Strategist Guide to Branding Your Business: The Beginning Steps of Your Entrepreneurship
Ah, the most important creation of a business yet the most confusing for many people: A Brand. Many people think a brand is only what people see. It is not just a logo, nor a motto or mission statement. A brand is what people see, feel, think and remember about your business. The best way to describe a brand is to relate it to a relationship or friendship. It is the relationship between you and your customers. There are a number of things it takes to make a relationship work. If one area lacks, all components are affected in the relationship.
Below are important elements of a brand. These areas will help you understand what a brand is, what affects your brand and what connects your brand to your customers. I’ve created an infographic below for you to use as a reference as I briefly explain each section and how all the sections relate to one another.
When you first have an idea, it is usually sparked by your life, your experiences, your needs, your wants, and your desires. It’s your innovative talent, your ability to speak, write, create, design, counsel, or anything else you were gifted with that will bring your entrepreneurial spirit to light. Your story is where it starts. What is your vision? Why did you create your business? What does your business stand for? Who will you help?
Based on your story, what do you offer the world? Is it a product or a service? Your concept represents what you have to offer in its entirety. Do you offer products that solve a problem or many problems? Your concept doesn’t always have to be for profit. Your concept could be a nonprofit organization. Are your services helping people? Do you have an organization that caters to communities, youth, wealth, or health development? There are many things that contribute to your concept. It is important to define what you offer to the world and why. Once you have this down packed, you can begin your brand plan.
Your Intended Message
Once you have decided on the concept you wish to share with the world, you must choose how people will identify you. Brand identity entails the logo, symbols, designs, fonts, colors, brand statement, tagline, packaging, and website. Great examples of awesome brand identifiers are our phone carriers: Verizon (red), Sprint (yellow), T-Mobile (pink), and AT&T (blue). We can easily identify their logos. Identity what could be your business’ voice or how your brand speaks to your customer. What is your brand’s personality? Does your brand exude excitement? Accomplishment? Ruggedness?
Your brand strategy is your plan for the development of relationships with other businesses and with your customers. Here is where your research will come in handy. You will use your research to target your market. How will you present your brand to the world? How will you market or advertise? How will you set your business tone? What is your distinction? What sets you apart from the other businesses in your market? Once you locate your target market, you have to decide your marketing position. Find out where your brand fits in your industry and plant your brand there.
The relationship stage is the action/implementation of your brand strategy plan. How are you helping people? How are you building relationships with people? Building relationships with people can be developed through interacting on and offline, proposing actions, engaging in dialogue, blogging, writing books, emails, networking and much more! Nurture your relationships with your audience, your customers, and your online and physical community presence!
Perceived Message/Brand Image
Your Customer's Story
Your customer’s experiences are your business’ perceived message. The customer’s perceived message is your brand image. The customer’s story reflects the emotions or thoughts they have about your brand through direct or indirect experiences. Direct experiences relates to customer evaluation of your services, products, customer service, policies, and any other element that affects them when doing business with your company. Indirect experiences are word of mouth, reviews, and interactions - or lack thereof - with other customers online and offline.
So you ask, what is a brand? A brand is your story coupled with what you have to offer to the world. What you have to offer to the world is presented through your brand identification, brand strategy, and the relationships you develop and maintain with your customers and other businesses. You must remember that consumers are not always rational! They develop memories, emotions, and beliefs about your business through your brand presentation. So my friends, I ask:
Are you ready to develop your brand?
I’ve created The Ultimate Brand Development Workbook that will guide you into creating your story, what you have to offer, how you will offer it, and why customers will fall in love with your brand! Check out The Ultimate Brand Development Workbook: Baked with Branding Worksheets and Business Resources here.