8 Things You Should Know About Building a Brand
I hear the word “brand” all the time. It used to make me roll my eyes because people were usually referring to a logo, t-shirt, or business card design they wanted… that’s it! Now I don’t get annoyed. Instead, I get excited about an opportunity to educate others about how brands are built and not created. I am sharing part of that process with you. Here are 8 things you should know about brand building that I teach my clients.
1. What is a brand? Many people think of a brand as visual components such as logos and slogans. However, your brand includes all elements that shape the experience people have with your brand from first exposure to the final contact after services are provided. A brand is made up of the Visual + Verbal + Emotional Experience someone has with you or your company. To build a brand, you have to not only consider the visual things that will represent you, but also the stories you will tell and the experience you will share with people who come in contact with you business. Take a look around the room you are in. What made you purchase some of the items that you love? The same things you consider when deciding to choose one brand over another is similar to the process your client will use. Make sure you are clear about how you want that process to be for your brand.
2. Who are you? Most of the people I work with are individuals, but this applies to organizations as well. A good brand clearly defines who or what it is. You should be able to confidently articulate your strengths, skills, and purpose when presenting your brand. For example, someone answering this question could say, “I am an event manager who helps corporations create unforgettable experiences to raise awareness and funds as well as celebrate their stakeholders.”
3. Who do you serve? Let me get this out of the way before we go any further… You do not serve everybody. I will say it again — Your brand should not aim to serve everyone. There is a select group of people that aligns with your brand and they enjoy experiencing what you have to offer. This is the group you focus on. Don’t waste time trying to attract people who are not a good match for your brand. The only thing that will do is exhaust you and irritate them. For example, if your experience is working with minority women who want to turn their side business into their main business” it makes no sense to spend all of your effort on nonprofit organizations looking to expand fund development efforts. The point isn’t whether you can serve the group, but whether it is the group you will be able to serve well.
4. How do you serve? A good brand clearly identifies what is being offered and a great brand describes how you do it better than the rest. You need to be able to tell others what you offer so that it is clear how you can help them. For example, a copywriter may serve others by creating effective sales pages and inspiring social media content that turns visitors from viewers to users.
5. Why are you doing this? People care just as much about WHY you are doing something as to what you are doing. Take the time to develop a brand story that shows your potential customers that your business is based on something greater than sales. Perhaps you were a single mother and want to help other single parents create additional income to support their family, Maybe you are a veteran and you want to support other veterans transition into civilian life. Or you may be a former corporate executive who wants to share your skills with nonprofits so they can maximize their offerings in spite of small budgets. Know your why and share it as often as you can.
6. What key messages do you want people to know about your brand? Give people something to talk about by telling them what to say. When someone experiences your brand, there should be 3-5 key messages that are clear to them. Typically, these messages tie back to the mission, vision, and goals of the brand. For example, Soles for Souls believes everyone around the world deserves a good pair of shoes and they take gently-worn shoes and help individuals start and sustain small businesses to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.
7. What are the core values of the brand? What values does your brand uphold. Focus on 5-7 key things that your brand will work to incorporate in all aspects of business. For example, community service, sustainability, inclusion, etc. Think about your all-time-favorite brand. What words and emotions come to mind when you think of the brand? Those are the values that the brand is sharing. Sometimes it is done intentionally and other times unintentionally; either way, it is now part of the brand experience so be intentional about what you are building.
8. What promise(s) do you make to your clients? When a client experiences your brand, what promise can you make? Do you promise service with a smile? Do you promise a portion of each sale will go back to a local arts program? For me, I promise to help my clients build a brand that people know, like, and trust. Whatever it is that you promise, make sure you have systems in place to ensure it happens.
Once we are finished with the brand building process, my clients are able to make better decisions about not just how the brand looks but how the business operates. Take some time to think about these 8 things for your brand. When you are ready to start building a brand, send me a message so we can get started!