You’ve been told that you should “invest in your brand” if you want to grow your business. But what does building your brand actually look like? Should you rush out and get a new logo designed? Maybe you should commission a billboard? Or maybe PPC, SEO and all those other acronyms are what you need to be heading towards?
Hold it right there.
We know there’s a tonne of conflicting advice out there about branding, with some people claiming that branding is just a small part of marketing. Whilst others state that your brand should take priority over all else before you even look at your marketing. This makes the whole topic of investing in your brand a bit baffling.
Time for a crash course in what the building blocks of a brand are. And let’s explore WHY you need to invest in your brand, so you know you are making the best investment possible.
Brand = the thing that gives meaning to your company, products or service. It identifies you and makes you memorable and unique in consumers’ minds.
Branding = the process of creating and building your brand.
Brand strategy = the long-term plan that ultimately results in the identification and preference of your brand by consumers.
In its simplest form:
Brand is the thing.
Branding is making the thing.
Brand strategy is bringing the thing to life.
Now that’s clearer, the question is, where should this sit on your ever-growing list of priorities? Probably somewhere a little higher than it’s been sitting.
(We could probably play a little bit of Brucey’s The Price is Right Here…
No no, even higher than that…)
Your brand impacts every.single.part of your business.
A strong, well built brand is how your company’s name becomes a Verb in the Oxford English Dictionary.
A solid, well built brand is how you get people to think of a mouse when they see three circles positioned together.
A robust, well built brand is how your product packaging is recognised worldwide, even when smashed into pieces.
Your brand means living rent-free in someone’s mind. It’s the essence of who you are, it is the heart, soul, mind and body of your business. Without this clarity, your business will struggle to stay focused on the real mission of your brand. Without an effective brand, you are just another X company selling Y.
These are the building blocks of your brand:
Once you are clear on these, it’s time to work on your brand positioning and strategy to bring your brand as a whole to life.
They say that emotion stems from energy, in motion so you might say that your brand is that emotion captured and shared with your customers. Let’s look at how you capture that energy and wrap it up into your branding.
DEFINING WHO YOU ARE AS A BUSINESS – your values, personality and tone of Voice
Brand Values – affairs of the heart – what you really care about. Your purpose.
Brand Personality – the aura – Human personality traits. It should reflect how people see you and think of you.
Tone of Voice – This isn’t what you say, but the way you say it. It’s the style and language you use when communicating. How do you sound to your audience?
DEFINING YOUR BRAND’S STORY – your origin, purpose, vision (which, with a bit of a switcheroo, becomes our trademark Make Us Care approach)
Brand story – How and WHY you started. How did you get here? What were your goals? What are you working towards right now? How you’ve already affected people’s lives, make it relatable, and can your customers see themselves within that story.
Brand Purpose – a concise statement that sums up why your brand exists; what you do and for whom. This is your here and now and it must be backed up with action. Does your Purpose communicate the broader benefits, not just the obvious features of your products or services?
Brand Vision – Your vision should be a short statement of intent, something challenging but achievable for the future. What are your customers going to need from you in five or ten years’ time? Where is your industry heading? How will your Brand Vision make a difference in the lives of your customers?
So, your brand is The Thing, Branding is Making The Thing and Brand Strategy is bringing The Thing to life. Having a solid, well built brand enables you to live rent free in the minds (and hearts) of your customers. A strong brand means that everyone in your team pulls in the same direction, towards achieving the same mission. Your brand bundles up the emotion of your story and values and blasts that into the hearts of your customers. By investing in building your brand, you’ll have your own team of experts to help you unpick the big, sticky questions of who you are as a business and what your brand’s story is.
Make Us Care is here to help you build your brand, so that you can continue delivering unbeatable service, record breaking sales and unforgettable experiences – taking one of those big must-dos off of your teeming list of priorities. We care – let’s chat.