People are always so eager to start their new business that they often overlook the important process of deliberately defining their brand identity. When they do take the time to go through the steps below it will help in every step thereafter. Naming, content development, website design and all other brand messaging will flow from the information that you develop during this process.
What is your product or service?
First you must know what the purpose of your business is. What products and services are you providing? Why are you going into this business? What is the story behind your business idea? People love a story and these days it is important to be authentic. Write these things down. This will help you down the road with naming your company and writing website copy.
What is your secret sauce?
To be successful, your business must have a differentiator. Why will people come to your business rather than what they have been doing? Make a list of all of the obvious reasons and the intangible reasons. You need to set yourself apart and build an identity around your brand that sets you apart from your competition.
Who is your target customer?
Even though people of both sexes and all ages might be able to benefit from your product or service, you have to identify your “Target User” or decision maker. You need to get this very clear since all of your marketing messages and art will need to be geared toward that person. If you deal with men and women but more women make the decisions then you need to take that into account so you do not offend or push away the men but you need to place a stake in the ground so you have someone to appeal to. If you try to appeal to everyone you will appeal to no one.
Create a persona:
The more fully you can delineate the characteristics of your target customer the better. Who is this person? Describe her. Where does she shop? What are her issues? What is she looking for when it comes to your product?
Develop your personality and brand promise:
This step needs to be very intentional. How will your clients know your company values? They are not going to read a mission statement with some lofty goals. You must show them rather than tell them.
You need to get very specific about the things your business can do to promote your brand’s image. It is not enough to say that we will give excellent customer service and provide luxury experience. These are just words. What we need here are the specific actions you will take to insure that these concepts are put into actions that are perceived by the clients in the way you mean them to be.
You can do this by making a list of actions you can take to demonstrate your brand promise and then choose the ones that will provide the best bang for the buck to leave the client with exactly the feeling you want them to have.
For example you may have a high-end luxury hair salon and want to provide a beverage. You can serve a nice tasting and good quality wine instead of an expensive bottle and people will come away with the same experience.
On the other hand, if your promise is a luxury experience you want to have people leave with their next appointment with their appointment written on an excellent quality, thick business card with painted edges that feels wonderful so they will take the luxury experience with them and be reminded of it every time they see and feel your card.
Create your protocols:
After defining your brand personality and how it will be communicated to the clients, you need to define and quantify it further so that your employees know exactly what standards they need to meet.
For example, you need to have a clearly written out a policy on your expectations of the time between getting an email appointment request and contacting the client to set an appointment. Once these expectations are clearly defined you can hire staff that have the qualities needed to meet your requirements. And you can train them to provide the experience that you want your clients to have.
Your branding strategy doesn’t need to a big complicated document. It can be just a page or two of three depending on your industry and products and services. This document will be very useful in the steps of naming your business, creating a logo and writing your website and marketing copy.