Unless you are in marketing, you probably don’t think about branding much. It’s a big, nebulous term that we, the consumers, are most aware of during the Super Bowl. Ad agencies are tripping over each other to make a water cooler ad (you know, the ones we talk about the next day).
They work furiously to make a really strong impression so we remember their clients’ products. For example: Even though they are individual who rarely drink beer, they see the Bud Light’s ads which are often clever and funny, so you remember them for the next few days. Now that is branding! I don’t even like beer like that , but I would drink their product, because I remember their ads.
My little story proves why branding matters, and you should be doing the same with yourself and or business. We enjoy helping people with they branding needs. Here we will define branding and explain the steps involved in creating a brand:
Branding is the art of incorporating your professional identity into how you sell yourself. This identity you create is your calling card and needs to be included in your business name, tag line, logo, website, and all marketing materials. To put it another way, an effective brand= verbal + visual + persona. Verbal are the words you use to describe your services/products and the solutions you offer your clients. Visual is your logo and the graphics on your website and in your marketing materials. Persona is your company’s personality. Are you formal, informal, edgy, conservative, cutting –edge, traditional?
What steps should you take when creating your brand identity? Just a suggestion you start with your name. It’s always a good idea to have a few more name options in your back pocket. Solicit opinions on the names from people you trust. Work on differentiators next. What is going to set you apart from the competition? Then decide on exactly who your target audience is. Put all three of those elements together and you have a positioning statement. A positioning statement is your pathway to building a brand.
When you are working on your positioning statement, ask for clients testimonials. They are looking at you from the outside in and can tell you how the world sees you. Their observations are often spot-on. If your business is brand new and you don’t yet have clients, ask for opinions from people you respect in your network. You should also conduct a market audit, aka, scope out the competition. What services/products do they offer? Perhaps you offer similar things, but hadn’t thought about mentioning them. Add those “things” to your service/product descriptions.
A common mistake many people make is not taking the target audience into account. In your messaging, you don’t want to talk at your clients, you want to engage them.
In summary, to build a brand, you must have a firm grasp on the concept of your business, the content (how you will express who you are and what you do), the creative (logo, graphics, color), and production (putting it all together).
I know I have just given you a lot to think about. If it seems daunting, set up a consultation with a branding/marketing expert to help you put together a roadmap. If you are not the creative type, it will be money well spent.