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Nike, Poopourri, Amazon, Dollar Shave Club, Ziploc – those are Brands, but what exactly IS a Brand? Think about it. Anytime you hear one of these company’s names, you think – Brand and not business. Right?!
Any business can turn Brand. In the age of the internet, size doesn’t matter. The business titans and heavy hitters of 5 or 10 years ago are going extinct. (Toys-R-Us and Payless, anyone?) Everywhere you look, small companies are taking the world by storm, and it’s not their pocketbooks or products that put them on the map. It’s Branding.
What worked for our parent’s generation is not working now. If you’re ready to take your business to the next level and into the modern age, you’ve come to the right place.
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What Is A Brand ?
A Brand Is A Business Personified – Given Human Traits And Characteristics That Distinguishing it From Every Other Company
We know and love our pets so well that we give them human personality traits. Stay with me here.
My dog, Coppa, is a female pit / lab mix. She’s the cuddliest, chunkiest pup on the planet. More importantly, she’s obsessed with three things : blankets, being spanked (not pet -spanked…hard), and food. And so, when telling people about her I say, ‘ If Coppa were a human, she would be the happiest, chunkiest, dominatrix who ever walked the planet.’ #truth
While, we can’t relate to inanimate objects like a business, but we can abso-freaking-lutely relate to Brands.
Businesses exist to sell products to customers.
Brands don’t sell anything to anyone.
They share their beliefs, ideas, and hopes with people like them.
Think of a company. Then, imagine that they are person, painting a picture in your head about who they would be.
- Firstly, the logo, colors, fonts, and visual assets -that’s what they would look like.
- Next, the Brand Voice and messaging – that’s its personality.
- Last, but not least, the Brand Story is its past, present, and future.
What Is Branding?
Branding is the concrete foundation, folks! Whip out your pen and paper and start scribbling, because this is the good stuff.
Branding is the creative and strategic art of taking a business and turning it into a Brand. If that answer seems oversimplified – it is. The real question should be, how can I use Branding to become a Brand?
Building A Brand
Define, Research, and Target Your Audience
The #1 thing Brands focus on is their customers, without them, all you have is a good idea poorly executed. For instance, how well do you think Dove understood all of us when they flipped the industry on its head with Body Confidence campaigns?
Pretty damn well. It’s like they were in our heads….
You don’t need to have the expenditure of a company like Dove to know your customers.
Know Your Audience
During my years as a Brander, I’ve had my fair share of clients retort with the, ‘Oh, I know my customers, I talk to them everyday –personally’ bit. And if a blip of recognition nudged you, you should know, that’s great -truly.
However, it’s worth considering that you may only know them through their interactions with you. Customers have a whole life outside of your shop / site. And that other 99.9% of their life, drives their spending habits.
If you don’t know your customers, there’s never been a better time to get going. Begin by looking at your current data and analytics from your site, plug-ins, Google Search Console, POS systems, social media, receipts… the list is endless. Ye who searches will most likely find thy answers…-ith.
We all have numerous types of audiences purchasing from us. Target your top (3-4) buyer personas and give them a name.
Ex : if you owned a bakery, one of your consumer avatars could be ‘ Wedding Cakes & Catering.’ Create a profile for your ideal customer. Let’s call her Sunny-D.
Discover everything you can about Wedding Cake & Catering customers. Start by researching this type of client and their needs. In the case of a bakery, you will want to look at national trends, but your primary focus is local life and habits.
What’s her life like? Where does she work? Who does she live with? What keeps her up at night or puts a smile on her face? What kind of brands does she like? Why is she coming to you as opposed to your competitor? How do you accommodate her spending habits?
Download my free buyer persona template to fill in the blanks, getting up close and personal with your target audience and start building your brand.
Find The Essence Of Your Business Through Brand Positioning Elements
Brand Positioning is consciously making your brand look and feel a certain way. For instance, take Hot Topic -any two people walking into their store will walk away with roughly the same sentiment.
Can you even imagine walking out of that store with plaid shorts and a polo?
Obviously, that’s not gonna happen.
Everyone who comes in contact with your business should feel exactly the same about you. These are 7 Brand Positioning elements to make sure that happens.
- Core Values – What Do You Stand For As A Company? What Are Your Guiding Principles?
- Positioning Statement – How Do You Want The World To See You ?
- Tones of Voice – What Is Your Brand’s Personality Range?
- Mission Statement – What Is The Organization’s Purpose? Who Do You Do It For? Why?
- Brand Promise – What Do You Promise With Every Interaction?
- Vision Statement – Where Is The Company Going?
- Tagline – Sum Up Your Company With A Mic Drop.
Create Visual Assets
When most people think about branding, visual assets come to mind : logos, color palettes, fonts (typography), imagery (iconography). All the parts of a brand that line store shelves and websites.
“The average consumer believes your logo is your brand, when, in reality, it’s just the other side of the coin.“
Design is equally as important as Brand Voice and Persona, but there’s a reason why the logo and visual assets are produced after your identity.
Let’s go back to Hot Topic. The concept and Positioning existed before Hot Topic created its visuals. If the process were done in reverse, Hot Topic could have ended up with a logo and typography that really didn’t tell you who they are. Think Varsity font for Hot Topic.
