The first step of the branding process is to DEFINE your brand. What is the mission of your brand? What are you trying to accomplish? What audience are your target marketing your products and services to? These are all questions you need to answer to help you understand who you, what you want to do, and what makes you different. Many organizations know little about branding, therefore you can get a leg up on your competition by knowing who you are, and discovering how to articulate it clearly.
Let’s first determine the characteristics of your business:
Who are you? What is your business all about? What is your mission, and what are your values?
What do you do? What unique services and products do you offer? What makes them superior to your competition?
Study your competition, contrast your business against theirs:
Who is your competition? What companies or individuals offer the same or similar services and products as you? Who is it that you’re constantly quoting your services for, or fighting for shelf space with? These are your closest competitors, and the ones you should be the most concerned with in the definition process.
What makes you different? With those same competitors in mind, what separates you from them? Do you have a specific area of expertise? Do you offer solutions to problems that your competition doesn’t? Do you serve a specific geographical region?
Be careful to avoid differentiators like “better”, “faster”, and “cheaper” – they’re highly subjective and far too difficult to maintain as your business matures. Ideally, your differentiators should mature with your business and remain with you as your business grows.
Plan your target audience – your best customers:
Who can you best serve? Determine who makes up your target market – through demographics. Facts like race, age, sex, occupation, even psychographics – motivations, hobbies, dreams, desires. All of these are critical factors in determining your target market.
Whats the best way to reach out the them? Once you’ve defined who you are, and who you want to help, the next step is to determine how you can reach out to them. This means to determine what types of media you’ll need to spread your message, let them know how you can help them.
Addressing the define step first before you create your brand, you’ll ensure that your business and brand identity is built on a solid foundation. Would you build a house on a swamp? Or would you rather pour a solid foundation for the house to rest on? Defining allows you to completely understand your business and it’s customers. It also allows your customer to easily identify your brand as the most appropriate business to meet and fulfill their needs.
Too commonly entrepreneurs start businesses with some very loose ideas about how their company should be structured and what they plan to offer. They run off, full of passion, determination, and excitement, skip over step 1 and go right to step 2 to create a logo, a business card, and some letterhead. More often then not, this results in an inappropriate logo that does not truly communicate the vision of the company or is too generalized or generic.
Start at step 1, take the extra steps to fully prepare your brand identity and define your unique position. You’ll be happy you did as you take a complete, mature, appropriate brand into the future with your business.
Stick with us, as we explain the next step: Designing your brand. Want to know how to choose appropriate typography? How to design that perfect logo? We’ll even tell you what colors mean to the subconscious mind and how that can be important in marketing.