Hey there, welcome back to another episode of Brand it! With Petchy. As always, I’m your host, Petchy, and I’m here to give you real, honest, down-to-earth, relatable and actionable advice to help you build a stronger brand on your terms. In today’s episode, by popular request over on Instagram, I’m diving further into a topic I emailed my list about earlier: connections and relations, and how they can help you grow your brand.

If I had to pick the one thing that has made the biggest impact on my business and brand over these past 5+ years… it’s connections, and the longer term relations that stem from those connections. Hands down! 

I’m not talking about the aimless mingling with random people at a business conference in the hopes of getting a sale out of thin air. Not that we’ve been able to attend those business conferences for the past couple of years anyways, and this introvert biz owner is totally fine with that, but that’s a different story. No, the kind of connections I’m talking about go way deeper than that.

I’m talking about those connections that turn into deep and meaningful relations – the kind that really only happen when you approach that other person with interest, curiosity and openness, when you genuinely care about connecting with them as a human – not as someone whose wallet you want to get into.

These are the kind of connections that only happen when you show up as 100% you, with all your quirks and imperfections, wearing those values and salty opinions on your sleeve – which is why I always encourage people to avoid branding themselves into someone they’re not, but instead to embrace their uniqueness and own their shit. To show up in the same way over time so that the people whose paths you cross will see that you are the real deal. Consistency – but not the forged kind.

These connections, that often turn into friendships, can happen in a lot of different places – but they happen more often when you don’t force them. It’s not a quick fix either, you’ve got to be in it for the long term. Let me give you some examples from my own business to illustrate what it can look like:

  • The person I connected with in an online attachment parenting and babywearing forum 15 years ago, when I still had no clue I’d even be a business owner at all, who reached out to me and became a client this year.
  • The friends I’ve made in a select few online communities in the five years since starting my current business, who have also become mutual fans, cheerleaders, support crew, business collaborators and referral sources.
  • My mentors and fellow alumni from group programmes I have been a part of, whose valuable insights and our shared journey have helped me take baby steps and massive leaps forward in my business.
  • My podcast guests who not only help me refine my own thought leadership through inspiring conversations, but also introduce me to other people in their networks – allowing me to expand my circle of business friends with more like-minded people.
  • And this one, this one’s good. Literally just before I sat down to script this episode, the following had happened: In the morning I sent an email to someone whose podcast I’ve been enjoying asking them basically: “please will you come on my podcast because I’ve been listening to yours and you seem really cool” and they responded almost immediately with an “omg!” and a screenshot of their calendar with a reminder to get in touch with me about a possible guest appearance. And to top it off, it’s because of a mutual friend in the online business sphere that I know of her and vice versa. Magic!

The list could go on! 

But why does it work? How does it work? How can you tap into the power of connections to build your brand? And how do you do that intentionally without it coming across as shallow and superficial? Because yes, that seems contradicting right? How can you connect from a place of authenticity and at the same time be intentional about it? And how is relationship building as a brand different from relationship building as a human? Well, people’s relationships with brands aren’t really that different from relationships between people. Some you genuinely care about, like your friends, they’re in your life because you want them to be – while others are in your life because you need them for something, like your doctor or your accountant. Others are in your life almost by default, because you work together, you’re neighbours… But when it comes to that first category; the people who are in your life because you want them to be, it’s probably because you clicked somehow, over shared values or interests or similar life circumstances.

And that’s what you really want to be true for the connections you make on behalf of or because of your brand too, you want them to want you and/or your brand to be part of their lives. If you’re a smaller brand, maybe a one-person brand even, the boundaries between connecting as your brand and connecting as you are even less rigid. But remember that even the big international brands have real people behind them. And just as with connections and relationships outside of the business world, there will be some people you and your brand click with more than others – that’s ok. That’s better than pretending you’re someone you’re not, or putting on a mask or trying to be liked by everyone. You want to make sure that you connect with your kinda people.

I want you to think back for a second: As a consumer, have you ever felt like you were just being used, like once the sale was made you were no longer of importance? You were dropped on the floor as they started to chase the next shiny object. Or with friendships; have you ever become friends with someone and then ended up feeling like they only contacted you when it was beneficial to them, and the rest of the time they’d dodge your calls, not respond to messages, cancel appointments, until it felt like they couldn’t care less about you? How did that make you feel? I bet the answer is not so good.

