Your Branding Sucks and How To Fix It.
I promise I'm not trying to hurt your feelings, but in many cases it's true.
Entrepreneurs and small business owners are typically focused on one thing: making their dreams come true. I get it, I'm right there with you, but without nailing down your brand from every angle, you're just another fish in the sea.
Branding is still one of the most misunderstood facets of any business. It is often thought of as just your visual identity, and further reduced to just your logo and maybe the business name.
This couldn't be any further from the truth.
Let's dive into exactly what branding is, why it's important, and how you can effectively take your brand to the next level. It's a lot more than you think.
What In the Heck Is Branding Anyways?
What In the Heck Is Branding Anyways?
Like I mentioned before, the vast majority of people no matter their background, shrink branding down to the most obvious parts: logo, business name, packaging, etc.
If the answer to the question was this simple, this guide wouldn't exist.
Branding can't be boiled down to just a few parts, it's a complex machine that has innumerable moving parts. Still, if you must have a singular definition, let's give it a go:
Branding is the process of making key choices to shape how people perceive your business as a whole. Visual identity, culture, mission and presence are all pieces to the puzzle, and you must sculpt each piece so they fit seamlessly to form the bigger picture.
To give an analogy, if you think your branding is complete with just a logo and your business name, you've essentially decided to make an omelet, but you stopped after you cracked the eggs.
No one wants a bite.
To help you get through the process of developing your brand beyond runny eggs, I've created a free branding checklist that you can download here. Most people won't be able to check off everything and that is totally fine, it's just a guide to help you identify any holes in your brand development up to this point so you can form a plan of action.
When it comes to developing your brand, you've got to have some sort of strategy in place. You start a business with a business plan, why would you leave your branding completely open ended?
If you don't have a brand strategy, you might as well be treading in the middle of the ocean.
I know it's a bit intimidating, but it's certainly not difficult! If you've downloaded my free branding checklist, most of the work is done for you! Simply write or type out the answers to the questions under the brand strategy section, and you're done! Easy as that.
The goal is to simply identify your core values, why it is you do what you do, and how you want to communicate that to the world.
What is your mission?
What is your vision?
What is your brand's personality?
Who is your ideal client?
These are just a few of the questions asked in the checklist, but once you've got answers to all of them, you're in a phenomenal position to start growing your brand. One key point I'd like to add though:
Growing your brand is different than growing the business.
Growing your business is what most entrepreneurs and business owners are focused on. I get it. Increasing revenue, decreasing costs, hiring a solid team, etc. These are all incredibly important, don't get me wrong, but that's all just business, and it doesn't make you any different from the next.
However, growing your brand is essential to growing your business. Brand is what increases recognition and trust, provides a platform to advertise from, instills pride in employees and shareholders, builds loyalty in your customers, and increases the overall perceived value of the business.
Phew, I know that was a lot, but you should be able to see now why actively developing your brand directly affects the growth of the business.
Your brand is far more than just a pretty face.