Every business has a brand. Try these branding tips to take charge of your branding. You'll craft and create a brand that shares your message so that other people don’t tag something on you.
Many people think branding is your colors, font types, logo, and all visuals you use. But these are just components of the brand identity. Branding is so much more.
Many brands start with a product or service. Who you are, what you do and who you offer it to. Ex: I offer XYZ to millennials. They create an offer and then try to identify the best market to sell it to. That’s backward.
First, you need to know why you’re doing something. Simon Sinek, author of best seller Start With Why,” said it so well, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” Who do you want to help, and what problem do you want to solve? What do you believe will be the best way to help them? Then build your offer and brand to solve their problem.
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Why are you doing what you do? A common answer is I want to make money. That’s a superficial reason that’s not really sustainable. Go deeper and think about why make money this way. What draws you to this field, this work? There is something that draws you.
You want to find what makes you unique and what your passion is. That’s sustainable and your magnet. It’s also your unique selling point or dominant selling idea. It’s the magic key.
Some people dream of becoming firefighters, police officers, or doctors. Others dream of being a world or Olympic champion.
Remember the Wright brothers working in their bicycle shop? Their passion was manned flight, they believed it would change the world and wanted to be a part of it. Their passion got everyone on their team excited and passionate, too, and they beat the odds and were the first manned flight.
A good way to discover what drives you is to think back over major events in your life. Often there is a theme around what stands out as important. Once you have identified your passion and who you want to help, you can start to build your brand. And with your why, you have the tool that makes you stand out from your competitors.
Once you have identified your who and your why, you need to define your values, what you stand for and how they set you apart from your competitors. Today’s consumer likes to do business with like-minded people who stand for something, are involved with helping others, and give back. So they look for a business that shares their values. This might be protecting the planet, inclusivity, or working wages for all.
In the case of a company called O’o Hawaii, their values are to protect birds unique to Hawaii. The name comes from the beautiful O’o bird whose feathers were prized by Hawaiian royalty. They carefully caught, plucked a few feathers, and released the birds. Unfortunately, European lethal hunting methods pushed the bird to extinction. No one will ever hear its song or see those feathers again outside a museum.
Toms shoes started its business by donating a pair of shoes for every pair purchased. Today they donate to ensure those with limited assets can access mental health care.
Regardless of industry or niche, you can find stand-out companies known for their values and mission. Whatever your values are, identify and share them so your customers can help you make them happen.
Your why, story and values guide your marketing position and strategy. They define your messages and the customer experience you offer. And they provide guideposts for choosing the components for your brand identity.
What guarantee do you offer your clients? What is a reason to trust you? This is especially important for first-time buyers who are still discovering if they know, like, and feel they can trust you.
But if everything ties back to who you are and why you do what you do, it makes an attractive package that draws people to you like a magnet.
An important component is to take your brand why and create your brand story. Ideally, one page, less than 100 words, describes your why. This story may never be published, but its essence, the message, will guide your brand growth and be the magnet that will attract followers. Within the story, it’s common to discover the words or sentences that become your tagline.
In today’s world, Gen Z is a perfect example of shoppers who don’t buy what you do, rather, they buy why you do it. If you want to take advantage of this group, the largest market segment that will drive the future, discover your why and write your story. If writing isn’t your forte, hire a specialist. It’s way less expensive than a struggling or failing marketing plan.
You don't have to feel like you are started and stuck with who you are. Many successful businesses have tweaked or shifted their branding to stay relevant, current, and competitive.
When I started my copywriting career, my business was called Judith Culp Creative Copy. But as I evolved and remarried, it didn’t fit as well. So I rebranded myself as JCP Wellness Copy. It’s more relevant to the people I want to help and work with, those whose business relates to a pillar of wellness..
A perfect example is Coke. Their very first ad in 1886 said delicious and refreshing. They’ve also said the pause that refreshes, and things go better with coke. They still sell coke and other varieties of soft drinks, but what worked in the 1800s doesn’t match today’s buyers. And they respect their brand identity. They didn’t call it coke orange or coke clear, they give each product its own brand, target audience, and identity elements.
It’s not only okay, but can be essential to make changes, get updated, and redefine yourself.
Seeing is believing. A graphic that illustrates your brand either directly or in a metaphor is a memorable tool that will drive your marketing. It shares your dominant selling idea plus provides proof in one step.
The Michelin tire with a baby says safety and comfort.
The caring, good hands are Allstate.
The rock of Gibraltar denotes strength.
The baby on Gerber packaging reinforces “babies are our business.”
Your tagline, like your logo, is a workhorse for you. So let your imagination go wild, look around you to see good and bad examples, and write them down. Or, call up a visual designer to get the job done faster.
Now, you get to the fun part of selecting the components that people will see when they encounter your brand. Ensure that these visual components reflect your why, your audience, and how you are helping solve their problem.
Like Coca-cola, you can tweak the visuals to stay relevant, current, and on-brand. Everything will flow to help share your brand, why, and message.
Think about this: most brick-and-mortar businesses remodel and update at least every seven years. That keeps things looking fresh and modern. They don’t change who they are, they just get a fresh coat of paint.
Test the market: survey some clients or target audience on what resonates with them. It’s an opportunity to bond them to you. If you aren’t getting a positive response from your target audience, it may be time to reconsider and tweak the elements you’re using.
It takes answering tough questions and digging into analyzing your responses. It’s often easier with outside support. A fresh set of eyes that may see you in a way you’re not seeing yourself. [email protected]
You might also find this article on the Magic Sauce for your success of interest.
Or this article on discovering missed opportunities to increase engagement.
Judith Culp Pearson receives three top honors
at the annual Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals in
Ft. Worth, Texas - October 7-9, 2023