Branding is a term that’s thrown around all the time in marketing, but what does that mean, anyway? How do you figure out what your brand is?
Your brand isn’t just your logo. It’s your organization’s unique story, your company personality. Your brand is your promise to your customer that they can expect the same, consistent experience wherever they interact with your company. Sounds great, but how do you create that? You start by breaking it down into its parts. Like building a house, you start with a firm foundation, then build on it.1 Distill & clarify your truth.
- This is the foundation of your brand message. Boil your message down until it’s simple and clear. Ask yourself these questions:
- What’s your company’s 15 second “elevator pitch”?
- Then, in 10 words or less, what does your company do?
- Where’s the company going? Think about not just where you are now, but where you want your company to be in 5 or 10 years.
- How are you different from your competition?
- More than the products or service you provide, what’s your passion in what you do?
- What’s your corporate personality? What key words, colors, images best describe who you are? Creating mood boards can help pull out and define the “feeling” of your company.
Take the time to really understand who you’re talking to. You may think you know, but get some data on demographics if you can.
- What is their age? Lifestyle? Gender?
- What is their motivation for buying your product or service?
- Who would you like to reach?
- What problem does this solve for them, or what benefit does it give to their life?
The more you understand who you’re talking to, the better you can craft your message in way that will resonate with them.3 Identify your key media
Once you understand who you’re talking to, you’ll have a better idea of how to reach them.
- Where do they hang out?
- What kinds of media do they consume? Are they internet savvy or more exposed to print or environmental media?
- Are they social media consumers? If so, which channels?
Understanding your key media will shape the way you deliver your message.4 Put it into action.
Once you have the core truths of your company exposed, you have the foundation of your brand message. This is your promise, your personality, your image. Write it down. Keeping a brand guideline is very helpful, and make sure all members of your team understand the brand promise. The next step is to translate that message into words, visuals and environments wherever you have contact with your customer – your lobby or storefront, your website, your media, your packaging.
The most important thing is to stay consistent. When every interaction your customers have with your brand shows the passion behind your product or service, and gives them a consistent message and experience, you’ll gain their trust and their loyalty. And then you can watch your reputation and business grow.