We could really run the gamut when it comes to branding. There are a million big pictures and small details to consider. So much so that we’re often frozen-intimidated as to how or where to start when we’re building a brand.
But, before we get into that, let’s back it up a bit.
- Brands. What am I talking about?
- Are you ready for the answer?
- Anything. Anything and everything.
Yes, anything and everything is a brand and can BE a brand. That startup venture where you’ve raised $100,000? Brand. That startup venture that’s raised zilch? Brand. That company that’s been around for 100 years? That idea you had on your morning run? Brand. You? Brand.
They’re all brands. Because they’re all things we want to be a part off of things and/or we want others to be a part of with us.
Which is why, when we’re talking about branding anything, it really comes down to these four components.
When starting to build these or even build some thoughts about what they mean in the context of your idea, company, startup, you, it’s best to start with some quick questions. I call these elevator questions. Because, just like your elevator pitch, I want you to hear this question, and trust your gut; what’s your answer to these q’s in the time it takes you to ride the elevator to your destination. (Life hint: This is really about what your gut is telling you.)
What keywords, phrases, taglines, copy do you want someone else to read, feel, experience when they read your website, sales brochures, or social media?
What’s your photographic style? Airy, dream, soft, cozy? Bold and bright with sharp lines? This should be more about vibe – what do your brand’s pictures, graphics, fonts, images feel like?
What’s it like to experience – be with, talk to, partner with – you and your brand? Is the experience personal and unique? Does it make someone else feel special? Is it easy and fun?
Who’s on your team and who are customers interacting with? Are your team members in-line with you and how you want to run this business? Are they responsible, reliable, fun, and easy to work with? Do they make your life easier?
An easy next step you can do between conference calls today: Take 30 minutes uninterrupted to think through these q’s or write down what might have occurred to you if you did, in fact, think these through on the elevator. Make some quick notes to yourself with answers to your q’s; also, don’t ever be afraid to talk through these q’s WITH your team. They might see things or experience things differently, and their two-cents can make this process more efficient – and more fun. (Who’s ever going to argue with that?)
Now, I want to harken back to something I mentioned maybe 30 seconds ago – what your gut is telling you. This is clutch. Because the day we start making decisions and building brands that contradict our gut instinct, we’re building something that’s not true or authentic. And people always want to be a part of something that’s true or authentic. People can smell that out, you know? You do; don’t you think your followers – or prospective followers – will, too?
Also, remember – branding is meant to be an inspiring conversation you look forward to; if it’s not, there might be something deeper going on in the business. And this just might be the time to think through that, too.
Toth + Fay recently launched an online academy – The School of Brand Confidence – that will walk you through branding basics – from copywriting to visual strategy to believing in yourself – to support your brand building. Learn more about it here.
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