Branding...what is it? What do I do? Where do I start? Arrgghh. This is the normal mindset of my clients when they first come to me for branding help.
I am going to let you all in on my top 3 “secrets” to help you feel a little more in control of your brand.
1. YOUR BRAND IS WHAT PEOPLE SAY ABOUT YOU WHEN YOU ARE NOT IN THE ROOM.
Understanding and owning your brand is simple when you break it down. The easiest way to think about it is to ask yourself what you want people to say about you and your brand when you aren’t listening.
A brand is not merely a logo, or colours or images. It is what people understand about you and tell others about you.
Take a minute and think about the most recent recommendation you have someone on a product or a service. What did you say about them and who did you tell?
Now think about the last business you warned someone about - what did you say about them and who did you tell?
Imagine that 20 people said the same thing about that business or brand. Can you see how your brand is made or murdered by word of mouth and what people understand of your story?
If you aren’t telling your story in everything your business does, then someone else will start writing your story for you. Take control and own your story.
2. CONSISTENCY IS QUEEN! (because we all know the Queen sits above King, right?)
Everything you do with your brand, and you personally when you are communicating your brand, MUST be consistent.
Let’s get one thing clear right here and now... we are in the age of the STALKER. Customers can now access you on so many levels via Facebook, Instagram, websites, email, Google... the list goes on.
If you speak informally on your social media and your website is boring professional jargon that puts even you to sleep... are people convinced it’s a brand worthy of their trust? If your logo is slick, black and white and bold but your imagery on your website is a bohemian wonderland... are people not going to be a little confused?
Take the time to write a strategy and outline of all areas where your brand is communicated and make sure they are all working together better than Beyonce and Jay-Z “Drunk In Love” style.
3. YOU + YOUR BRAND = TRUE LOVE?
One thing I tell all my clients is that if you aren’t oozing absolute adoration for your brand, then why the hell would other people?
Ever had someone give you their website details for example, and followed that with “oh it’s just temporary, I really don’t like it, but it will do for now”? You instantly feel like they aren’t in control or happy with what they are offering you.
ABOVE ALL ELSE… be in love with your brand. No matter what stage it is at. And if you don’t love it enough to shout it from the rooftops (think Tom Cruise on Oprah... minus the crazy)... then revisit it. This doesn’t mean you have to over invest in the early stages - but it does mean you should be 100% behind where you are with things at any given time.
The biggest trap here is following the advice of Aunty Betty, your cousin’s neighbour who owned a similar business and your accountant. Because here’s the biggest tip of all... your brand is (and never should be) the replica of another. Advice and input is great, but no decision you make for the future of your brand should come from anywhere other than the bottom of your gut that is saying to you “this is IT!”
MY CHALLENGE TO YOU IS: Do yourself a “Pros and Cons” list of your current branding (or branding strategy if you haven’t launched) and from that write yourself a to do list of 10 things to improve your branding within 2 weeks.
Good luck and feel free to drop me a line at email@example.com if you would like to ask a question about your current branding.
Kerrie Allen is a serial entrepreneur and the Founder & Designer at Design Umbrella, the Co-founder at Guerrilla Creative and the Director at o2fit. She is also a mum of two with a secret sweet spot for 90’s hip hop, white chocolate bullets and all things monochrome.
Visit the Design Umbrella website or connect with them on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. You can also connect with Kerrie on LinkedIn.
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