This blog is the first of a series about branding. If you are a business owner, plan to start your own venture (small or big, it doesn’t matter what kind of startup it is) or work for an organization that could use some help with branding, this series will be valuable to you.
What is branding? Let’s try to define it in a simple manner. Branding involves all of the following:
- Business or organization name
- Social media
- Products and/or services (what are they? Do they have a name?)
- Style and personality
- Location (Where do you operate from? Do you offer your products/services outside of that location?)
- The experience you offer to your customers (how do they feel when they walk into your office or when they receive your services? Is the experience similar for all of your customers?)
Your brand should reflect your personality, style and values. If you are running your own business or plan to start one, your brand should be YOU. If you are operating an existing organization and are looking into refreshing the brand, it is a good idea to review whether or not the current brand properly reflect your organization’s core values and services.
Let’s have some fun with the word B-R-A-N-D. To me, a brand is:
Any brand can be bold, rad, amazing, neat and different in its own way! If it is YOU, then it will be, because each individual, business and organization is unique.
How do we create a brand? Let’s look at three important key steps.
Define your strengths
What are your strengths? Which ones do you want to promote under your brand? What are you good at? You can have a lot of strengths, but not all of them should be used as the foundation of your business. For example, you can excel in photography, but might prefer to keep this skill as a hobby. What are the strengths you can use daily to benefit your customers and generate an income? Successful branding is about promoting those skills. Let’s look at an example.
Particular skills to use in the business: excellence in fashion trends, ability to help people choose outfits that work well on them, ability to keep costs low when it comes to fashion, like to write about fashion.
Business: help people to dress up for events at a low cost, help them choose clothes that will make them feel and look good. Weekly blog on the website about fashion trends.
- Location / market: Community and radius of 200 km around the community. Going to customers where they are.
- Innovation: Only business in the area to offer such services.
Define your values
What are your values as a business or future business owner? Logistically, your values should translate into your business ones as it will become the core of your business. If you value high-customer and personalized service, then you should promote this and reflect this through your brand. It can be reflected through your website, writing, social media posts and meeting potential customers. To continue on the example above:
- High-quality customer service.
- Personalized service for each customer.
- Keep costs low and affordable for them.
- Be involved in the community and various events.
- Make the dressing fun for someone, who doesn’t enjoy shopping.
Define the experience
Now that you have defined your strengths and values, do you have an idea of who your target customers are? Think about who your services would be useful and helpful to. Is your niche broad or rather narrow? To continue on the example above:
- Customers of any age in the community and surroundings that often need to attend public events.
- Customers of any age in the community and surroundings that would like to look nice at a low cost for an important event.
- Customers of any age in the community and surroundings that need help in creating stunning outfits with their own clothes and accessories.
The experience that you want to offer to your customers is very important. The experience should include your personality and how you are doing things, how you talk to your customers, what process you are using, etc. This experience is a crucial part of your brand, because you want to ensure your customers will define you and your services in similar ways to others. Potential future customers that have heard about you will expect the same experience while getting a personalized service.
Next in the series will be about how to build your brand. Get notified or come back next week to find out more about building a brand.
I would love to know your thoughts about creating your own brand and your personal experience in the comments section below.