When most folks think of their brand, they think of logos, fonts, colors, (oh my!). But the truth is, your brand isn’t what you look like, but what you look like directly affects your brand.
Huh? Explain please. 😂
I got you. Your brand is the perceptions people have about your company. It’s the thoughts, feelings, and assumptions that run through your client or customers heads when they come across your website, social post, or literally you – in the flesh, standing in that Trader Joe’s line. Have you ever bought a really incredible product and immediately texted your bestie about it? What about watching a show like Selling Sunset and ‘gossiping’ with your friend about the folks in the show? That’s the brand.
Let’s Peep At The Cheetah Co.’s Brand
For example, when I come across The Cheetah Co’s stories over a year ago on Instagram and Ash is asking how everyone is feeling in one of those polls, I casually press, ‘Need that pep talk’, because your boo needs it for real.
But THEN, Ash slides into my DM’s and actually delivers a pep talk plus checks in on me when we’ve only exchanged some winky faces and heart emojis thus far is a WHOLE new feeling for me. One I immediately associate with her brand. Thinking, ‘Damn, this woman is here for the real and raw and actually cares.’ Overtime, through messaging and all those touchpoints these thoughts and feelings are reinforced. Now when I think of The Cheetah Co. I think:
- Laughing though it, not staying in it
- Pro at creating a sense of belonging
It’s like the Mad Men office I want to be a part of…you know sans patriarchy ick.
So we’ve nailed down that your brand is this all encompassing feeling and opinions carried by your clients and customers – really your whole audience- but you might be asking how you actually direct those feelings and thoughts? That’s where brand strategy comes into play. Let’s get into that below.
5 Tips for Shaping Your Brand and In Turn Leveraging Your Unique Power
Brand strategy can help you harness your brand power because it directs and shifts how people think about your company. This is why my brand and web design agency always makes sure to start with brand strategy before diving into the logos, fonts, colors etc. Those pieces of your brand identity might be fab- I mean, it’s truly the sexy stuff- I am not going to lie. But, building a ‘can’t take my eyes off the gorgeousness’ brand does lay down a vibe, but it’s not everything and most importantly- it’s not the first thing. Instead, you’ll start with…
1. Business Strategy + Conducting Market Research
First, if you aren’t clear on your offers, offer structure or business basics then you might want to hire a business coach or strategist to help you before you dive into a full blown rebrand. Getting clear on what you offer will seriously help you hone in on branding this offer for your people. An even more powerful duo is conducting market research while you work with a business coach. This looks like analyzing your competitors, market trends, and consumer behavior to gain insights into your industry and audience.
You’re basically equipping your tool belt to dive into your brand strategy with purpose and a position.
2. Understand your Target Audience
*Sigh* More homework?
Nope! This part can be super fun because you’re talking to your dreamy clients and customers.
You need to get to know your audience, their needs, and their preferences. This will help you to create a brand message that resonates with them and appeals to their desires. Those clients you want….have you asked them what they need? Where their head is at? Looked at who they worked with and why? I promise it will be helpful.
3. Develop Your 3 P’s with A Brand Strategist + Designer
I use the 3 P’s to layout brand strategy for my clients:
- Position – your audience
- Promise – your messaging
- Presence – your identity and atmosphere
Laying these foundations will give you your values, mission, vision, personality, signature phrasing…and the list goes on. It’s the meat of your brand that people will identify with right away.
Pro tip: Most people don’t know these off hand. It’s super hard to write about yourself and your business. It’s like you’re a fine bottle of wine, but inside the bottle it’s really hard to know where you’re at on the shelf (position), what your label says (promise), or what you look like (presence). This is what I’m here…and I can already tell you’re super fine! 😉
4. Finally, Build a strong brand atmosphere with your designer
Now you can hop into that fun and gorgeous Pinterest worthy thing- your branding. Create a visual identity that reflects your brand’s values and resonates with your target audience. Then use this consistently across all channels- from website to social media, from contracts to email sign offs.
5. Don’t forget to market & monitor your brand
Utilize various marketing channels such as social media, email marketing, influencer marketing, and/or advertising to reach your target audience and create brand awareness.
As you do this, monitor your brand’s reputation. Keep track of what people are saying about your brand online and address any negative feedback promptly. Share positive feedback everywhere.
Be open to adapting as needed, but not reinventing due to pressure
When you’ve invested in your brand in the order described above, it’s best not to constantly be ‘re-branding’ because 1. That is super confusing for your audience and 2. It probably indicates you have a gap in one of the above brand building initiatives.
But you can and should be continuously evaluating and adapting your strategy. As your business evolves, make sure your brand evolves with it. Regularly review your marketing efforts and adjust your strategy as needed to ensure you are meeting your business goals.
If you would like support with Marketing, ummm you’re here and The Cheetah Co. would LOVE to hear from you. If you’re interested in diving into brand strategy, your branding and website- let’s chat!