What is branding and why is it important? Great questions. Branding is establishing who you are and how people perceive your company. Branding creates an ongoing recognition for your business among customers. It develops a compelling, lasting image of your business. It also gives your company a competitive edge by helping you stand out among the competition.
Entrepreneur.com phrased it perfectly. "Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors'. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be."
Creating a brand takes careful thought and planning. Here are a few things you should keep in mind while developing your brand.
Ask some key questions to define your brand and be sure to write the answers down. Thoroughly defining who you are will help narrow your focus and establish your niche.
- Who are you? What do you offer consumers?
- What does your brand do best?
- What sets your brand apart?
- What's your story?
- What qualities do you want assosciated with your company?
Define a mission and vision.
Mission and vision define a brand's purpose, objectives, as well as what they hope to accomplish. These can aid in decision making, strategy, and goal creation. They can be a single sentence or a short paragraph. There are lots of great examples out there so do a quick Google to research what others have done and begin thinking about how you will shape your mission and vision.
- What opportunities will the company addresses?
- What types of products or services are provided?
- What principles or beliefs guide the company?
- Where do you want your brand to be in five to ten years?
- What defines success?
Define your market.
It is never a good idea to be all things to all people. Brand's who try this tend to be ok at a lot of things but don't stand out among the competition. Defining your market will help you create more impactful ad campaigns, content, or product offerings.
- Who are your customers?
- What are your customer's needs?
- How can you meet those needs?
Define your voice and image.
Voice and image are probably the most memorable pieces of a brand. There are the pieces of brands we can all identify without seeing their full name (think the Target bullseye or Amazon arrow). Without any context you know exactly what company they represent as well as some of their brand attributes.
Your brand's voice and image go hand-in-hand and should be reflective of each other. If your brand is modern and lighthearted, your imagery and voice should be as well.
- How do you want to be perceived? Traditional? Young? Expensive?
- What kind of personality will your brand have?
- What colors or elements will be used throughout any brand assets (logo, website, etc.)
- How formal will you in when communicating with consumers?
Branding is not only a great way to lay the foundation for what your business will accomplish, but also a great way to establish an identity that will help you stand out. Revisit these questions periodically to ensure you have stayed on track but don't be afraid to make adjustments as your business grows.