Blog Post: Your Brand — It's More Than a Pretty Logo
Your Brand — It's More Than a Pretty Logo
With the business “pause” in the first half of 2020, one of my projects has been to research branding. I wanted to learn how to develop a brand and what branding really means – for my own business and the businesses I work with. I want to share some of the basics with you so you can begin to work on your own brand, too.
If you already have a brand and logo, use these tips to take another look at it based on the current business climate and how people are making buying decisions now.
Why is a BRAND important?
First, let’s consider the basic reasons for a brand and how it benefits your business. Branding is a very personal process – you know your business and your intentions for your business better than anyone else. You can’t hand this process off to someone else. The process is also very strategic.
You may or may not have a complete business plan in which you have defined the mission, vision and values of your biz, but even if not written down, these concepts are in your head and hopefully your heart so your passion is driving your biz. A well thought out brand helps your customers and potential customers understand that mission, vision and the values you hold dear. Your brand works hard for your business! It helps attract potential clients who are exactly who you intend to work with and who need what you’re providing. A great brand is also a constant reminder and influences the culture of your business and the people who are part of your team. They can measure choices against your brand – does this choice support the brand or detract from it?
With the changes in our culture, one strategy that has emerged in marketing is recognizing that people want experiences. Products are no longer just a tool or something people use to accomplish a task – they want an experience, and what you're offering helps them have that. The company that sells a product or service that relates to the experience a customer wants to have becomes part of that person’s life/team helping them accomplish what they desire. Have you thought of your product or service in that way? Let’s give it a try ...
- What experience does your service or product help your customer have or create?
- What is the personality of your business that helps you be part of your client’s team in creating this experience?
- How do your business mission, ideals and values fit into helping your client have that experience?
- Does your image – graphical, where and when you advertise or promote your business – speak to your ideal clients in a way that resonates with them?
- Does their experience with you, your company and your brand enhance the experience they are looking for? Or does it seem at odds with the experience?
Knowing who your business is (mission and values), how you help people accomplish
what they want, the level of quality you bring to your customers, who your customers are
(generally and specifically), how your customers look at life and where they hang out,
are all critical in defining a brand that engages your potential and existing clients
and therefore works hard for your business.
Another emerging strategy in branding is storytelling. We see companies telling their own story to become personal with customers. We also see businesses telling the story of their clients, so we can relate to them and see ourselves and our situation in others.
An interesting way to incorporate a story within your brand is the use of a tagline. Getting the right story is tough enough, then consolidating it into a single phrase…now THAT is some masterful storytelling! I recently read an interview with Peter Davis, a storyteller who uses stories to move people into action. He explained how a tagline can tell a story that affects how people understand who a business is and how powerful the right tagline can be in pulling in the right customers to your business.
And if you're just getting started, here's another helpful article by Kelly Keenan Trumbour, "Make Your Audience the Protagonist of Your Story."
A brand that works for someone else, won’t work for you.
A brand developed by someone else isn’t going to properly represent your business. Your brand needs to speak to your customers as you do!
⚠️ PITFALL ALERT! Just because you like something, doesn’t mean your customer will too – or that it will serve your business well. We may like similar music, but it doesn’t necessarily create the message we want about our business and how dedicated we are to helping them have an experience. This is a whole different thing. Depending on your product or service, potential clients may have different resistance to your product or service – even though they like you. So, your personal preference of colors, fonts, images, mottos, may not serve to communicate what you really want to say to your clients.
Why is this all so important?
Your visual logo and tagline must be attractive to your customers – the people who need your product/service AND are looking for it. Customers want to be totally comfortable with your company and feel good about doing business with someone who does business and represents themselves in the way you do.
⚠️ PITFALL ALERT! Some business owners become overwhelmed thinking about the importance of their brand. It seems too permanent to create something so critical when they might have little background to assist them. This overwhelm can stop a business owner from taking the steps to create a brand that serves their business. INSTEAD OF STOPPING - TAKE ACTION! It is a process to create a great brand, but you know your business better than anyone else, so step into being the expert on your business and ask for help where you need it. Go step-by-step and enjoy the process as you get crystal clear on understanding your business and your clients. Win-win!
Even if you have been in business a while it is not too late. Changing your brand to something that better conveys who you are is ALWAYS better than having an image/brand that is confusing or at odds with your business’s true identity!
Ready to take the first step?
Let’s start with the concrete concepts by answering a few questions about your business. Grab paper and pencil and write your answers/ideas/thoughts using the following questions:
- What is the quality of your product or service?
- What is the price point of your product or service?
- How common is your product or service?
- Who needs your product or service?
- Who actually buys your product or service?
- Are they happy with the quality, the price and your image?
- Do you sell more than one product or service?
- Do you see your business expanding in new markets? What kind?
- Who are your ideal customers?
- What are your ideal products and services (what type of projects - situations)?
- What is the ideal image you want people to have of your business?
- Visualize the ideal office space to properly represent your business to others. Describe it in detail.
Now, let this exercise sit for a little bit. You may want to come back to it and revise as you begin to really dig into the details.
In part two of this series, we will use what you’ve learned here to move through the process of developing a highly effective and hard-working brand for your business. Stay tuned!