Many business owners know in the back of their minds that they are supposed to build a brand for their company. It’s one of those “to-dos” that one usually hires out because the process seems confusing and the result unclear.
Business Success Consulting Group CEO Adi Klevit recently discussed branding with author and branding expert David Brier. They talked about the common problems business owners encounter concerning branding and shared a process one can follow to establish a brand.
In this article, we summarize that process so that you can utilize it.
What is a “Brand?”
Before we discuss building your brand, let’s talk about what a brand is and why you need one. This is the first block many business owners and marketers encounter when it comes to branding. There’s that question: “What is it, and why do I need it?”
Some marketers develop a brand deck with the particular colors and fonts a business should use to remain consistent across all platforms. That certainly is part of it, but let’s break down branding into its most basic components.
Branding is the task of taking the problems your business is there to solve and encapsulating how your company solves them. Then, translating that into something which communicates consistently across all platforms, whether it be a postcard mailing or posting on social media. A good brand differentiates your business from all the others and shows potential customers that you are uniquely situated to provide the right solution for their problems.
Many company owners mistake a logo or font type for branding. They establish a color deck the marketing team uses across the board and then say their branding is done.
As David Brier points out, there is much more to branding than designing a logo.
How to Create a Process for Building Your Brand
Building a brand includes designing a logo, color deck, font, and more. It also includes how you work with customers and how you provide solutions. A brand should be customer-centric, not company-centric.
With that in mind, here is a “how-to” for building an effective brand for your business.
0. Set aside your preconceived notions about your brand and your competitor’s brands.
As a business owner, you have the experience and know-how to understand the issues your customers run into and how to solve them. Branding is how you communicate that fact through visual means across every platform. Utilizing branding will help you to share what makes your business distinct.
However, if you have built a business and still feel your branding is ineffective, it’s time to set aside what you think you know and look at your business and your competitors with fresh eyes.
1. Establish the rationale behind the brand.
Determine why you are differentiating your company from the pack. There are many reasons to differentiate yourself, and this may even be something you are doing already.
For example, if you have a company that is building a better product than any other similar item out there, that difference is what you want to point out in your brand. How does your new product help the customer? What problems does it solve for the customer?
2. Start the conversation with the client by discussing their challenges and aspirations – not about your business.
Most business owners’ first impulse is to talk about their business, their products, and what it can do for a potential client. That makes sense because business owners are passionate about what they do.
However, when it comes to branding, the conversation starts with the customer. It’s all about them, their problems, and their aspirations. From there, the discussion turns to how your product or service can solve those problems or help them meet their goals.
3. What is in the “Sea of Noise” in which your company must compete?
Often, we focus on what we can provide clients and who that client is. We only see part of the picture by concentrating on these two things. Most companies do marginal research into what competitors are doing, so it’s hard to differentiate from the competition.
Take time to dive into the sea of noise, assess what’s out there, and determine opportunities to differentiate. A little digging will always yield a reward.
4. What is distinct in your brand story, narrative, and messaging?
You can determine what makes your brand unique by digging through the noise and talking to clients about their problems and aspirations. You can then establish a brand story, narrative, and messaging.
5. Establish your brand design
Now that you have a story and message, you can determine the best design for your brand. It may feel counter-intuitive to do the design last, as many branding experts design a logo and brand deck, then leave it to you. But getting the messaging straight before the design ensures every aspect of your branding, from copy to visuals, reinforces the message you are trying to deliver.
Building systems for your business is what we do here at Business Success Consulting Group. We are ready to help you find and document what works and fix what doesn’t so you can build a scalable brand. Get in touch if you need to create processes for everything from branding to sales.