One of the biggest branding misconceptions is thinking that once you’ve created a logo and picked brand colors you have a brand. However, these two elements alone are not all encompassing when it comes to your brand identity and overall brand.
Before you even think about the visual elements of your brand here’s what you should have in place first.
It’s important to establish a clear mission early on to determine the direction of your business. Your mission statement, “clarifies your overall goals and paths to reaching them. It also exists to “inform strategies and define the reason for a company’s existence.” For instance, Tesla’s mission is “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.” It may be a car company, but Tesla’s main interest isn’t merely automobile sales – it’s promoting sustainable energy. Why do you exist?
Where do you aspire to be in the future? Your vision statement is a follow-up to your mission statement. Vision statements are future-based and devised to inspire and guide your business objectives and internal decision-making. Rather than focusing on your purpose (your mission), your vision statement focuses on where you want to be in the future. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you get there?
Your core values play an integral role in brand management. In fact, they’re the core of it. Along with your mission and vision, values define your fundamental beliefs and impact your actions. When you are deeply connected to your values, it will guide you in brand decisions and help you stand out from the crowd.
Your brand story shares how you help people solve problems and alleviate pain points. It’s designed to elicit an emotional response and help your audience relate to you. Whether you’ve crafted a narrative or not – it exists. Make sure you’re the one telling your story.
“Contrary to popular belief, brand storytelling is not about your company. It’s about your customers and the value that they get when engaging with your product or service. The most powerful brand stories are the ones that prioritize customers as the stars. Think of your company as a supporting character.”
5. Personality and voice
Think of your brand as a person with a distinct personality. List key personality traits that make your brand different. Once you are clear on your brand personality ensure it resonates with customers in all of your communications. This helps to form emotional bonds. Couple this with your voice – the tone of your communications and the style of your content. While it may seem simple, the best way to stand out in a crowded market is to lead with your personality.
Once you have these elements in place you can think about your brand identity: logo designs, fonts, colors, shapes and other visual elements of your products and promotions.
Brand building can seem like a lot of work, but I promise it is worth it. Even if you think you haven’t been actively building a brand – a brand is still being built. It really comes down to how your customers perceive you (your brand image). Your brand is one of the most important assets you have.
Gillian Galambos is a brand strategist and the founder of ArrowPost Digital Marketing. Blending passion for the industry with 10 years of marketing and communications experience, she works with ambitious online coaches to develop strong, authentic brands that will allow them to attract the right clients for them (with less convincing).