First, you need to define what “branding” is to you and what your end goal is. Many people’s definition of “brand” is a logo.
My definition of “brand” is how your target audience feels about your product, service or company. This is influenced by everything that a person sees, hears, smells or tastes about your product, service and ultimately… your company.
The act of branding is creating the foundational elements of your marketing that will (hopefully) shape their perception to what you intend. So, how you want to be perceived needs to be fully defined first.
Here is why this is so ultimately important. A well developed brand…
- Allows you to charge what you truly deserve in your niche (yes, niche… but that’s for another day) market. Without a defined brand you’re in a daily race to the bottom for lowest price.
- Fuels all of your future marketing efforts. It sets the course for the content that you’ll create (to attract prospects) and converts prospects into customers (think: excellent website).
- Saves you TONS of money in future marketing efforts (imagine how much more money you’d need to spend on Google Adwords every month if your brand doesn’t convey trust and credibility).
So, if you’re looking for someone to design your brand, look for someone who is willing to develop your:
- Mission statement: This pain staking exercise is necessary to define your niche, target audience and your deep seated passion behind your product or service. The value of this is for you and your stake holders primarily.
- Value Proposition: Closely related to your mission statement, but the value is for your target audience. This is what differentiates from your competition. This is what you communicate to the customer as to why they need YOUR product or service
- Logo: Yep, we finally get to the logo. AFTER the above is defined, it’s extremely important to represent this in a logo. Remember — your logo is often the first impression of your company, and overcoming a bad first impression is difficult, so don’t leave this up to the cheapest source unless there is no other choice. I have a article on the 3 Ways to Get Your Logo here.
- Slogan: Not always necessary, but if your logo isn’t immediately descriptive of your niche, I usually recommend one to help define your offerings at a glance.
- Business card: I usually design the business cards next as they help establish the colors, fonts and refined products or services (I usually list the top three products or services on the back of the card like an ad. Sometimes I use the mission statement infused with the value prop). Examples here.
- Finally comes the website. You want your website to get you leads (that’d be through good content and SEO) and convert these prospects into customers, right? You need to convey all the above efforts through your website and back it up with trust and credibility indicators, and Call To Actions (CTAs) along the way.
This will create the framework of your brand. Proper social media channels need developed next, fueled by content development and maybe paid advertising to drive interested prospects to your website.
Imagine how much more time, effort and money you’ll have to spend on these if your brand is inferior.
In a nutshell, when you want to hire someone to develop your brand, make sure they suggest the items I mentioned above, in particular defining your company’s Mission Statement and Value Proposition, as these are the defining, foundational elements on which to Build a Better Brand!
if you’re interested in a deeper dive, here’s a link to an outline of a podcast interview I did last week on this subject. If you’re interested in my branding services, please contact me. I’ll get back to you promptly.