One of the most important assets you can develop for your business is a powerful brand. Brands are not just logos or tag lines. Brands are the culmination of who you are, how you’re different from your competition, and why a buyer should do business with you.
Whether you’re an established company or small start-up, a brand has tremendous impact. A brand instills confidence, creates loyalty, and many times can command a premium price. But most of all a great brand reduces a buyer’s perception of risk and makes the purchase choice easy.
Developing a brand is much more than just deciding on a name or picking some colors. A brand is the sum of all you do. It’s derived from all your touch points with your customers and prospects. Developing a brand requires having a plan that consistently communicates what your company is and does, along with your distinct attributes, image, and personality.
In StartupNation: Open for Business, we introduce the concept of a “marching brand”—a consistent, immediately recognizable mental imprint that delivers a clear and compelling message.
Branding consultant and author Karen Post, compares this notion to a “brain tattoo”—put there by choice, but which certainly can be removed at any time. That, by the way, is the name of her latest book, Brain Tattoos, Creating Unique Brands that Stick to your Customers’ Minds. Her book delves into many creative ways companies and people can build and leverage their brand.
In this step we look at some of Karen Post's recommendations and action items for establishing a super brand:
- Draft your brand DNA or essence
- Define and relate to your target audience
- Choose a brand name
- Create a logo
- Make a list of all your other touch points
- Create a demand for your brand
Recommendations and action items
Draft your Brand DNA or Essence—Purpose, Points of Difference, Personality, Promise
This is the foundation for everything you do and should guide your business, marketing, and communication decisions. These are your draft brand drivers. As you move through the following process, you may tweak those drivers or add something completely new. But at the end of the day, you should clearly define:
- Your brand purpose: a logical snapshot of what you provide the market.
- Your brand points of difference: things that are truly distinct that your competitors can’t copy. While great customer service is important, it’s not a point of difference; many of your competitors will claim the same thing. A point of difference can include a visual symbol, story, color scheme, proprietary process or product, historic milestone, physical characteristic, or combination of several of these.
- Your brand personality: a collection of human-like traits and adjectives that best describe your brand.
- Your brand promise: the emotional side of your purpose. If you were a tailor, your purpose would be to make and alter clothes and your promise would be to give people confidence when their clothing fits just right.