Who Are You? Brand is the Cornerstone of your Reputation
Branding is the essence of your business, the who, what, why, and how it came to be. It is the expectation your prospects have before they get to your door or online checkout. Brand is how you engage with your customers, treat your employees, and connect to your community.
It is your message and how you say it. Your face and how you shape it. Brand is your reputation, your mission, your vision. Brand is to a business as personality is to a person.
Let’s use these images to demonstrate:
The character on the right has depth, style, personality. You can imagine a history and a future. She’s irreverent, “going places,” stylish, adventurous. She evokes emotion, inspires a response. You can connect with her. You probably would be interested in what she has to say.
How deeply can you connect with the chalk stick figure? Are you concerned about the perceived lack of permanence associated with it?
Understanding perception can help you understand Brand. You cannot force consumer perception, but you can influence it. This is what great branding does for your business.
If you need more proof about the importance of branding, consider that some of the most respected names in business are going so far as to say that a Brand plan is even more important now than a business plan [At NCS, we call it a Brand Identity Statement]. See what respected resources like Forbes, Inc, the US Small Business Administration (SBA), and Entrepreneur have to say on the subject.
Brand Identity Statement
A compete brand needs to be as magnetic and likeable as a person you’d want to spend time with: authentic, robust, possessing of depth, values, and goals. A Brand expresses itself with its own consistent voice and tone, and has an honest, engaging story with which your target audience can connect.
A Brand can be segmented into two parts: Impression and Visual Identity. Both parts greatly impact the reputation your business develops for itself and influence consumer perception.
Your Brand’s Visual Identity includes your logo, color palette, font set, and style. Continuing with the original analogy, brand identity is for your brand what clothes, a hairstyle, and cosmetics are for a person. Your brand identity should include “accessories” like images for each of your main products or services.
Your Brand’s Impression encompasses less tangible but arguably more important aspects including authenticity, mission, differentiation, expectation, impact, and tone. This is also the aspect that defines who your target market is, or in personal terms, the kind of people you want to attract and spend time with.
- Research your industry
- Research your competition
- Research your industry branding best practices
- Research your target audience
- Differentiation statement
- Mission statement
- Visual identity/style guide
- Recurring investment
- Recommended next step
Additional branding services are available. Call for details.