We know how overwhelming branding can be for business owners…because, what exactly is it? Let’s bring the intangible into the realm of tangible with a simple checklist.
When you're just starting out in a new business or blog venture (whether that's something big or small), there are so many things to consider before you can start to offer your product, service or speak your message. It can be totally overwhelming. So where do we start?
You're going to want to grab a piece of paper and a pen for this one!
Write out these main questions and start to jot down bullet point answers. Don't worry about making a ton of sense and don't worry about length. Just write down what comes to mind. No answer is set in stone and you can always change your mind later.
For now, just brainstorm and write.
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1. What is your product, service or message?
First thing you want to consider is what exactly you're offering to the world or your community. Every business should begin to build a brand around being known for something fairly specific. This doesn’t mean you can only do one thing, but consider what people will think when your business name comes to mind!
What are your products or services?
How are they going to help people?
What problem do they solve?
Are you done? Awesome!
*Bonus tip: narrow this brainstorming list down. Consider the top 3 things (read: products, services or messages) you have to offer. We all want to please everyone and do everything, but consider what you're best at and get your message down to one sentence or a few main ideas, so that the next time someone says "what do you do?" you have a few words to offer them. Not a 10 minute speech.
2. What's the tone of your brand?
The tone sets the foundation for everything in your business. Some brands are playful. Some are particularly masculine or feminine. Some are cool, smooth and modern. Some are professional, polished and educational.
When I say "tone" I mean what approach do you need to take with your communications to elicit the particular feelings you want your audience to remember? If you want them to feel inspired, then your tone might be inspirational. If you want them to feel grounded, then your tone might be calming. If you want them to feel hopeful, then your tone might be optimistic. See how this works?
Your turn! Write it out:
How do you want people to feel when they interact with your brand (whatever form that might be: website, business card, poster, email...etc.)?
What do you want them to take away from you? Start there. Go ahead - write out a few feel-y words.
*Bonus tip: narrow it down to 2-3 specific feelings. Once you can say "I want my audience to feel X, Y & Z" then start to hash out what type of tone you need to accomplish those feelings.
3. Do your assets work towards communicating these tones?
Think about whether your logo, colour scheme, font choices, website, social media profiles etc. all represent these tones you're striving for. If you don't already have any brand assets, consider having this discussion with your designer so that you're both on the same page about what you're trying to communicate and what you want your audience to take away from any and all interactions with your brand.
For this section, write out all the channels you are using (or are considering using) to communicate your brand to the world (think social media, website, email, in-person event banners...etc.).
How are you reaching your audience? List the ways these tools are helping you elicit those feelings you want people to experience when they hear about your brand or business name.
And if you’re struggling or feeling like you don’t have consistent channels for your business, now is a great time to grab the brand checklist and start to assess your brand visuals.
4. Who are you trying to reach?
List characteristics of the exact kind of person you want to work with, sell to or engage in conversation.
Who is it that would truly benefit from what you have to offer?
What do they struggle with?
Why would your business be able to help them?
What’s stopping them from buying from you or hiring you?
When you can really identify the ideal client or customer, you can start to determine how to go about opening a channel with them. It'll make marketing your product, service or message much more authentic and effective. Sure you can cast a giant net out there and see what you pull in, but when you get specific and use the right communication methods for your audience, you'll have much more success in engaging interest.
5. Are you using the right vehicles to communicate your message or promote your business?
If you really want to be selling a product from your online shop, should you really be posting that flyer in your local grocery store? Think about who your ideal client or customer is, and research the best ways to reach them authentically (as in... don't be cheesy or pushy).
Sometimes, we can get caught up in trying to do all the things and be in all the places. That’s not terribly helpful, especially if you’re working with limited resources (time, money, employees…etc.).
Do some research and perhaps even survey some people you consider to be your perfect client or customer to see where they hang out most often. Maybe it makes sense to pour your efforts into SEO and guest blogging instead of social media. Or perhaps you should focus on referral marketing instead of spending hours and hours each week managing a blog.
When you can speak the language of your audience, you'll resonate with them far more effectively than just doing everything and anything to get your name out there.
Take a moment to list out a few ways to get your product, service or message into the eyes and ears of your audience in a more effective manner.
If you want more support, grab the free branding checklist below and start to take the small steps towards a solid, clear and concise brand for your business!