One of the things I’m asked most often by start-up entrepreneurs is ‘How do you even begin when it comes to creating a new brand?’. They usually go on to reveal that they find the prospect stressful and overwhelming.
When I ask them why, they simply respond with: ‘Because so much rests on getting it right!’.
It’s true that creating a new brand from scratch can seem pretty daunting. Especially when you consider how important branding is to the success of your venture.
There’s no wonder that business owners can feel the weight of responsibility. But it doesn’t need to be scary. In fact, creating your brand should be a rewarding and enlightening experience. One which, when approached in the right way, can lead to significant improvements to your overall business concept and offering.
In branding everything begins with discovery.
Yes, we need to have the end in mind. Yes, we need to understand the market and check out the competition. But first we need to understand ourselves.
I call it branding from the inside out and here’s a little secret to make this part easier, less scary and a helluva lot more fun…
Imagine your ideal customer is a hot new lover!
This may seem a little radical but work with me here. Remember the whirlwind of excitement you feel at the start of a new romance? The heady sparks. That intoxicating rapport. The longing to learn as much about that person as you can. Yeah you got it! Now I want you to think of building your brand in the same way that you nurture this deliciously promising new relationship. Take yourself through the same steps…
In the beginning you pour a whole lot of yourself in
- You light up as you explain what you do for a living and why
In branding this is your company’s mission or purpose. Take the time to understand why you’re so passionate about it so that you can articulate it in the most compelling way.
- You share your hopes and dreams for the future
This is your vision statement – encapsulating what the world will look like when you’ve achieved everything you’re aiming for and how it will improve peoples’ lives.
- You literally sparkle with life as you tell your story with passion, energy and humour
This is your brand story told in the way that only you can.
- You confide all the things that matter most to you in the world
These are your brand values and beliefs. Identifying these will help you to attract and connect more deeply with exactly the right type of customers.
At the same time you want to learn all about your partner
At the start of a new relationship you’re impossibly inquisitive.
You ask all kinds of questions with an eagerness to soak up every little detail and to explore all the areas you have in common. Applied to your business this is your customer profiling, take the time to find out as much as possible in order to create a brand and marketing campaigns that resonate on every level.
Then with every single contact you intensify the rapport and deepen the connection
- You take great care in your appearance for every meeting
Finally it’s time to work on the visual side of your brand, your logo and brand styling. When you’ve worked through the steps above you achieve a real clarity which makes it so much easier to understand how your brand should look and feel. Then the focus shifts to brand consistency. You always want to look your best.
- Make sure that all the best bits of your personality shine through
Your brand has a personality. Don’t leave this part to chance. It’s important to plan how your brand comes across. This determines the words and phrases you use, your communication style and tone of voice.
- You plan your days around messages, calls and meetings with your lover, never missing an opportunity to catch their gaze and intensify those sparks
These are your brand touchpoints. Be as obsessed with planning every single contact point with your customers as you would be with your lover. Seek to surprise. Design to delight.
Why this approach makes so much sense
At the start of a new romance you invest so much of yourself into it, you almost lay yourself bare (yes, probably in more ways than one). The more authentic you are and the more you share, the deeper you connect and the more chance your fledgling romance has of blossoming into a full-scale relationship and standing the test of time.
The same is true when it comes to attracting your ideal customers. Business is all about people and your brand is at the very start and heart of each and every relationship.
When you follow the steps above and invest in your brand in the same way as you would a romance then you create layers of shared magic, experience and meaning. It’s no surprise that people just can’t help but fall in love with your business!