People often ask me the following: What is branding?
Sometimes I meet with a potential client who thinks branding is designing a shiny new logo and changing the fonts and colors on their website.
Well, sure, something like logo design is obviously important, but it’s just one element in a bigger picture.
And turning this bigger picture into a marketing system that works starts with branding.
So I’d like to explain how your company should approach branding.
To start, let’s take a speedy tour of how I start and run a branding project.
When I first meet with clients they often think they have an immediate need and want something whipped up pronto.
“We need a new website in 1-2 months!”
“Our brochures are running low. How fast can we get more brochures design and printed?”
“We have a conference in January, and we’re not ready.”
This is when you need to put on the breaks and ask the following:
WHY do you need a new site? New brochure? Why are you not ready? Is your current messaging consistent? Are you attracting the right people? And, is your business growing because of marketing done right?
Many marketing projects are treated as a crisis because of some looming deadline. And this means clients are often focusing on all the wrong things before they get started.
So my approach is usually to stop, refocus, and turn “what might go wrong?” into “how do we do this right?”
To basically ditch the “how quickly?” mindset and treat marketing with a strategy before tactics approach.
And branding is a component of your marketing strategy. The first component.
For marketing to work, you need to attract and turn prospects into paying customers.
Attracting and converting new business is why you market your biz.
And to do marketing right, you need to start with effective branding.
So, you want to brand your business the right way. Where do you start?
Start with a phone call.
Make a list of current and past you think will be receptive to a phone call. Then email them and see if they would be available for a short discussion about the services you’ve provided them.
And remember, they are your clients. They’ve stuck with you for a reason and should be more than happy to talk with you about why they like you, trust you, and continue to work with you.
The truth is that most often, people are more than willing to help.
But don’t stop there.
When you have them on the phone, mention that you are going to send them a follow-up message via email, and follow this template…
Thanks again for taking the time to talk with me. As I mentioned, I’m now working on a revised marketing plan. Step one is sending out the right brand message. So, I’m wondering if you would …
Have a few minutes to answer the questions below? (Your answers will help us clarify our message and create better services).
What was your biggest fear before hiring us? Did it come true, and if not, what happened instead?
Why did you choose to work with us?
What was your favorite part of working with us?
What sets us apart from the competition?
How can we do this in a more effective way?
Why do you stay with us?
What questions, if any, were unanswered?
If we were to start over, what would be your top three questions before you would hire us?
If you were to recommend us to someone, what would you say to them about your experience with us? Would you consider writing a testimonial based on this?
No pressure of course, but we value your feedback and whatever you can provide will be a big help.
Take this template and do with it what you would like.
Now, approach your employees and ask them the following…
Who is our ideal customer?
What is most important to them? Reasonable fees? Quick service? Etc.?
What traits do these people have in common?
Can you describe someone who would not be a good fit for us?
What are the questions these people always ask? Create a short list of at least 10 questions.
That my friend is how you start branding your business.
This information is basically the raw material you need to refine your brand. And it makes it waaaaay easier to figure out why you need a new website, to update your brochure, and prepare new materials for that conference.
You only have a few seconds to get your prospects attention.
When they visit your main hub, your website, they will buy what they understand the fastest.
To get them to consider working with you, you need a crystal clear marketing message.
This message originates from your brand. Your brand does the following…
Clarifies what you do.
Talks to the right people.
And helps build content and visuals that get this across in a clear, cohesive way.
That’s branding in a nutshell. And the best way to start is by asking the right questions. Get started today.
Do you want to bring your brand to life? Taking a few minutes to complete our brand audit will help you think about your current marketing efforts and what might need to change. It will also help me suggest several ways to improve your branding and marketing now: Brand audit.
After you complete the form, we’ll contact you to schedule a time to go over the results and see how we can help.