So you’ve created a brand…
What was once (long ago) just a nugget of an idea has been developed, implemented, tweaked, twisted and re-defined over the years. Can you state what your brand is right now? Do you think it is your logo? What is the “unique & enduring” proposition that keeps business coming your way?
Or, maybe customers are not beating a path to your door.
See the 9 Quick questions below to help answer why!
The best brands are based on the values and strengths of what exists inside an organization. So hopefully the internal staff, or a representation of it, gets considered in your overall brand assessment. Are they excited and engaged with your brand? Does everyone understand their role in communicating it? When properly planned and executed, the result of all that hard work is a complete identity, including your logo, that will embody all the values of your product or service.
What are the values that make you outstanding?
Now, as your marketing and advertising and promotional efforts over the years have unfolded, can you say your efforts have worked as hard as they should for you? Can you say there is any consistency in your marketing visibility? Or, in your message?
Zeroing in a strong singular message and a consistent style that engages your target audience will build familiarity and trust and clarity in your marketplaces as to what your brand stands for – and ultimately make your brand promotion efforts easier to execute and more rewarding.
Before you unleash any (newly created) brand direction into your consumer world, there’s one more important step you need to take to ensure its success; you need to provide it with proper brand guidelines to steer it in the right direction. This will help keep everyone on track as a guideline and make any internal efforts easier to execute.
What are brand guidelines?
Ah…brand guidelines! Sometimes, creating a brand is much easier than educating and enforcing the do‘s and don’ts to drive consistency. Brand guidelines are a detailed outline of a brand’s essence, explaining everything from brand positioning and personality to visual identity. This takes form as a document that will act as a reference tool of standards. In other words, they’re an “owner’s manual” for your brand. The standards given in brand guidelines provide direction in times of potential branding mishaps – say, for instance, an inappropriate use of a logo, which would result in inaccurate brand representation.
Basically, it all boils down to consistency. The role of brand guidelines is to keep a brand consistent within its identity, and a consistent identity aids strength of brand. As mentioned, only half the challenge lies in creating the brand. The real challenge is in policing the brand implementation. In other words, don’t mess with the consistency!
9 Quick questions to knowing your own brand.
Do you deliver or sit through an Annual Review in your job? Usually, this process provides a barometer in how you are performing and what steps you can take to make improvements or enhance your skills and value. The same can be said when it comes to your personal brand. We can easily convince ourselves that we KNOW exactly how we project ourselves and exactly what others perceive. Do you? Really? Maybe this quick 9 question review can help you fine tune the brand called YOU.
Going through these 9 questions can give you a quick study into the strengths (or weakness) associated with your brand perception. This exercise can also help you better understand your business brand and see where to make improvements.
You are your own Chief Marketing Officer of the brand YOU! Take the exercise seriously. Make your answers simple & truthful.
- Product Offerings (What are you “selling”?)
- Characteristic Attributes (What can people always expect you to be?)
- Symbols & Signals (What colors, styles, etc. are you known for?)
- Brand Personality (Name 3 descriptors of your personality.)
- History & Reputation (What reputation do you have? Baggage?)
- Associated Benefits (Functional, Emotional and/or Sensorial?)
- Core Consumers (Who loves you the most?)
- Position/Role (Are you a Leader/Follower, Father, Mother, etc.?)
- Brand Capsule (What is your Consumer’s core idea of YOU in 3 words?)
Once you have completed the exercise, share it with (your key consumers) – your boss, your spouse or significant other, and a few close friends who you can trust to give you honest feedback – firm it up and lock it down. If there are areas that you find you are not happy with, figure out what you would like those areas to say. This can be fun and sometimes eye-opening. If you’re open to hearing from your “trusted” friends, perhaps they too will be open to hearing about themselves from you.
Want this to help? Be tough and true. If you find weaknesses, or “areas of opportunity” recognize them for what they are, so that you can fix them over time. Ignoring them won’t make them go away anyway.