What Is Branding
“What is branding?”
“What’s the point of having a brand?”
If I had a unicorn’s kiss for every time someone asked me about the necessity or purpose of branding or even what it is, I’d be making a lot of money on the black market selling smooches.
What strikes me about those questions isn’t that people genuinely don’t know, but that – in not knowing – their branding could be causing their clients (or potential clients) to be confused or choose to work with someone else (who obviously has better branding).
Let me put it to you this way:
Branding is like your medicine cabinet. YOU KNOW your guests will sneak a peek. Once they see what you got, you kinda want them to whisper about how cool you are to their friends - not silently judge you for being the wrong kind of weird. #truestory
What does this mean for you? Well, just because branding hasn’t been on your radar, doesn’t mean it’s not affecting your bottom line.
Branding isn’t just about having fun vector images or pretty, trendy colors, it’s about representing a business in its organic, true-to-you form.
It's a form of action you take or create to define the experience your customer or audience feels.
If your website and marketing content have a consistent voice, your audience is going to remember – and believe – YOU.
Mind=blown? I bet.
Branding visually shows your values and mission. Your trademark of magic (WHY you’re here and WHAT you do), graphically experienced by your target audience (WHO are your customers). It connects your WHY and your WHAT to the heartstrings of your WHO.
Since your brand creates an emotional bond with your peeps, those little, cool pieces of artistry you create (ahem...aka: colors, images, logo) needs to be in alignment with the emotional response you want to evoke.
Logos, color palette, and imagery are a part of your brand IDENTITY. Your brand identity is, basically, how people can pick out your website, work, or shareable graphics from the line-up known as the "social media feed".
Collectively speaking, your visuals, your brand promise, messaging and how you put them all together IS your branding.
While intimidating on the surface, branding isn’t about being perfect. It’s about showing your commitment to a purpose, something bigger than your bank account: your desire to truly help people. You know, the REASON why you started your business in the first place.
When your branding is done right, your audience isn't JUST buying a product or service from a random site, they're buying into your philosophy and values. They're buying into your story, your mission, and your why.
And this is how you create life-long fans.
So what do you do if you can’t hire a brand strategist but know that you need to get your image together? Have no fear! Here are some branding questions you need to answer:
What is your mission and your story?
What do you want to be known for?
What type of culture or community do you want to create?
Once you have the answers to these simple branding questions, you can begin creating offerings aligned with your values and story. Then, every time you’re inspired to create something new, you have a foundation to reflect on to ensure it echoes your beliefs.
See, how it all comes together?
A genuine YOU brand is important. Although you can never truly control who will like or dislike what you put out (Hello unsubscribes!) or how you show up, creating a brand that truly reflects you and what you stand for will help your audience decide for themselves if they are your people or not.
So, here’s how to apply what you just read based on your business stage.
BABY BUSINESS OWNERS:
For Baby Business Owners, start by exploring the answers to the first branding question. "What's your mission and story?" Why are doing this?
PRO TIP: In addition, ask yourself how you want your audience to articulate your brand. Do you want to be described as wicked-funny and dark? Soft and pretty? Bright and cheerful? Begin paying attention to how you come across in your content and your media. Are you coming across the way you want to?
EMERGING BUSINESS OWNERS:
For Emerging Business Owners your main focus needs to be WHAT you want to be known for.
PRO TIP: More importantly, you also need to start asking yourself what do you want to be known for doing. You cannot build a solid brand around a broken offer. So, you might as well start thinking about both your brand strategy and your business model.
ESTABLISHED BUSINESS OWNERS:
For Established Business Owners you need to be looking at what TYPE of culture (within your business) and community (your audience) you want to create.
PRO TIP: The success of your business is owned in part to the brand experience you've been providing. Now is time for you refine your brand to make sure the relationships you've built around it accurately reflect the growth and evolution you've had.
So, did this blog post answer the question of what branding is? Did it give you some clarity? Post below in comments and let me know what you think.