“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos
It’s easy to get caught up in the wrong elements of your brand at the start. So much so that you spend weeks on creating the best name, determining the right colors, logo, images etc.
Don’t get me wrong how your brand looks is important. How people see you, perceive you and feel around your business and brand determines whether they carry on and do business with you.
However, the fonts logos colours etc are nowhere near as important at the start of your journey as you just getting started producing and providing awesome value.
If it’s a choice between spending 3 months creating the perfect look & feel or 3 months writing a blog post a day on a clean, basic WordPress theme and getting your message out there, definitely choose the latter.
I was about to post some examples of successful businesses with crappy websites when it dawned on me, that design is totally subjective.
What I think is crappy, someone else may think is amazing and that’s why it’s so much more important for you to get your message out there rather than focus on logos and colours.
What you should be focused on however is what your brand stands for and what you want to be known for.
1. Start with your brand ideal.
Your brand ideal is the higher purpose of your brand. It’s your inspirational reason for being.
See Simon Sinek talking about the ‘why’ of your business here.
As he says;
“The goal is not to do business with people who need what you have, but to do business with people who believe what you believe.”
Have you noticed how big brands like RedBull, Dove, Nike actually rarely talk about their products. That’s because they have a higher ideal, a bigger purpose and attract their audience via that purpose.
What I love about this strategy is that it doesn’t just help formulate your messaging and eventually your logos and colors, it guides you as to the type of content you should be publishing across the web.
My brand is all about lifestyle, freedom, travel and independence. So the bulk of my content represents the same.
How to come up with your brand ideal?
Ask yourself the following questions;
- What do you stand for? What are your values?
- How can your brand improve your target markets life?
- What are 5 emotions you want people to feel when they come across your brand?
- What’s the deeper reason for people wanting to use your products and services?
- How can you now translate that into your brand message and the content you create & publish?
Also watch the replay of the Facebook live I did all about the power of your brand ideal.
2. Consider your target audience
On Day 3 we defined your ideal customer avatar. Armed with that knowledge how does that translate to your branding?
For example, are you hoping to attract women, retirees, men over 40, college graduates, creatives, etc.
- Who is my target market?
- What are the brands they currently follow?
- What are they drawn to or attracted by?
- What inspiration can I glean from other brands and the USP exercise from Day 4.
3. What is your mission?
Different from your ideal, this is what you want to achieve with your business. For example, my brand ideal is to help people achieve total freedom.
My mission is to help action takers build a lifestyle business they can run from anywhere in the world.
My belief is that in starting a business doing something you love and that funds your ideal lifestyle leads to ultimate freedom, which is my brand ideal. See the loop?
Your mission is the transformational effect your business will have on your customers.
Here’s some examples of mission statements.
Don’t spend too long here. This can be refined as you grow.
4. What’s your story?
Drawing from both your ideal and your mission statement, what is your brand story?
In an ideal world it will be the reason why you created this business in the first place!
My story is all about how we sold everything we owned in 1 week and left with 3 suitcases never to look back and then how we built 7 figure businesses while traveling the world over the last 10 years.
What’s your story?
In fact I hope Marie Forleo won’t mind me spilling the beans on a section inside her awesome B-School program. (Highly recommended by the way).
In Mod 1, she’s talking about how to leverage your uniqueness and in one of her worksheets recommends having an arsenal of stories ready to tell at a moments notice.
In her words;
‘Facts tell, stories sell. It’s important for every business owner to know their core brand story and to continue to collect stories to share with customers, when you’re interviewed and through your free content.’
The action step is to then write out your ‘core business story’. Why you got started, why you’re doing what you’re doing, what brought you to where you are now etc.
She then goes on to say that it’s a good idea to have at least three versions of that story ready to tell in different formats;
And lastly you should ‘brainstorm at least 5 other simple stories, aha moments, mistakes or turning points in your business or life that may serve as connection points to help you connect more deeply with your ideal customers.‘
Great examples include;
5. Create a simple brand which can evolve over time as you grow
So the goal now is with all the information you’ve gathered how do you turn that into a great looking brand you can use across all of your social media platforms on your blog, podcast etc?
My advice. If you’re crap at design, don’t try to do it yourself. Even with cool tools to help you, if you just don’t have an eye for that kind of thing, go and find someone who does.
Head to Upwork, Fiverr, facebook chums etc, and find someone who’s far more creative that you, to run through your brief as created by going through all the questions on this page and creating your logos / images etc, for you.
It doesn’t have to be an expensive job. If you have a good friend or a creative family member you never know they might do it for a glass of wine.
But whatever you do don’t spend hours on Canva, trying to ‘figure it out’, or thousands of dollars on a branding agency figuring it out for you.
Create something simple, clean and effective just to get you off the ground and then improve as you grow!
Look I’ve given an overview here. Clearly you can go as deep into branding and neuro psychology and colors etc as you like, but my goal is to help you get a business up and running as fast as possible so you can start living the life you dream about.
If you’d like to delve deeper into the subject, here’s some amazing resources that can help you build an awesome brand.
Take my advice however, create something clean and profesh looking and get started! Use awesome content to start building your audience and when you’re earning a bit of cash, come back and enhance your brand as you grow.