Branding Fundamentals: 5 Keys to Unlocking a Powerful Brand
Branding is a lot like making chicken tortilla soup. There are a lot of key ingredients and working them in together can bring out the perfect combination–and recipe–to satisfy your customers.
Building a brand that resonates with people, is in high demand and builds trust is not complex, but it does take a lot of work. I will share with you 5 key essentials that will build your brand longevity, authenticity, and trust with your audience.
I'll be sharing more about what this looks like in other businesses in the weeks to come, but for now. Here are the 5 essential keys that successful brands have down.
1. The Mission
Why you’re doing what you’re doing
I'm sure you've heard this said a million times, "understand your why." WHY does everyone talk about the 'why'?? Because this is truly at the heart of all the things you do.
WHY are you doing this business?
Why are you working nights and weekends?
What is driving you? And what do you hope to get out of this venture?
These are just a few of the questions that can help you uncover the deep, driving reason behind the service you provide, or the work you do.
The reason that this is SO important is because if you're working just to work or get a paycheck, you won't have that drive that keeps you going through the hard times and the passion behind it to keep learning new things the evolving in order to grow.
Having a rock solid why will keep you motivated, excited, passionate, and magnetic. This 'Why' will sustain your business both in the hard times and the exciting times when opportunities come your way. Your Why will provide direction and clarity to know which things are most important.
Here's what I wrote down for my Why in May of 2017:
I believe that life is meant to be enjoyed and that life is meant for love. I want to pour my love and energy into things that matter and I want my work-life to also be about those things. If I can pour my heart and soul into my work, truly making a difference in people’s lives and helping them achieve their success story and doing what I love, I will have been successful.
It’s not just a paycheck. We only live once and I want to live my life with love and joy and peace.
[I go on to talk about my priorities in life]
I’m doing my business so I can live the quality of life I want so I can devote my best time to my family and husband and so I can use my talents and passion to serve and love others well.
Everyone's Why will look different, but I encourage you to go deep and find out what's most important to you, what's driving you and write down those things.
And when the going gets tough you will have the encouragement to keep going, knowing you're headed toward a life you love.
2. The Message
what are you saying and who is it for
WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE:
Your message is such an important factor in your business. Your message is the theme of your business. Your message should include
- What makes your business different
- Why people should work with you
- What value you provide
- How you make life better for those who work with you
If you struggle with your business messaging, I recommend the book Building a StoryBrand by Donal Miller.
HOW ARE YOU DELIVERING THE MESSAGE
From there, how you present your message; the delivery.
Are you approachable and laid back? Spunky and excitable? Reserved and to the point? Sarcastic and friendly?
How you share the message is just as important as the message itself. We will discuss this more in number 5.
WHO ARE YOU TALKING TO
You can have an awesome website and the perfect Instagram feed, but if you're not talking to the right people– the people you want to work with– you won't be celebrating any time soon.
What I mean, is you need to have a very clear understanding of your audience. Knowing who you want to work with. What do they value? What do they like to read and look at? What matters most in their life? Do they value freedom and travel? Or home and family?
Knowing the basics about the tribe you're trying to connect with, will help you tailor your messaging to reach them and help you know where to hang out to meet.
Understanding your why and having a clear message and audience are the building blocks to a strong brand. Once you have those pieces in place, moving onto the visual design is a straightforward next step; a step that can help you in some of the most wonderful ways.
3. Visual Identity
Finally! We're getting to my favorite part! What ties all the previous keys together is this one right here. Branding your business is the way you can share your personality and attract your audience without saying a word. Branding is the visual side of the business and helps you look professional, appear in control, extend trust and be unique.
Having a visual brand identity is the quickest way for people to connect with you. Unlike delivering your message, your visual identity will reach out and draw your ideal client in without you needing to say anything. A visual brand is one of the best ways you can market your business (more about marketing in number 5).
Branding merges your why, your message, and your personality together and brings a strong visual identity to solidify your business and create that dynamite first impression.
Branding / Visual brand identity can include:
Inspiration board, or, as I like to call it 'visual direction planning'
Brand style guide
Social media design
and so much more
Visual branding is the thing that brings all the pieces together.
4. The Experience
How people feel when they interact with your service
How do you set yourself apart from other service providers when it comes to the service you provide? Are you more personable, relatable and their BFF? Are you the trusted, go-to authority in your field? Find the angle you offer and stick to it with determination so you can make the impact you want.
It's easy to get discouraged if you're not seeing a lot of results, and sometimes you can look at the competition and start implementing their strategies. But I encourage you to stay strong, stay true to your own voice, your distinctions, and your personality and you WILL be victorious.
No one wants to work with a second rate version of someone else. They want to work with the very best version of you.
How you get the word out about your business
Marketing is something you will always have to do for your business. Either you do it or someone does it for you. Everyone needs to market and marketing is something you won't be quitting any time soon.
There are a lot of different types of marketing: social media marketing, content marketing, visual marketing, network marketing, telemarketing... many, many options.
What you need to discover is where your audience hangs out and how do they like to interact with you. Perhaps they're college kids and they prefer Snapchat or Twitter. Or if they're in the 25-35 age range they prefer Instagram and blog posts.
Once you find out where they like to hang out, interest them with content they would want to see or read. And once a connection has been made, nurture the relationship and finally offer your service.
It can get a lot more complicated and detailed but basically, that's how it's done. I go into more detail in this post The Creative's Guide to Marketing. But the main thing you want to keep in mind with marketing is it's all about establishing trust.
Each of these fundamentals, your mission, message, visual identity, experience and marketing is equally important, and one without the other will not be as effective as all pieces combined. So if you're needing to write down your why, start there. If you need to clarify your messaging, begin working on that.
Or if you're at a point where you're ready for a brand that showcases your professionalism and quality, search for a designer whose work you love and don't be afraid to make more than one inquiry call. Take a look at my services here.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this post!
Which part do you struggle the most with when it comes to your own brand?