I love Seth Godin’s definition of branding, “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”
What this means is people ( you, me, your bff) buy from companies we become loyal to because they meet our expectations for customer service and product value (think Target). We become fans of businesses that we identify with because of their company values (think TOMS) or personality (think of your favorite maker on Instagram)
When you have people who know, like and trust you, what you stand for, and the value of what you offer they will continue to support you by purchasing your offerings and singing your praise to others. This friend, is when you have a brand.
Branding is the process you go through to go from being in business to having a brand. It’s not just about a logo or color scheme. It’s not about printing up your brand values in those stupid corporate posters of people rock climbing. Your brand is a beautiful cake made of your mission, vision, values, brand story and ethos. It’s decorated with your logo, color scheme, and font choices. You need all of the ingredients.
This is why when people are telling me things like, “I am not the clients I want” and “I suck at social media because I don’t know what to say” and my brand is all over the place” I know it’s because we are missing an ingredient. You have to have a good foundation or no amount of tweaks or new photos can make a cake without sugar taste sweet. I know this for a fact. I made a pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving and forgot the sugar. You guys can imagine how horrible it was. Even a sugar glaze couldn’t make that crap edible.
If you are thinking “oh Shit that’s me, what do I do now?” don’t worry. You know I won’t leave you hanging. Start building your foundation with these three branding elements.
Mission – This is what you are doing right now, or what you will be doing. This is the purpose of your business. Who you work for or how you do it may change, but your mission always stays the same. Think of it like your north star.
Vision – This is how you envision your business in the future. The impact your business will have on the people you work with.
Core Values -This is what defines the how, who, and why of your business. It’s how you communicate with your customers and make your products or offerings. It defines who you serve. It’s why you offer what you offer.
These are the first steps in being really clear on who you are, what you do, and who you do it for. When you have this clarity you know who your ideal client is and how to connect with them. You know what to share on social media to expand your reach. You know how to match the right look and feel for that cohesive message you are missing.
This is why branding is crucial for growing your business. Want to dive deeper? Check out my branding workbook to DIY your brand and grow your business!