart from the crowd!”

Cooper HarrisKlickly

4. Create Slack Channels for New Contacts

“Among teams in the startup ecosystem, Slack has become almost as ubiquitous as email. Depending on the crowd, I have started to use Slack to connect with new people that I meet through networking or through various projects. Dedicating a channel to a person instills a level of importance, and it is supremely easy to stay organized at a level that text messages and email does not allow.”

Ryan Bradley, Koester & Bradley, LLP

5. Don’t Split Test

“I’m on the radio every day and I notice some of my peers in the space have incredible personalities on the air, but not so much in real life, and vice versa. Doing this causes confusion for people interacting with you and leaves an intriguing taste in one’s mouth. Instead, be the already awesome you. It’s simple: People connect with people who are like themselves or like who they want to be.”

Abhi Golhar, Real Estate Deal Talk

6. Put Yourself in Their Shoes

“Customers like to know that you believe in your own products and can relate to their pain points. Entrepreneurs who are also a user or consumer of their own products can help generate authenticity around the value proposition of their business. Putting yourself in their shoes help identify pain points without having to wait for a customer to reach out to you and provide feedback.”

Sohin Shah, InstaLend

7. Be Candid, Transparent and Honest About Your Product

“Always avoid the hard sell with people, because most individuals deal with entrepreneurs on an extremely regular basis, and so they are accustomed to glib sales talk and slick tactics. Be candid, transparent and honest about your product or service. Authenticity comes from an honest portrayal of yourself, such as “why did you get into this company to begin with?” That is where your best pitch lies!”

Luigi Wewege, Vivier Group

8. Underdress and Over-Deliver

“There is nothing better than walking into something slightly underdressed and completely over-delivering value-wise. I’m not suggesting being disrespectful, but being unique, having long hair or wearing jeans is a great trademark for people whose work is brilliant. If you are that confident in the value you provide, your brand can be more noticeably more casual and unassuming.”

Matt WilsonUnder30Experiences

9. Play the Long Game

“There’s a higher return on investment by engaging with one or two people offline as opposed trying to interact with every single person on social media or at events. Whenever I’m trying to build my brand (which is daily), I always aim for one great conversation a day. Whether it’s a potential customer, mentor, employee or influencer, it’s about consistency. Imagine the benefit of engaging one new person a day for a month.”

Krish Chopra, United Medical Rotations

10. Break the Rules

“When it comes to branding, so many companies stick to the traditional rules for fear of something not working.  I’m a big believer in taking risks, putting yourself out there and breaking the rules.  Your customers will recognize you for thinking outside the box and taking an approach that all your competition isn’t willing to take.”

Renato Libric, Bouxtie Inc