In today's interconnected world, the premise of brand-building gets increasingly broader and more hazy. You may be familiar with the term "brand," but do you know what it takes to build one?
Building a brand is a journey of self-awareness, conviction, and finding yourself in your business. Whether you're a CEO, a marketing expert, a freelancer, or even a regular joe, if you want to make an impact, you need to get your branding right.
Every business name and logo you see today is a product of labor-intensive branding.
The business card you received at that executive function didn’t just appear out of thin air. Someone put immense thought and heart into its design before deciding to hand it out for the world to see.
As an entrepreneur, building a brand for your business is a never-ending effort. But know this: The companies that invest in establishing great brands have a substantial competitive edge.
While the rewards are sweet, the journey to get there rarely is. But we want to change that.
Branding can be fun, quick, and easy with #BrandInMinutes
With our Brand Plan, it’s simpler than ever to #BrandInMinutes with our collection of professional branding templates and tools to help you launch the brand you’ve dreamt of for so long.
The only way to understand the impact of having a #BrandInMinutes is to take a dive into the stories of entrepreneurs who have had to make it happen on their own.
And Jaclyn Strauss of 2nd Vault is the perfect example.
We spoke to Jaclyn about her journey in building her brand for 2ndVault.
Hopefully, her inspiring story can motivate new entrepreneurs, such as you, to take the leap and get your businesses out there.
1. Tell us about your business.
2ndVault connects everything in a person’s life into an accessible central platform.
2ndVault is your solution to organize and store your valuable information for daily or emergency use by you or your loved ones.
Only created once my eyes were opened to the personal need to do this for my own family, 2ndVault has achieved being a one-stop-shop for families by bringing calm to chaos.
We are the best-in-class digital vault as we remove the thinking for the user.
2. What was the inspiration behind it?
2ndVault was born out of a personal need during my near-death experience, and as household CFO, would have sunk my family – the people I love most.
I suffered a post-delivery hemorrhage with the birth of my second child, and my family was told that I would more likely than not lose my life.
Luckily, I was given a second chance at life.
When I tried to find a simple way to gather everything from the various locations that I only knew about, I felt paralyzed. There was not a good solution to provide me with a user-guided experience that would help remove the hard thinking for me.
So I created it.
I am a working mom, wife, daughter to aging parents, household CFO, house manager, activities/camp director, dog mom, and much more.
I carried the weight of the world on my shoulders and did some self-reflection on working on getting better at asking for help and better at delegating rather than doing it all myself.
If I didn't start doing better, I realized I would not be able to sustain all I was carrying, and I would fall, and the entire ship would sink with me. When I sat down to get all the things I managed on behalf of my family, I was paralyzed.
I did not know where to begin, and the digital storage tools were not what I needed, as those take knowing what to put in there. So I stepped away, frustrated and feeling I had failed at the task at hand, but pivoted and birthed my own company.
3. Was it (emotionally) challenging to take the first step?
Yes, as I was scared of the unknown. I never really invested in myself by putting my personal money where my mouth was and believing enough in myself to take the plunge.
This time, however, I knew there was a problem to be solved as I experienced it first hand, so I closed my eyes and jumped in head first to work my hardest to fulfill the need that so many have.
4. When did you know that you were ready to take the leap?
I was ready after experiencing the pain first hand but after I conducted over 25 informational interviews with friends, family and colleagues.
Each conversation led in one direction, with the person sharing a story that they had personal experience that was relatable as to why they could use something like this.
5. How did you go about building a brand for your business?
The first place I started was by asking friends and family for ideas on a name. Once I got a list of names gathered, I checked to see if the domain was available on GoDaddy. For the domains not available, I either scratched them or looked to see if there was a creative way to spell the name before tossing it.
I hired a professional logo designer to create five different choices for me to choose from, and then I sent out a Survey Monkey to friends and family to let them vote. The one I went with received far more votes than any of the other choices, so I went with it.
Funny though, after this entire process I was accepted into an accelerator program at the Levan Center for Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University. It opened my world to an entire new network that had prior experience with startups or had a startup of their own.
The feedback on my company name was overwhelmingly negative, and I knew I had to go back to the drawing board and identify a new company name that was more representative of what we do at 2ndVault.
