Knowing where to start when creating or reshaping your brand can be complicated.
We’ve created a simple six stage process to give you some guidance on what needs to be done and in what order to make sure you make the most of your opportunity.
1. Write down your vision
Many business owners think the best place to start is by drafting a plan or strategy. In actual fact, the best place to start is with writing down your vision for what you want your business to become.
If you visualise the future, where you would like your business to be and what you would like it to look like in so many years’ time you can begin to make a plan for how to get there.
If you’re not sure about what your vision should like, here’s a few pointers:
• what are your with financial goals for the next three to five years?
• what does a picture of success beyond financial metrics look like?
• what space in the market would you like to occupy?
• who is your perfect customer?
• what are their needs?
• what products and services will you offer to satisfy their needs?
• what would you like to be known for within your market/industry?
• how will you add value to your industry over and above your competition?
2. Understand your customers
A fundamental factor to building any brand is to understand of your customers and their needs.
Any branding programme should start with insight. Speak to a variety of stakeholders including customers, employees and suppliers. Ask them about their current perceptions of the business, your value to them and what they need from you and your business moving forward.
This doesn’t have to be a lengthy and costly process but by asking the right the questions to the right people and taking the time to listen, you will find a lot of the answers you need to build a strong and highly relevant brand that is aligned to the needs and aspirations of your audience.
3. Understand your competitors and your place in the market
Understand that you cannot appeal to everyone. You therefore need to define your niche and create a point of difference that you can continually deliver against.
You first need to review your market:
• what are your competitors saying?
• what position in the market do they occupy?
• what is their value?
• what opportunity in the market are they missing?
• what do they do well?
• what do they do badly that you could capitalise on?
• what do they look like and how can you differentiate?
Often referred to as positioning, this can be one of the most important and successful factors of building a strong brand that people can associate with and align their own values to. The result is a much stronger and deeper emotional connection to the brand that drives retention and boosts lifetime value.
Positioning strategies work to define a unique and defendable place in the market. The best are ideas that create differentiation with purpose and that you can own.
Some of the best positioning examples include:
– Volvo: Safety
– Disney: Make people happy
– Nike: Genuine athletic performance
– Apple: humanising technology
– McDonald’s: Fast foods with home values
– Airbnb: A home away from home
4. Define your brand story
Before any work begins on designing what your brand looks like (the visual identity), you should build a strong verbal identity. This means creating a brand story.
Your brand story should describe:
• your position in the market
• what you stand for
• why you exist
• what you do
• how you do it
• what value you provide to your customers
Often called a positioning statement your brand story should form a series of short paragraphs that subsequently influences the visual identity and all communications moving forward.
5. Design your business
The final step is to design what your brand looks like. Taking influence from your brand story and ensuring you differentiate from your competitors the key things that should be considered in this phase are:
• image/illustration style
• visual language (the graphic devices that make up the brand beyond the logo)
6. Get help
Branding is a complicated process that often needs a fresh perspective to ensure you maximise your opportunity.
When choosing a third party be sure to select one that will be able to offer a fresh perspective and be bold enough to challenge your own perceptions. This way, you will ensure the output both delivers against your expectations and the true potential of your business.
If you’re unsure where to start, or feel that you need some help, the Fogg Fund might be a good place to turn. Built around our passion to support business owners achieve their growth potential, the Fogg Fund is a FREE, high value workshop to understand the challenges and explore the opportunities facing business leaders.
We guarantee the workshop will leave you feeling energised and identify what needs to be done to take your business to the next level.