What is your purpose? Obviously, running a successful business is one of them but what are your deeper aims? Why did you start the company and what is it that keeps you going? What do you deliver to your client that makes their life easier/better/more exciting?
Are you looking to achieve something spectacular?
Start your brand exercise by understanding your goals, ideals and mission. Why is it you do what you do. Write it down and summarise your ideals, your purpose, vision and goals in a way that is meaningful to you, your employees and your customers. Keep it brief but make sure it resonates with your business.
Start by researching other brands in your space (and outwith). These established brands can give you an idea of what works well for some of your potential customer segments. Identify your niche. The more specific your product the easier it is to target your audience.
Put together your mission statement. This should tell the world exactly what you intend to do. Avoid fuzzy phrasing such as “We’d like to provide X” instead use “We will provide X”. It’s also a case of knowing your competition. Who are you competing with for customers? How can you convince them that they should choose your brand over another? What makes you different?
You probably already know a bit about who your product is designed for but for effective targeting we need to go a little deeper. If you’ve already been working in the industry, talk to your current clients. If not, get researching. Think about the people who will use your website, the customers and potentials that might use your social media and why they would want to work with you. Focus on how you can solve a specific customer problem.
A customer journey plan can be extremely helpful. Discover your customer needs, emotional drivers, actions, touch points and the channels through which you can reach them. Carry these changing drivers through your customers' different journey stages from Need to Conversion and Advocacy. What do they your customers need from you and how can you reach them?
Now you know who you are and who your customers are, it’s time to get creative. Find a freelance designer or design agency who specialise in branding and logo design. The clearer your brief to them, using the above sections, the easier it will be for them to capture the essence of your brand.
A good agency will provide you with a full set of brand guidelines, a series of logos for different uses and potentially a number of extras such as a tone of voice document or even occasionally a custom font!
A tone of voice document for example will bring uniformity to your messaging that can be used across your website, social media channels, internal and external documentation. For example you could be: professional but not corporate; friendly and approachable but not overly familiar; authoritative but not pushy; cheeky but not rude.
We can all picture brands in our heads that deliver a consistent customer experience, from a long standing logo to a recognisable online personality. It’s important to give customers what they grow to expect from you and your brand. It helps to keep a style guide for external advocates and partners as well as internal employees.
Remember, it’s never too late to change if something isn’t working. Consistency is undoubtedly a great way to strengthen your brand and identity but remaining flexible allows a brand to cut out-dated content, design and ideas. Having a simple brand refresh from time to time can keep a brand relevant and fresh.
Keep up to date with industry standards and continuously talk with your customers, clients and employees to make sure you keep hitting the spot year after year. It’s your brand after all. Make it your business.