Thinking about branding your business? Are you worried it will be too hard and too difficult? There’s no reason it needs to be either difficult or hard. What are you waiting for? You can create a world-class brand in just 5 easy steps.
1. Create your branding vision
The first thing to do is to decide what you want your branding to look and sound like. Usually this has to come out of a powerful truth about the organization, but be packaged in a small enough bite that it’s easily identifiable and can be acted on and called to mind quickly and easily. This usually means that the external tagline is 5-9 words in length. Long enough to be intriguing, but short enough to fit nicely on business cards, letterhead, advertisements, and…well…everything.
2. Tell the branding story
The tagline really is nothing without the internal brand story that goes with it. I call this either a “Brand Manifesto” or a “Declaration of Passion.” The internal story gives life to the brand and helps to define it for your internal stakeholders. The brand needs this critical element to have enough emotional resonance to be interesting and to give yourself and your team something to hold onto.
3. Enlist your team in branding your business
Here’s one of the most important steps — enlist your team in creating how your brand works within your walls. I’ve spent the last week meeting with diagonal cross-sections of an organization and sharing with them the new brand story. We then asked each of them to brainstorm with us what the company should keep doing to reinforce the new brand position. We then asked them what the company should start and stop doing to help them to live the brand. The results have astounded. Each employee feels included in crafting this brand position and is both invested in, and proud to be, part of creating the new brand position. That outcome, far more than any single idea that came out of the brainstorming sessions is the most important to helping this new brand succeed. Oh, and they’ve come up with some pretty amazing ideas to create the brand too!
4. Get consistent about branding your business
Consistency is king when it comes to branding. After all, “branding”started with livestock branding to show ownership. When it was done right, branding “creates an indelible mark that allows ranchers to keep track of their stock, wayward cattle to be returned to their owners, and stolen cattle to be readily identified.” as noted in Modern Farmer’s Brand Awareness: Decoding Cattle Brands. The Smithsonian Magazine even notes that, “Livestock branding dates back to 2700 BC.” Throughout time, as you can imagine, in livestock brands, a consistent mark made it easier to identify and defend. And branding livestock works. Livestock Identification Services notes that, “In many cases, over a period of more than a hundred years, many old ranch brands have become better known than the people who owned them.”
The same thing is true when branding your business. Over the long haul, the more consistent you can become, making all your messaging have a similar look, feel, and voice, the more likely it is that your customers and potential customers will be able to readily identify your brand and know what to expect from your business.
Branding is the exercise of creating the history of your business in the present. Get consistent about every element of your business and your brand will not let you down.
5. Make branding your business fun
Branding your business doesn’t have to be all hard work. In fact, it works best when you can find ways to make it light and to include it in unique ways in your community. The more fun you can have with your brand position, the more likeable your brand will become. Look for unexpected, guerilla tactics to surprise and delight your customer and potential customers.