How To Guide: What is your Brand?

Over the last few weeks we have been focusing on images, marketing and brand and it occurred to me, what if you’re not really sure what your brand is? It can often seem to be something that’s just for the big corporates and that as a small business, you don’t really need to think about brand.

However, in this media heavy world it is really key to help your audiences and customers understand what you are all about – very very quickly! As they scroll past images at lightening speed, how will they notice or recognise one of your posts? How quickly will they remember and understand what you stand for and how they can interact or buy from you?

At this point I must share a vital fact for us to all understand – there is NO SUCH THING AS USP. Unless you have invented a time machine widget, nothing is really unique anymore. What is unique is you, the way you do things and the special service you provide for your customers. Imagine 3 fantastic photographers of equal skills and that charge the same price – how does someone choose which one to hire? They will choose because of a personal connection, a set of values that ties in with their own and the way that you provide a special experience.

So – how do you identify and develop your brand? Are you sure that your audience really understands it? Does your brand change a little depending on what you are selling or the time of year? Have you played with several ways of marketing which may have diluted your brand?

Here are some steps to help you identify and understand what you brand is. If you are able to have this brand running through, potentially lots of different activities or products like a stick of rock, then it will be so much easier to market, clearly speak to the right audience and ultimately convert to sales.

Take these steps in order and it will be a much more juicy and thorough process…

  1. What does your business feel like? This might sound a tricky question so get a piece of paper and write down all the words that your customers have said about your business. Write everything down at this point. Words like fun, quirky, professional, smiley, luxurious, warm, cool etc etc etc might come out. Get it all down.
  2. Now – are there any values that are important to you in your business? You may be sustainable or have a particular ethical focus. Perhaps excellence in customer service is key or always being personal and bespoke. Think again about what your customers might have said about the values they felt you had that made them choose to buy from you. These start to form the values of your business – and it important that these are communicated clearly.
  3. Taking the next step – think about what the voice of the business is. This might be how you communicate directly to your customers or how your posts and content comes out online. Is your business fun, warm and giggly perhaps or is it more cool, professional and organised? Think authentically here – there is no right or wrong. If you are stuck, remember that what voice you have needs to give your audience the same feelings as when they meet you in person.
  4. Finally – the 3 word test. This is super tricky and may evolve slightly over time. Try to think of 3 words that distill all of the above. For Simply Great Britain they are: Celebrate, Support & Connect. These words describe instantly what we are about, demonstrate an atmosphere of accessibility, warmth and purpose and also focusses our activities so that our audience understand how we might differ from other business networking organisations. Once you have your 3 words, all your marketing and brand activity can have those words embedded within them.

I hope that this has been useful and would love to hear how you get on with your branding exercise. Who is super clear already and perhaps connect in the Facebook group for tips ideas or help.