Anyone in marketing will tell you that a brand is more than a logo. It really is who you are, what you do, and why and how you do it. It’s your mission, your vision, and values. It is akin to having a distinct personality, and people relate to that. In fact, people love brands that mean something.
One of my favorite bloggers, Ekaterina Walker, recently published a superb blog post on her site, Building Social Bridges, that went through the fundamental questions each small business owner should ask themselves when creating or honing their brand. The questions are different than what I ask my own clients – they are at a higher level; I tend to get more nitty-gritty – but the end result will be quite similar: you’ll understand the meaning behind your brand.
Here they are:
What is your purpose?
Your purpose is the reason you formed your company. How is your business useful? How do you help your clients? What do you want your businesses to become over the long-term? Those things form the very core of who you are.
What does your brand stand for?
Everyone has a point of view, a personality, and a distinct voice, including a brand. All of your marketing communications and content will reflect that, and, in fact they have to. People, and especially Millenials, can sniff a lack of authenticity from a mile away – and Millennials are today’s and tomorrow’s consumers.
What are your brand values?
Because clients look for companies that share similar values, putting together and sharing your brand’s values is a smart idea. Start by asking, what is important to you as a brand? What is important to your customers? Then explain how you demonstrate those values, within and outside your company.
What is the culture you want to nurture?
Walker nails it when she says: “The culture you will create internally will have a direct impact on your company’s reputation externally…. Your reputation is what your customers (and partners and employees, for that matter) are saying about you when you are not in the room.”
So, how do you create a healthy company culture? Live by your brand’s values. Uphold them, demonstrate them, and hire people who share them.
How are you institutionalizing your culture?
You need to create “work rules” that integrate your values into your company culture. If you prize innovation, what does that mean on a daily basis for your employees? You also need to think about ways to celebrate and shine the spotlight on your employees who demonstrate your values.
How will you communicate who you are?
Whenever you introduce your company for the first time, you need to make 4 things clear in the story you tell: your purpose (or mission); the benefits of working with you; your relevance (to whomever you are speaking); and a call-to-action.
What brands are your favorites, and why do you love them?
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