It would be downright confusing. Meaning, we would not be having this conversation, because they would have failed long before you heard the name.
👍🏽 Allow your visuals to reflect who you are as a company.
Hone In On Your Branding, Deciding How It Can and Can’t Be Used
At this point, you’ve passed branding puberty and have ‘found yourself.’ Now -we crank it up.
Have you considered the range of your personality?
If your company is warm and approachable – how warm is too warm? Do you speak to your customers like they are your bestie? Are you sure about that? So, you’re ok using gutter language and asking people about their darkest secrets?
You have to consider every possibility, because one day, you’re going to hire a manager or social media marketer and tell them ‘we’re warm and approachable’ -and their warm may be warmer than you appreciate.
Those Brands that are smashing it…yeah… they’re hyper-specific about every aspect. And they complete this daunting task by compiling all of their brand’s information into a beast of a document, a.k.a the Brand Guidelines.
Guidelines are freedom. Brands can turn into a ball and chain scenario.
“Do this,’ ‘don’t do that,’ ‘say this,’ and ‘definitely don’t ever say that …“
Trying to get your team to remember your entire brand experience on top of their jobs can be next to impossible.
Ever walk into a restaurant, and the whole staff screams something at you the moment your foot touches the threshold? ‘Hi Welcome To __________!!!!!’
I never know whether to duck or be thoroughly impressed at the orchestrated chorus. You have to admit it’s kind of impressive. Like…they do it in unison.
That is the power of Brand Guidelines in motion. You can write it all out and never have to repeat yourself.
Loads of companies are digitizing parts of theirs into a transparent experience! Now, that’s an example of solid Branding. In case you care, but even if you don’t, I’m gonna tell you my personal favorites Twitch, Uber, and Hubspot. You’re welcome.
No matter where you’re at -social media, your website, a newspaper adb, it needs to look and feel like your Brand. Someone should be able to see your colors from a mile away or read a sentence, and think, ‘Oh, that’s your brand name here.’
Let Your Branding Loose
What’s a Branding for if you never let it loose upon the world? Go overboard with this part. Perhaps, I should be more specific.
Plastering your logo on every surface, empty wall space, and car window you come in contact with is not Branding. That’s not even good marketing.
…No, that’s straight-up vandalism. A friendly reminder : only vandals enjoy vandalism.
Branding is using your business’s persona and visual assets anywhere you can -wisely.
For example, if your brand is hilarious, maybe make your bathroom signs equally awesome or give your customer support team a solid opening line…
Emails – Yes
Social Media Accounts -and Yes.
…I could do this all day. When someone has the opportunity to experience your Brand – give it to them.
At the end of the day, if you don’t know where to begin – you know where to find the people who can give you a hand over at Writing Wit Creative Studios.
Branding – Why It’s Important For Your Business
A business that looks like everyone and sounds like everyone in a world where there are 7.5 billion everyones will be no one and out of business.
Allow me to paint a financial Monet.
A business is worth the value of its assets. Assets begin depreciating the moment they’re purchased. The same company whose worth is next to zero on paper, because their assets are 10+ years old could be worth millions of dollars if it were a Brand.
- In 2015, Dollar Shave Club was not profiting at a revenue of $152 million /yr.
- Dollar Shave Club sold cheap ass razors purchased from a wholesaler in Asia for next to nothing.
- In 2016, Dollar Shave Club sold for a billion USD to Unilever…the Unilever.
- It was one of the largest sales of an e-commerce business in history.
- Dollar Shave Club did not sell for $1 billion dollars because of its cheap-ass razors.
- It sold for that price tag because of its Brand, more specifically -its Brand Equity. That and because Michael Dubin is the shiz. That video made him my business idol.
- Moral of the story, be a Brand not a business.
More Reasons Why It’s Important For Your Business Brands : 1. Are memorable. Strong Brands are unforgettable. 2. Make and sell for more money 3. Are trusted by their customers. Your Brand represents a promise to your audience, and when you keep that promise, you have more than a sale – you have loyalty. 4. Have a purpose beyond a purchase. They are actively seeking to do some good in the world. Whether that’s to make people smile or to change it. 5. Brands are ideas. Companies can fail, ideas can’t. Sure, they can fade over time, but a business can disappear in a moment.
Go Brand or Go Home
When you’re an entrepreneur, your company is your life’s blood. It’s what we dream about, and what keeps us up at night – not to mention the time and money we put into them. Moreover, it’s our way to Make our Mark on the World. Why wouldn’t you want that idea to go as far as it can?
What Is a Brand And Why It’s Important For Your Business?
A Brand is your idea, scaled as large as you can dream it. A Brand is giving it your all and serving people more than a product or service. It’s getting the word out to give your business a fighting chance in an oversaturated market.
It’s your Brand that gives them an experience that no one else can. It’s something to look forward to be it a cup of warmth after a long night or making someone smile while doing something they had to do anyway.
Your Brand IS Your Business amped up.
Last, but not least -Go Out, Rock Their Socks Off, then, come back and tell us about it in the thread below. I want to hear all the things!
In Branding, you’re only limited by your imagination, where did yours take you? Share the good, the bad, and the ugly in the comments below.
TELL 'EM ALL