Have integrity — Take some time to truly evaluate your business and how you want to operate. Promising less and delivering more goes a long way, but promising more and delivering less is harder to recover from. Be honest with yourself, and deliver.
Aspart of our series about how to create a trusted, believable, and beloved brand, I had the pleasure to interview Kira Ming. Kira is a nonfiction author, a professional writer, editor, and content developer with contributions to Huffington Post and more, and a magazine owner whose experience in publishing spans over a decade. In addition to achieving a great deal of success with her publication she’s developed content for some of the largest companies and organizations in the country, and she remains focused on providing value to her growing audience and influencing fellow writers to do the same. Her book Small Business, Big Success aims to help small business owners take the guesswork out of growing their brand and running their businesses with limited resources, and she’s committed to teaching what she knows to everyone who can benefit through workshops, panels, and more.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Thanks for having me! The road to where I am now has been quite an interesting one! My career path began my senior year in college, when after having to pass up two amazing internships, I decided to start my own magazine. Over the past few years I’ve used my background in writing to develop content for businesses, and teach other writers how to use their writing to achieve success.
Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I’d have to say not realizing the power of the personal brand. I remember going to numerous events where people would talk to me about a magazine, that was mine…not knowing I was the creator! That’s when I realized that sometimes, it’s essential to connect with people and let them see the face behind the product.
What do you think makes your business stand out? Can you share a story?
I believe what makes any business stand out is the need that you fulfill within the market. When I created the magazine the subject matter and messaging spoke to a group of people who felt like they didn’t have a voice. I had a duty to cover certain content that wasn’t being covered within other publications. Same goes for when I provide content for businesses. I’m constantly asking, what do small business owners need to thrive? How do I make sure that I educate business owners before, during, and in many forms after I provide a service?
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I am! As someone who’s achieved success as a writer, it’s important for me to teach other writers how to use their writing skills to advance their careers. In that, I’m working on a new workshop for writers. I’m also excited about a digital product I’m working on for business owners. I truly believe that running a business is hard work, but with everything I do, I try to find ways to help take the guesswork out of how to build a solid foundation for any business.
Ok let’s now jump to the core part of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define the difference between brand marketing (branding) and product marketing (advertising)? Can you explain?
For me the difference lies in the big picture versus more short term results. Branding is super powerful, and it operates as the machine behind what makes product marketing successful. People generally buy from people that they know, like, and trust, so it’s important to understand that brand marketing makes product marketing effective. In brand marketing you’re essentially introducing your business and messaging through visibility and awareness. A successful branding strategy makes product advertising that much easier.
Can you explain to our readers why it is important to invest resources and energy into building a brand, in addition to the general marketing and advertising efforts?
A strong brand, especially a strong personal brand, gives you the power to adapt and change without reconstructing your business model. If you focus on one particular product and decide to switch lanes, it makes it extremely difficult to drive the same results with the new product…unless you have an already established brand. With a strong brand, much of the work is done for you, so that switching out products, offerings, etc. doesn’t throw things off like it ordinarily would.
Can you share 5 strategies that a small company should be doing to build a trusted and believable brand? Please tell us a story or example for each.
1) Provide value — Consumer trends are always changing but one thing remains constant — consumers generally need to be introduced to your product or services more than once before purchasing. You want to give potential customers a sample of what you offer, so that they seek you out when they’re ready.
2) Establish a strong brand message — It’s extremely important to have a brand message that resonates with people. What story are you trying to tell? Who is your brand for? Who are you trying to reach?
3) Engage — People love to talk about themselves! Don’t make your branding strategy all about your company. It’s important to get everyone involved, even if they’re not your target market!
4) Be patient — Reputable brands take time to build. Remember, you’re not soliciting an immediate result; you’re building long term success.
5) Have integrity — Take some time to truly evaluate your business and how you want to operate. Promising less and delivering more goes a long way, but promising more and delivering less is harder to recover from. Be honest with yourself, and deliver.
What role does social media play in your branding efforts?
As someone who started marketing their publication online over a decade ago, I can truly say the internet can be a powerful force! I’ve essentially used social media to build strong brands for both myself, and for my publication using generally organic strategies. When it comes to social media you have to stand out and be consistent. How you show up matters, and having an effective social media marketing strategy in place is essential. Post with purpose!
What advice would you give to other marketers or business leaders to thrive and avoid burnout?
Systems! If someone would have told me over a decade ago that setting up certain systems would have made things a bit easier, I would have loved them forever. Every industry is different, but having good systems in place benefits everyone. I’m a big fan of doing the work and building the foundation up front, and then shifting focus to managing and growth.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
You create your own success! If you can’t become a part of a big machine, build one. I truly believe that we all have the power to create the success we want to see within our lives. I don’t ask for permission to win.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” -Jim Rohn
Running a business is not for the faint of heart. As someone who began with no team, excuses were not an option for me. I learned very early on that there is always a way to get things done.
We are blessed that very prominent leaders in business and entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you would like to have a lunch or breakfast with? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
This is a great yet difficult question because there are many! I’m very familiar with Arianna Huffington’s work, and I’m grateful for the amount of doors her platform has opened for many writers like myself. I could learn a great deal from her!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Everyone can connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter under @therealkiraming!