Your brand is the personification of your business. It’s the message you send out to potential consumers that informs them of who you are and what makes you unique. Your brand expresses your mission within the market, workplace culture, and values your company holds. While most people think of branding as business cards or logos, your branding is much more abstract than you think. A solid brand is made up of two separate pieces: your identity and the feeling you provide to your consumers.
Your identity is controlled and created by you. It’s pulled through your imagery, brand statements, and information you provide to the public. Your responsibility as a business is making sure your consumers get the right story when they interact with your business. This is done through content, media, and direct interaction.
The identity you create should be based off of and explained by a few questions:
What do you want?
Answer this question through a bird's eye view. Make sure to look at the larger picture instead of only viewing the here and now. Getting from where you are now to where you want to go should be a plan that’s worked into your branding. Use the plan you create and look to establish a baseline for what your brand should be and how customers should view it.
Where’s the value?
What about your product or service stands out from all the rest? Your value is what sets you apart. It’s what you offer that no one else can. This isn’t as simple as what your product or service is. It’s the abstract need that you fulfil for your consumers. This can be anything that the consumer is seeking: from safety to personal connections. Finding out what you offer consumers in a broader sense allows you to market to your target audience effectively and your brand can be built around this idea to ensure you drive desire.
What do you value?
What ideas are most important to your community? Building your brand around this idea creates connections. Your brand and image should reflect the values important to you. Some common examples include: accountability, diversity, and community. Your core values determine the direction you want to go as a business and creates a connection between your target audience. People are more apt to interact with your company for why you do what you do than what you do in general.
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’re able to create media, content, and connections that reflect the ideals you’ve set aside. When the branding you’ve established conveys your carefully crafted message, you will be able to guide the feeling you provide to your consumers. While this feeling is not completely controllable, it’s the driving force behind why people consume your products or services. This feeling is ultimately what the consumer hangs on to when they think or interact with your product and service.