Every business has a brand. The difference is whether you create it deliberately or if others assign it to you. You need to take the time to 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.
A basic place to start is your brand definition. Who you are, what you do and who you offer it to. Ex: I coach business owners to find work-life balance. This is the place many new businesses try to start. 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. 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 business and brand to solve their problem.
Why are you doing what you do? A common answer is I want to make money. Not good enough. Go deeper and think about why make money this way. What draws you to this field, this work? There is something that draws you. What makes you unique, and what is your passion?
When you discover this, it’s sustainable and your magnet. It’s also your unique selling point or dominant selling idea. It’s the magic key if it’s high on the "want list" of the person you are trying to help.
Some people dream of becoming firefighters, police officers, or doctors. Others dream of being a world or Olympic champion. I dreamed of writing for Rod Sterling’s Twilight Zone and being a teacher.
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. You are looking for something that will excite and inspire that viewer to take action - contact you, buy something. Without action, you have no sales.
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 key tool to stand out from your competitors.
Next, take your brand why and create your brand story. Ideally, one page, less than 100 words, and describe 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. It will lead you to your tagline and every element of your brand.
Then take your story and condense it in a sentence or less. Discover microscripts and story bites on how you help solve the problem.
In today’s world, Gen Z doesn’t buy what you do, 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 business.
It’s never too late to pause and re-evaluate. If your brand isn’t working, go through these steps and re-invent yourself. Many successful businesses have tweaked or shifted their branding to stay relevant, current, and competitive.
My business was called Judith Culp Creative Copy when I started my copywriting career. But as I evolved and remarried, it didn’t fit as well. So I rebranded myself as JCP Wellness Copy. My sweet spot is working with people in a wellness-related business. So the rebrand is more relevant to the people I want to help and work with.
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 it can be essential to make changes, get updated, and redefine yourself.
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. 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 unique of Hawaii. The name comes from the beautiful bird whose feathers were prized by Hawaiian royalty. They carefully caught, plucked a few feathers, and released the birds. Unfortunately, the arrival of European lethal hunting methods pushed the bird to extinction.
Salons and clinics belonging to the Green Salon Collective work to reduce and recycle salon waste to protect the planet. To offset the expense, patrons expect to pay a little extra or a one-dollar-per-visit participation charge.
In the permanent cosmetic industry, some technicians give back to their community with discounted or pro bono services to those recovering from cancer. While a lawyer may offer their services pro bono to a low-income person. The phrase comes from the Latin “for the public good.”
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.
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 parts of 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.
Create a list of what you excel at and give people a reason to believe and trust you. Is there something you can say you are the best at or number one? Is there something you are the only one offering? A superlative and an only are key success factors. They need to be clear and specific.
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.
Now, you get to the fun part of selecting the components people will see when encountering your brand. Ensure that the visual components, including your brand name, color choices, fonts, images, and logos, reflect your why, your audience, and how you are helping solve their problem.
Images or pictures can tell your story in a super memorable way. They should portray your dominant selling idea. If you can find an image that shows the problem being solved, you’ve moved a long way forward.
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 get a fresh coat of paint. When you buy a new coat or change your hair, it doesn’t change who you are. It just gives you a new look.
One good technique is to survey some clients or at least your target audience on what resonates with them. It’s also 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 can be challenging as it takes an investment in time, whether you do it all yourself or work with a marketer. Bypass anyone who starts talking about appearance and design first. That’s backward. You can’t hope to be effective by starting at the endpoint instead of the beginning. That’s you and why you serve who you serve. Then it's about how you serve them.
The rewards will be messages and a package that resonates with your target audience.
We start with an interview and a review of where you are now. I want to know who you really are and why you do what you do. Then we move into your ideal clients and their avatar. From there, it's your offer or product and your brand story. Once we have your brand story, I start developing the key phrases that you will use in your marketing. Tag lines, if you will. Things that capsulize your essence. Finally, we are ready to develop the brand identity elements. When everything is ready, a marketing campaign will share your updated brand with your target audience.
Need help? Message me: [email protected].