Branding – the idea of creating an image, sound, word, that conveys an instantaneous message – is both and art and a science. The art is in the creativity, finding just the right image and word and sound combination to trigger an emotional response in your customers. The science is understanding what triggers certain behaviors, tracking your progress, measuring your success.
As an entrepreneur, consultant or what I call an “independent professional” there is so much to learn about branding that it is sometimes hard to know where to start. When embarking on any branding activity ask yourself these 10 questions.
- Who is your target audience? You can solve a customer problem if you don’t know who the customers are. Focus on them and they will help you answer the rest of these questions.
- What is your brand promise? What does the company stands for? What is the single most important thing that the organization promises to deliver to its customers? What do you want customers, employees, and partners to expect from EVERY interaction with you.
- What is your unique value proposition? What do you offer that no one else does? How do you want customers to FEEL about your organization after interacting with you?
- What are your key messages? Customer messages are divided into core ideas which are made relevant by including supporting statements that reinforce the idea (data, benefits, features, etc.) These are the ideas that your customers think are important – not the one you think they think are important.
- What is your brand personality? Illustrate what the organization wants its brand to be known for. Think about specific personality traits you want prospects, clients, employees, and partners to use to describe your organization. You should have 4-6 traits (5 is ideal), each being a single term (usually an adjective).
- What is the tone of your brand communications? Think of the voice, tone and language used to communicate your brand? Does it relate to your customers? Does it relate to your personality? does it support your promise?
- What is the ONE thing that you want people to take away from your brand? If you can only communicate one thing to you customers what would it be? What is the single most important thing to them (not to you).
- How do you describe your brand? Your description should include Aa brief explanation of how you solve their problem using important details of the offering that reinforce the key messages and differentiation.
- Do you have a tagline? A tagline is a brief statement that captures the essence of your brand in a few words.
- How do you personally feel about the answers to these questions? If your gut tells you that this isn’t authentic, or that this is the same stuff you’ve been saying for years, then you should listen.