Oh yes, we’re going to veer outside the box a little. But, hand on heart, I can’t think of a better way to describe your brand and all the different pieces that work together to create the whole beautiful jigsaw.
One of the things start-up entrepreneurs often ask me is, ‘How do you even begin when it comes to creating a new brand?’. Many find the prospect stressful and overwhelming ‘because so much rests on getting it right!’.
It’s true that creating a new brand from scratch can seem pretty daunting. Especially when you understand how important branding can be to the success of your venture. It’s no wonder that new business owners can feel the weight of responsibility. But it doesn’t need to be scary. In fact, creating your brand should be rewarding and enlightening. An experience which, when approached in the right way, can lead to significant insights and enhancements to your overall business concept and offering.
In branding, everything begins with discovery. Yes, we need to have the end in mind. Yes, we need to understand the market and check out the competition. But first, we need to understand ourselves. I call this branding from the inside out, and here’s a secret to making this part easier, less scary and a helluva lot more fun…
Controversial, I know, but work with me here because brands need lovers. Of course, this means they also attract some haters. But that’s actually okay. You don’t need everyone to love you… only your ideal clients.
So, back to our scenario… remember the whirlwind of excitement you feel at the start of a new romance? The heady sparks. That intoxicating rapport. The longing to discover as much about that person as you can. Yeah, you got it.
Now, I want you to think about building your brand in the same way you nurture this deliciously promising new relationship. Take yourself through the same steps.
In branding terms, this is your company’s mission or purpose. Take the time to understand why you’re so passionate about what you do so that you can articulate it in the most compelling way.
This is your vision – encapsulating what things will look like when you’ve achieved everything you’re aiming for. And how your business will improve an industry, a community, or even people’s lives.
In business, this is your unique value proposition. It’s that thing you do differently or better than anyone, which means you solve real problems in a way that no competitor can.
This is your brand story. Revealing your origins and your journey so far. Complete with setbacks and achievements and told in a way that only you can. Telling your story makes you more memorable and relatable and helps people to connect with your business on an emotional level.
These are your brand values and beliefs. Identifying these will help you to attract and connect more deeply with exactly the right type of customers who care about the same things you do.
At the start of a new relationship, you’re impossibly inquisitive. You ask all kinds of questions with an eagerness to soak up every little detail and explore all the areas you have in common.
You want to know what your partner loves most in the world. Their hobbies and habits. Where they like to hang out. What makes them smile. And what makes them cry. Their hopes and dreams. Their fears. Their passions and obsessions. Their frustrations and non-negotiables. Everything!
When you think about it, we should be this curious when it comes to our ideal customers. Just imagine the rapport we could create if we take the time to find out as much as possible. This is called customer profiling, and when we learn the kind of details above, we can create rich and vivid avatars for each of our client types.
These discoveries will help us to create not just a brand – but products and services that fit our client’s needs more comprehensively. And sales and marketing campaigns that resonate more deeply.
Finally, we turn to how your brand looks. Your logo, colours, imagery and brand styling. When you’ve worked through the steps above, you achieve real clarity. This makes it so much easier to understand how your brand should look and feel. When you’ve nailed this, the focus shifts to consistency – you ALWAYS want to look your best.
Your brand has a personality. Don’t leave this part to chance. It’s important to plan how your brand comes across. This determines the words and phrases you use, your communication style and your tone of voice.
These are your brand touchpoints. Be as obsessed with planning every single contact point with your customers as you would be with a lover. Seek to surprise. Design to delight. And once again, don’t forget, you ALWAYS want to be at your best.
At the start of a new romance, you invest so much of yourself into it that you almost lay yourself bare (oops, ahem… that too!). The more authentic you are and the more you share, the deeper you connect and the more chance your fledgling romance has of blossoming into a full-scale relationship and standing the test of time.
The same is true when it comes to attracting your ideal customers. Business is all about people. Yes, sorry, cliche alert! But the truth is that your brand is at the very start and heart of each and every business relationship.
When you follow the steps above and invest in your brand in the same way as you would a new romance, then you create layers of shared magic, experience and meaning. It’s no surprise that people can’t help but fall in love with your business!
Need any help? Let’s get this fire started: Get in touch