Since I now had a new cohort of people that I could survey, I went through almost an identical process that I did the first time on landing on the name. From there, I hired a different logo designer that was recommended to me through the program, and they came up with my company logo design.
This was all an expensive lesson, but one that was well worth it as the demonstration of the ability to take feedback and pivot is welcomed by mentors and potential investors. I am now held as a founder that is not stuck in her ways, but rather one open to feedback and making necessary changes.
6. How did you go about creating your branding collateral?
For each of these needs, I simply go to the internet and start searching for my options when it comes to a vendor. I also do have experience with a local company in my community that the non-profit that I sit on the board of utilizes on a regular basis. Between these two options, I have been able to source what we have needed.
7. Was the process haphazard and time-consuming?
The process was and continues to be time-consuming. I honestly don’t have the time to spend searching like I do as the company continues to accelerate and would love to have a “go to” place that I am confident is price-competitive, provides quality products, and has exceptional customer service.
I am looking for a partner in this space in the spirit of not spending time on this process each time I need something branded.
8. Do you wish you had someone just do it all for you?
Yes, but I need to trust this person, know the quality of their work, and they need to prove to me that they can get the job done the first time and not burden me with endless questions.
9. In your opinion, how important is it for a business to build a credible brand?
Having a professional-looking and credible brand is essential for any business looking to grow and succeed in today's highly competitive marketplace. At the heart of any brand lies its visual identity, which conveys a sense of credibility and trustworthiness.
A professional-looking brand can help you build strong relationships with your customers and clients, making them more likely to do business with you. Additionally, having an established brand also gives potential investors or partners greater confidence in working with your company.
They know that your brand has already been successfully vetted by other businesses or individuals, giving them confidence in what they are investing in.
In short, having a professional-looking and credible brand is key to cultivating an image of success, attracting new partners and customers, and achieving long-term growth for your business.
I have competitors in my space that do not give any sort of “wow” factor and quite honestly look dated and dull. I believe that first impressions are lasting, and when someone goes to the 2ndVault website, they are immediately willing to take a tour around the website.
10. How did you get your first customers?
Starting a new company is an exciting time for any entrepreneur. There are so many things to think about and do to get the business off the ground.
One of the most important things to focus on is gaining momentum. This can be a challenge, especially for first-time entrepreneurs. However, there are a few things you can do to help get things moving:
- It's crucial to establish a strong brand identity. This will help potential customers or clients remember your business and what it stands for.
- Try to get involved in your local community. This can help generate word-of-mouth marketing, which is always valuable.
- Make sure you're providing high-quality products or services.
If customers have a positive experience with your business, they're more likely to come back and recommend you to others. By following these simple tips, you can start to build some momentum for your new business.
The process of gaining momentum was quite difficult out of the gates, I am someone that naturally wants things to happen yesterday. I quickly realized that gaining momentum was not going to happen instantly, but rather over time.
Time was an important factor when it came to building my brand identity, which in turn piqued the interest of more and more potential customers and then allowed me to earn their trust.
11. What are your future plans with respect to building your business?
Our plans are to continue to take one day at a time, embrace feedback, continuously work to enhance our service and give back to the community for the greater good.
We truly believe that 2ndVault provides a calm to the chaos, and, ultimately, peace-of-mind for individuals and their families.
We will pivot and adapt to what the market demands as we go and continue to look to work with the highest quality vendors and talent, as well as allow our mentors to guide us through the process.
We are not afraid to ask for help and guidance now and can’t see that we ever will be. It is imperative to lean on your network of “helpers” and trust that if you are solving a pain point in the market in the most genuine and ethical way, the profits and impact will follow.
Over To You
Branding has no exact formula to it, but we do know there are a few key characteristics impactful brands have in common.
And it might be tempting to look at the successful businesses and say, “I’ll take that brand, please!” But what makes a brand work is how it speaks to you.
What makes your business authentically you? Businesses that manage to be true to who they are, what they do, and why they do it are able to create lasting, evolving connections with their audiences. This authenticity is the core of your branding.
What are you waiting for? Shine bright and #BrandInMinutes today!