Whether you’re an established business or just getting started, developing your brand is always a must. Knowing who you are, what your message is, and how to get that message to buyers is the most important aspect of your marketing. Starting without understanding your brand will only lead to confused buyers and lackluster revenue.
Even if you have a pretty good grasp on your brand, you can always use a refresher, right? Getting back to the basics is important to building and maintaining a rock-solid foundation for your business. Let’s go back to the beginning and discover how you can develop your brand from the ground up.
Define Your Business
Maybe it seems a little silly to go back to the very beginning, where you decided on a name for your company. And, of course, you’re already aware of your industry, location, and market size. Still, this is the very foundation of your brand. Your understanding of even these smallest things will help you develop a stronger, more powerful brand.
For instance, let’s think about your business name for a moment. Did you think long and hard before coming up with a clever pun? Maybe you own a flower shop called Best of Buds. One of my favorites is the classic Tequila Mockingbird. If you went for the giggle when naming your business, then that’s part of your brand. You want people to immediately recognize your lighthearted approach to your company.
The name you chose for your company sets an immediate tone, whether you realize it or not. If you’re not sure you got it right, take a moment to ask some trusted colleagues what their first impression is. You’ll learn a lot with just that one question.
Investigate Your Competitors
If your ideal customers aren’t buying from you, who do they buy from? What is so compelling about that competitor that it draws your target audience away? Determining what makes your competition different is one of the fastest ways to determine how you are different.
Let’s imagine you’ve opened a local bank and named it Neighbors Financial Solutions. You’ve got the attention of the families in town, but your biggest competitor manages to get all the high-end investment accounts, and you don’t know why. We could drill right down to the name you chose for your business, which elicits mental images of small-town, friendly service instead of investment sharks like the global financial institutions have. In just one quick question, you’ve determined your competitor’s difference, but you’ve also discovered your own.
Of course, you can’t simply stop at the name of your business. You must investigate every aspect of your brand to determine where you can set yourself apart from the competition.
Recommit to Your Vision and Mission
The reason your business is different from your competitors is because you have your own vision and mission for your brand. Your mission is your why—why did you build your company? What did you hope to accomplish? No one, not even the competitor most comparable to your brand, could possibly have the same why. No one else will have the same vision for your company’s future.
Rediscover your why and recommit. You may have lost sight along the way, or maybe you started with the wrong vision to begin with. Any company’s mission should be obvious to its customers. Is yours? Do your buyers know why you do what you do? If you don’t, they can’t.
Evaluate Your Brand Position
Now that you know who you are, why you’re in business, and how you’re different, it’s time to evaluate your brand position, which could also be called your unique value proposition. This tells you and your buyers everything in one simple statement. Your bank may be “the neighborhood bank where everyone is family” or “the financial institution with years’ of experience in investments.” See how easily your brand position could set you apart from competitors?
You’ll notice we haven’t even touched on your logo, colors, or tag lines. You can’t build a brand on aesthetics alone. These foundational elements must be addressed before you begin designing collateral and building a reputation. We’ll investigate the optics of your brand next time.