BUSINESS OWNERS: BUILD A COHESIVE BRAND FOR YOUR BUSINESS, PLUS PRINTABLE WORKBOOK
Do you feel like your brand is “all over the place?” Or are you at a place where you feel that your brand (fairly established or not) doesn’t relate to what you really do or who you really are?
I’ve been there. In the last couple of years, I’ve been through two iterations of my own business and brand because it just didn’t feel right. Who I was and what I said I was didn’t mesh. Finally, I sat down and did the hard work of REALLY figuring out what my business is, who my audience is, and how I want to relate to them. This led me to develop a clear brand purpose, style, and voice.
This instrumental experience has driven my passion to teach others the difference. Now, I sit down with all my branding clients and ask A LOT of questions. The process not only helps me create a visual identity that is uniquely suited to them, but gives my clients invaluable clarity about their own business.
From the outside, a cohesive brand is how a potential or existing customer relates to you and comes to trust you, as well as your service or product. But, when you’re on the inside, a cohesive brand is all about making sure your message and visuals are clear and concise across all platforms. Whether someone meets you in person, visits your website, or follows you on social media, having a cohesive brand means they will have a consistent experience.
I’ve compiled some of my favorite branding questions into sections below. I recommend that you go through the exercise of answering as many of them as you can. You’ll leave with a deeper understanding of your business and a strong brand foundation.
For your convenience, I have also attached these questions as a printable workbook below.
STEP 1: DEFINE YOUR BUSINESS.
Why am I in business?
What is my vision?
What am I best at doing?
Do I have an ideal customer?
What percentage of my current customer base fits this ideal customer?
Which products/services should I stop offering, continue to offer, or start offering, based on the ideal customer, and why?
What am I doing to innovate or move my business forward?
Where do I want my business to be in one year? Five years? What is my ultimate goal?
STEP 2. DEFINE YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMER.
List the demographics: Age range? Male/female? Education level? Married/single? Kids or no kids?
Where do they hang out? (In-person, social media, and online)
What is important to them?
Where do they get their information? What television programs do they watch? What magazines, newspapers, email newsletters, blogs, etc. do they read? (Tip: Ask them.)
Can they easily afford our product/service?
With whom or where do they regularly do business?
What are their key problems/issues/concerns?
What do they think when they think of you, your product/service?
What do they feel when they consider your product/service?
Who are the influencers in their life? (Tip: See who they follow on social media.)
How does our product/service fit into our potential customer’s lifestyle?
Where can they easily go for a substitute for our product/service?
STEP 3: CREATE A BRAND STRATEGY.
In what ways is my business similar to other companies?
How is my business different from the rest?
What brands do I admire? What about these brands do I admire? What is their tone and voice like?
B. SET APART:
What is my general vibe?
What do I stand for?
What is my brand voice: Serious or funny? Authoritative or casual? Expert or learn as we go? Will I speak to my customers in first person (“I” or “we”), second person (“you”), or third person (“he, she, they”)?
What is my brand style: Loud or subdued? Traditional or modern? Classic or cutting edge?
How do I show that my business is different in words, actions, and images?
How do I want to be perceived by the public and my customers? What value do I bring to the community?
C. COMMUNICATE, THEN COMMUNICATE SOME MORE:
How often am I communicating with my customers?
How often would I like to communicate with them? On what platforms?
How do I want people to feel when they experience my company?
What is my brand promise to my team and customers?
STEP 4: CREATE A COHESIVE BRAND FOUNDATION.
Compile the answers into the following buckets. Stay focused on being consistent between buckets.
Who am I, what impact will my business have, and what do I stand for.
My business personality traits and visual language.
BRAND TONE & VOICE:
How I will sound throughout my business.
Where will I appear, how often, and what I will communicate.