Your brand, in simplest terms, is your business’ personality. And just like a person, what do you want its reputation to be? We’ve talked about the importance of getting to know your audience, but to reach that step, you need to get to know your own business first.
The world’s most valuable brands are determined as such by revenue, earnings and industry share. However, they reached those numbers by first capturing the eyes and hearts of consumers. Apple, Amazon, Disney, McDonald’s — they have all carved out a place so solidified your mind, that within seconds you can probably think of all the ways these companies have been present in your own life. In turn, these associations often make you a more loyal and consistent customer.
Now, don’t you want that same thing for your own company? These questions are essential to answer in order to define and ultimately understand your brand.
Do you have strong values & goals?
To understand your brand, the first and most important part is to focus on the core of your company. Your business cannot and will not grow if it is not built on a strong base of values and goals that tell your business’ story, explain your purpose, and convey your vision.
Your key values are commitments you will remain dedicated to throughout the life of your business. By establishing values, you will better build trust with your customers. And while these aren’t necessarily quantitative, characteristics like integrity, accountability, and passion can go a long way in building customer relationships and strengthening how both you and the consumer understand your brand.
In addition to values, another important piece of any business is defining your long-term goals, at least broadly. Successful companies are always evolving, and sometimes even undergo a full rebrand in the process. If you set goals early on though, it will keep your brand moving toward your North Star, even if it looks a little different down the road. Without these attainable goals, you are at a larger risk of getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of business. Consequently, you may lose sight of what motivated you to establish your brand in the first place.
What is your style?
First impressions are everything. Within seconds of seeing your logo online or sign outside your store for the first time, a potential customer may already have their mind made up on if they want to shop at your business. It might seem superficial, but looks really are a crucial part of your brand. At least, that’s true when you’re initially trying to get a customer’s foot in the door.
It’s no coincidence that some of those valuable brands mentioned earlier are also the most recognizable. Whenever you see those golden arches or that piece of fruit with a bite missing, you know exactly what it is, what they do, and who they are.
That’s why things like typography, color, and shape can influence your customers’ opinion of your brand. Does your brand align with a look that’s more natural and artsy or modern and sleek? As they say, a picture (or logo) is worth a thousand words, so take special care in selecting these factors so they align with the brand you want to visually present.
Do you know yourself & your people?
What are you passionate about? No, not hitting sales goals or generic business benchmarks, but truly passionate about? If you’re in it for the money or the social media following, you’re not really in it. While those things can be nice, they’re ultimately a result of a business built on passion for their products and their customers. A company will not be authentic and truly successful if the people behind the brand don’t believe it.
Before you can even think about convincing consumers why they should want what you have to offer, your team needs to be your brand’s number one fan. As a founder, you should remind yourself often of the reasons you started your business. And, as an employee, you should remind yourself why you were attracted to the company.
Customers want to feel connected to the brands they interact with and buy from, and while the majority of businesspeople are proud of what they provide deep down, it can get lost in the grind of daily work and responsibilities as time goes on. Don’t forget where you started and why you started. You’ll be much better off in getting your brand where you want it to be.