Branding is more than creating an attractive logo and putting together a pretty color palette.
Creating a brand for your business is a complex yet efficient task. It often stirs up emotions, frustrations and fears that you do not initially expect. This is because your brand ultimately forms the heartbeat of your business.
So, what do you need to do before creating a brand?
Think about the last item you purchased. What motivated you to desire the service and/or product? Why did you choose that specific brand and not its competitors? How do you feel about your final decision?
One important matter to note is that people generally buy based on emotion rather than logic. Therefore, an effective brand is encouraged to have an emotional impact; to connect with the hearts and minds of your customers.
Your brand should have a lasting effect. It needs to be memorable; to trigger something in your customer which makes them want to know more about the products or services that you offer.
Sounds like a lot of pressure, right? Don’t panic, I am here for you!
To help you through this process, I am going to share what you need to do before creating a brand for your business. Specifically, 6 questions you need to answer, even before you start looking at logo concepts or color palettes.
Incorporating these questions into your brand strategy will enable you to establish a strong foundation to work from when it comes to creating a visual brand identity.
1. WHAT IS THE VISION I HAVE FOR MY BUSINESS?
The vision of your business environs the reason why you do what you do. It is the driving force behind every decision, every action, every process of your brand’s message. Think of it as being the north star which guides you throughout your entire business journey.
Your vision becomes “the thing” that encourages you to get out of bed everyday. It is the driving force which enables you to push through the hard times; to see the light when all you feel like doing is throwing in the towel.
As your business goals and objectives change over time, your business vision might also need revamping. Just keep in mind that your vision is what molds your brand message and how you convey this to your audience.
2. WHAT IS THE MISSION OF MY BUSINESS?
The mission of your business identifies your specific goals and objectives. It covers the ‘what’ & ‘who’ aspects of your brand.
The business mission is concise and straightforward. It should be as simple as a single sentence which covers the philosophies that help to guide your business. A strong mission statement will help to provide direction. And, it will inspire a community of loyal followers who are passionate about what you do.
3. WHAT ARE THE VALUES WHICH DRIVE MY BUSINESS?
Your business values basically determine how your business operates. The values act as guiding principles which assist to establish a cohesive and authentic work culture. They also contribute to your brand positioning and how your audience perceives your business.
It is important to ensure that your business values connect with who you are and the business that you want to build. It is pointless to create a generic list of values, only because you feel like you should include them.
Think about the values which are important to you and how you can apply these to your business. For instance, one of your values might relate to continuously moving forward and always putting in your best effort.
6Q Blog provides a list of incredible examples of company values in their blog post, ‘190 Brilliant Examples of Company Values’. Check it out to get your ideas flowing on how you can create your own list of values and let us know your thoughts below in the comment section.
4. WHAT AM I OFFERING?
This might seem like a very straightforward question. However, this question is not about the products or services that you provide. It is about the actual benefits of purchasing those particular products or services.
Features are a factual statement about a product or service. For example, a feature of a website design service could be the 4 week turnaround time.
Features are not why people decide to buy. This is where benefits come in. The benefit is the result or consequence of the feature. It is the outcome associated with the offering – the answer to the question of “what’s in it for me?”.
So, if the feature is the 2 week turnaround time, then the benefit is a speedy turnaround time. This means your brand new website will launch within less than 14 days. No more waiting weeks or months to go live! Time is money!
Essentially, it is the value that is provided as a result of your product or service.
5. WHO DO I WANT TO WORK WITH?
When creating a brand for your business, it is important to consider who you are providing your product or service to. Most importantly, you need to ask yourself who you would like to work with aka your user persona.
One of the things I ask my clients to do when we work together is to think about their ideal client. What type of person would inspire them to do their best work and remind them of why they started in the first place? What is there age? Where do they live? Where do they spend their disposable income?
What would their personality be like? How would they dress? What would interest them? How old would they be? Would they have children etc.?
When we think about the people that we would like to appeal to we tend to group them together in a general range of ages, personality traits, marital statuses, interests etc.
They might live in a city apartment, have a house in the suburbs or live in a big family home with their husband and kids. They might be between 25-42 years old, be an only child or have five or six siblings.
The best thing you can do is to get as specific as possible. You want to get to the point of describing an individual person rather than a general range of consumers. This doesn’t mean that you have to turn people outside of this description away from your business. A specific set of parameters allows you to identify, understand and connect with people who are right for you and your business.
“The best thing you can do is to get as specific as possible. You want to get to the point of describing an individual person rather than a general range of consumers.”
6. WHO ARE MY COMPETITORS AND WHAT MAKES ME UNIQUE?
A solid understanding of your competitors, their offerings and your unique selling point will push your business forward.
Think of the SWOT Analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). This little exercise will help you to create a full overview of your competitors so you can determine what makes your business unique. This will enable you to communicate your own strengths and competitive advantage to your audience.
Let’s be honest, when it comes down to it, you want them to choose you over your competition.
With that said, it is important that you don’t become consumed with that your competitors are doing. Information about your competitors is vital to have, but the key is to play to your own unique strengths, as opposed to your competitors weaknesses. One strategy may work perfectly for one business, but not for another.
Cassie Rachel’s Summary:
When it comes to creating a brand for your business, I like to think of it as though you are building your dream home. Allow the above six questions to form the foundation of the house. Keep in mind the importance of having a clear idea in mind of the direction that you want to take your business in.
Similar to interior design, the visual aesthetic of your brand – your logo, mood board, imagery etc. – contributes to creating the overall vibe of your brand. However, if you can answer these questions, your chances of creating a brand that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but memorable and impact more people.
Please leave a comment below of your thoughts and/or branding goals for your business!