Business owners – are you crystal clear on your brand? What it looks like, what it stands for, what it sounds like and what message it is giving?

It takes a lot of thinking to get this defined and needs a dedicated period to finalise and perfect – but it’s definitely worth it. A lot of businesses get carried away with getting the website designed, the social media up and running that they don’t spend time on defining their brand which can result in their brand lacking clear clarity, direction and a mixed messaging later down the line.

My advice when either starting your own brand or having a brand refresh is to spend a good chunk of time really analysing who you are speaking to, how you want to look, sound and feel and what success looks like – remember, success is different to everyone. Here are my top 5 tips to get going:

Know your target audience 

This is key as if you don’t know who you’re speaking to, how can you define your brand. Work on your target audience, build customer profiles, get to know who they are who they are not (just as important) and get a really clear idea of their lives. Where they go, what they do, what they read, who they are influenced by and what impacts them. This will stand you in great stead to define your look and language.

Define your brand’s personality 

A good exercise to do here is think of 6 adjectives that describe your brand and this will indicate the personality and dictate the look, feel and language. Ask what are the company’s objectives – do you have a specific niche of offer or audience? What are you trying to achieve with your brand and company? Does your company have a tag line – what emotions does that evoke? If you get stuck, look at the big brands and see how they do it and what values are attributed to them. For example, someone like John Lewis conjures up values such as reliability, quality and service whereas maybe Apple’s would be innovation, leaders, brave and aspiration. This will help you form yours.

Define your brand colours 

It is great to define your brand colours and get a clear idea of your palette as this will impact everything from your branding to your literature and social media. Do you research and see what other brands in your sector are using and why and also look at colour affinity – for example, does purple just remind you of Milk Tray or does red remind you too much of Virgin? Personal taste goes a long way here as, at the end of the day, you don’t want colours that you don’t have a connection with and always remember your target audience and what shades would appeal to them.

Think about your language

This, in my opinion, is really vital and will be dictated by your target audience and your offer. For example if you are offering a service of a personal nature, you need to use sensitive and professional language, not layman terms or light-hearted comments. Your personality can definitely shine through here and try and avoid using language you wouldn’t use yourself as this can come across clunky and insincere but do know your audience. A good habit is to have a list of words you don’t and do like and will use. When I used to work for big brands this was a matter of course. Some might like using the word ‘cool’ for example and others avoid it like the plague.

How can you help?

As customers, we want our brands to tell us how they can enrich our lives and add value or make it better. Have a think about what your brand does in line with that. With mine, I want to add value to business owners by giving them more time to run their business by taking their marketing off them and adding value of my expertise.

I hope these have helped and if you’d like to talk about brand further, please do drop me a line.