Remember that feeling. And keep it in the back of your mind as you connect with people as or on behalf of your brand. You want to make them feel good, you want to bring them joy. Humanising your brand, bringing human attributes into your brand personality and behaviour will help you make those connections – but if it’s just for show, it shines through. You have to actually mean it. You have to be able to stand for those brand values and that brand personality, and to communicate them clearly so that you attract the right people.

But… when you do get that part right, and you’re showing up in the world as your true self, and your brand as an extension of that, that is when the famous snowball starts to roll. You’ll discover that there is a world out there of like-minded people, who will be so delighted to have you in their orbit that they want to connect you with other people in their network, who will then connect you with more people in their networks. And the longer you’ve been brave enough to let all your truths hang out there, the more you’ll start to see that the connections interlink. “Oh, you know so and so? That’s so cool, they’re awesome!” And let me tell you: as someone who always felt like an outsider, that feeling of belonging, of finally being one of the “cool” kids… mind blowing. 

I have a quest for you after today’s episode, and it’s to do three things:

  • Get real and honest about your (and your brand’s) values and purpose, and start wearing them on your sleeve.
  • Stop being so hung up on demographics and niching and the holy grail of ideal customer avatars, and start instead to seek out connections with people whose values and general outlook on life and business align with yours. It’s going to make your life so much more interesting!
  • Reach out to three people today that you feel drawn to. Not because you’re trying to sell to them, but because you find them interesting as a human being. This does not have to be creepy, you’re not stalking anyone, you’re just reaching out into their DMs or in an email, on Instagram or Linkedin maybe, to say “Hey, I’ve been following you for a while, I really like your approach and I’d love to have you in my network.” Maybe invite them for a virtual cuppa, or even meet up in real life at a café if you live near each other. The worst that can happen is you don’t click and you part ways and get on with your lives. But you might have just met a new friend, mentor, client, business buddy…

You up for it? And if it helps… if it makes it less intimidating… if I fit the description of someone you’d like to connect with, my DMs and my inbox are always open.

Oh! Hang on a minute! I just have to throw one more thing into the quest, I dunno how I could forget to mention it because it’s possibly the most impactful out of them all… Consider this one a bonus: thing number 4 that I want to challenge you to do, is to have a little think about all the people you have in your network, all of them. It doesn’t have to be just business related ones. Do you have any people in your network that make you go “oh, these people need to know about each other!” Then do it. Make the introduction.

The power of connections is real, my friend!

And with that said, let me segue into my upcoming group programme, where community and connections will play a huge part of the overall experience. It’s not just gonna be random groups of people placed willy nilly into cohorts, who are then left to their own devices after the programme has run its course. I’m always a bit sad when a group programme ends and everyone scurries off in separate directions – some of us stay in touch on social media, but it’s just not the same! 

So here’s what I want to do:

I want to bring a small group of the right people together and guide them through my framework to develop their purpose-driven brand foundations over the course of 12 weeks. Yes, 12 weeks sounds like a long time when you are impatient, and believe me…. I’m a sucker for instant gratification! But this is deep work that needs mulling over and maturing in your mind if you are to see the kind of results you want. Like brand clarity, consistency and an aligned and unique brand that attracts more of the right clients; that kinda thing. And also, I want people in the group to really get to know each other and feel safe enough to be open, honest and vulnerable. Neither of these are things that happen overnight or in huge groups of people. 

There’s immense value in the community aspect of a group programme, and it kinda feels like a big gaping hole when it’s over. That’s why I want to offer the option of transitioning into an ongoing alumni community once the initial 12 weeks are over. To ensure this stays close-knit, the only way in will be through the group programme, or if you’ve worked with me 1:1. Think of it as a 24/7 community of biz besties, with regular group calls and office hours to pick my brain, and selected guest experts popping in to share their zone of genius once in a while.

We’re talking training videos, group coaching calls and a private community. Transformation, a-ha! moments, brand clarity and lasting friendships.

Ah, it’s gonna be so fuckin’ gooooooood! If you’re intrigued and want to be at the front of the line when I open for the first cohort, I invite you to join the interest list. I promise: no hard selling, just the option to join early and at an extra special price. Sign up over at petchy.co/academy.

Until next time,

Petchy xx

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