“The most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart.”
– Howard Schultz, Executive Chairman + Former CEO of Starbucks
In marketing and communications, there is always much talk about the importance of branding; however, the term “brand” can take on different meanings depending upon context. When I discuss your brand, I’m not referring to your company name or the products you sell — these elements, of course, are part of the big picture. What I am referring to is the larger idea of who you are and the values for which you stand. As David Ogilvy, the great “Father of Advertising” described it, your brand is “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes.” Even more, your brand is the consumers’ perception of qualities and distinctive characteristics unique to your business — a perception that is malleable and dependent upon the sum of many individual elements.
Defining your brand goes far beyond the color palettes and fonts you select. It speaks to the heart of your authentic story and what you represent within your industry. The definition of your business is the first step in the branding process, which eventually instructs your marketing and communications strategy. Defining your brand takes depth of thought, decision making and data gathering — it’s not a process to be taken lightly, as you’ll be laying the foundation for your customers’ experience across all access points.
Here are three key steps to helping to define your brand with clarity:
- Take an inventory of your skills and unique offerings. What are you especially good at? What are the specific areas of strengths that you have as a business owner? What do you want your customers to think of when they think of your brand?
- Understand your customers’ needs. What problems can you help your target customers’ solve? Of the skills and unique offerings you provide, which will be most appealing to your customer base? Which will create a demand? Which services and offerings are fulfillable, scalable and repeatable?
- Determine your key differentiators. It’s likely you’re business isn’t the first in its category; however, your task it to focus on the attributes that differentiate you from your competitors. What makes you stand out? How can create a brand experience that is unique within your category? What “extras” can you provide that make your business worth an investment from a prospective customer?
Be specific in answering these questions so you can easily craft messaging that is clear, direct and easily digestible to your target audience.
Ready to get started creating the brand of your dreams? Let’s work together.