From nailing your brand's foundations to channelling your inner Jedi, we start breaking down what you need to explore to start building a brand that your customers rave about.
We are talking all about brand foundations. I want to start by giving you a quick rundown of what branding is to me. And some of it's misconceptions.
Branding has always been a collection of small parts that steer people's views.
That's what branding is to me. It's using visual design to amplify your brand's foundations!
Social media went wild for it. But, when you apply a story, you can start embedding feelings and giving objects personalities. So, by giving it a story, they affected the sales. They sold an identical mask and didn't give it a story. It sold for a tiny amount. But the one they applied the story to, sales crept up to 6,000%. Branding gave it that huge growth, which is pretty amazing.
Before you switch off, the first task you need to do is audit your brand. I know that sounds terribly boring.
But to keep it interesting, see it as more of a bloopers reel. I've had a few good ones in the past myself.
Back in 2015, I designed a flyer with the word 'public' on it. Unfortunately, there were 20,000 copies printed with the 'L' missing. Just let that sink in. There were 20,000 printed.
It's not all about what's gone wrong. It's also what you're doing, right. If you've been in business for one year, two years, 10 years, there's gonna be things that you're doing so right.
Analysing your current brand is super, super important. I like to look at what feelings you're communicating and how well you do it.
Next, we need to determine your why or, more importantly, how you can find it. It's not a trick question. It shouldn't make you squirmy like a worm. Your why must be there to balance out and reframe the bad experiences. You need the bad experiences to balance the good ones and learn from them.
And yes, building a brand does take time. To master a new skill. It's said to take 10,000 hours, and there will be a bunch of imposter syndrome, frustration and other things that pop up. But when you have a clear why, the negative experiences can turn positive.
Let's look at my why: create world-changing brands and educate and inspire businesses to build a stronger, more collaborative world.
We can see that to make a positive change in the world and help people, there will be hurdles to climb, but long term, we are travelling towards that goal. And it's that journey that is the driving force of your brand. It's what gets you out of bed to start your work. Hopefully, you can break that giant goal down into lots of little accomplishable tasks so that it doesn't feel like "I'm just never going to get this done". It's gonna happen. You are going to make it happen.
We all need to take a little look at our USPs. It's what makes us unique. And why is this important?
Before diving into a marketing plan, making a new website, or generating new content, you need to understand your brand's DNA and the psychology of your audience's needs. If you can finish this phrase "We specialise in..." in a single sentence, you're well on your way to cracking your USP. Which will help you clear up your own misconceptions.
Your job is to work out how to solve customers' problems and talk to them in a way that engages them. Your customers are humans, so you need a humanised brand voice and personality. Think about their feelings, quirks, needs and wants. You must get into their brains and suck out as much useful information as possible. The brand voice should embody their language.
But before humanising it, you need to know the customer and their problems. Then you can dive deeper into their psychological needs. Are current world events affecting how they're feeling? These will have a massive impact on whether they actually want to buy. Either way, understanding your audience is the absolute key.
I was in our masterclass yesterday, where the person leading it said, "I bet you've got 30 tabs open on your browser right now? Close them all down." Everyone had more than 30 open. I probably had 80 open. These little observations make people feel heard and seen, which is vital for connecting people to your brand.
I like setting 1 to 3 targets each year that I can actually hit. I put dates on them because it keeps you accountable. Big tasks can then be reverse-engineered and broken into bite-sized chunks that I can actually do. It makes it a lot less scary when you decide to launch a podcast.
When setting goals – you need to ask yourself – what do I want to be known for? What reputation do you want to have? What branding assets do we want in place? What tone of voice are we striving for? What would fulfilling our vision feel like? What do we want competitors to say about us? What do you want to create? What do you need to do to make your mark, and what would make you more magnetic?
Oops slipped into the 1980s with that one. Finally, there's one exercise that really helps blow brands up. Focusing on a mix of the audience, what they need, the brand's DNA and the brand voice. So it's kind of sucking everything in together.
This task is actually something I give away on my website. The Feels Finder download.
It doesn't matter how far into business you are. There's a good chance you've not thought about using emotions to sell your services/products – it's the first exercise I do with clients. They nearly always say, "huh, I've never thought about it like that". It gets you really thinking about your brand.
Humans are compelled by emotions, which is why connecting emotions to your brand is a no-brainer. It'll help you stand out and show authenticity. Take a recent client of mine; they are a psychologist who is training clinicians in their methods. And, being a psychologist they are working with emotions daily.
So it is important to work emotions into their brand. It's driven by words like access, clarity, community confidence, inspiration, security, safety, support and understanding. Then they narrow it down into three. They're going with 'community' because they're using their business to talk to new clinicians and facilitators and train them in how they treat patients. They're building a community around them. They are looking to instil 'confidence' in people and confidence in patients. They want to make sure people feel 'supported'.
They'll use those emotions to make notable shifts in their brand. Altering the brand's direction, speaking to and exciting customers, making sales easier and reinvigorating their brand visuals. All from doing this one exercise. It's crazy just how much can be changed from one thing.
I want to help brands find those little nuggets that go make people go *booooom* explosive, amazingness.
Hopefully, by explaining just how much one person got from it. You'll be able to see how you can quickly apply it to your own brand.
Tata for now!
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