Your brand is the touchpoint between your business and your clients. It shouldn’t just be clever and appealing; it should be comprehensive.
Define your Brand with 4 Simple Questions
For your brand to truly and accurately represent your business, it should be centered between four crucial elements of your business plan:
A brand brief helps you develop the various elements of your brand, including your logo, brand colours, methods of communication, and aims, in relation to the four above components. It also serves guide for how you will approach your primary communication mediums. It achieves this by laying out exactly how your brand will be conveyed across multiple platforms, including your website, blogs, social media, and documents. Fine Point’s brand brief service is designed around four simple but vital branding questions.
Your Ideal Client
Question: Who are you best-suited to help?
Your clients have their own visions and values, and ultimately, your goal is to help them achieve those in some way. Good business owners know their sales don’t only depend on volume of clients, but quality of clients. If you value your products and services, you’ll want to cater to those who will reap the most benefits from them, so you, in turn, can be profitable and successful.
Laying out your ideal client is possibly the most crucial aspect of branding. Targeting potential clients means identifying them very specifically, and catering to their needs, tastes, and aspirations in your brand. You want them to understand and interact with your business on a personal level. Start with a potential client’s specific needs and goals, and determine whether and how your business can help them.
A key component of identifying an ideal client for branding purposes is determining where they engage their time and source their information. Is the client in a demographic group primarily using social media for communication? Is he a member of the business community on LinkedIn, or someone who prefers email and phone communications? Does he want to meet face to face? Does the client gather information from online articles, podcasts, and videos, or does he prefer to get his information from the radio and newspaper?
Question: What do you do differently than others, and why does it matter?
Although you are likely well-versed in various aspects of your industry, it’s important to consider your niche within that industry. What do you do best? An area of specialization lends you an advantage, and distinguishes you (and your brand) from similar businesses. For example, an accountant may be familiar with many accounting procedures, but possess specialized knowledge of tax legislation. Her brand, then, should highlight that skill. Pinpointing your niche establishes your specific position within the industry, sets expectations, and should ultimately appeal specifically to your ideal client.
If you’re just starting out and have little experience in your industry, compile all your skills and see if you can find a link between them. If you want to start selling cleaning products online, but you don’t have a previous experience in a similar position to draw from, but you’ve personally used your products in your home, your expertise could be in researching and product testing.
Question: What is your long-term vision for your business?
Your vision is the promise you make to your clients, and yourself. It is a long-term set of goals you will work toward. Without a unifying direction, your brand (and your work) will suffer from misdirection, and you may miss the opportunity to engage with your ideal clients.
When you lay out your vision, be as specific as possible. It’s not enough (or realistic) to say you want to be one of the best in your industry. It can help to go back to your area of expertise and your ideal client to answer this question.
What area of your industry do you want to be considered an expert in? Are you a tax specialist with a goal of becoming a trusted resource for public companies? Or a bookkeeper who helps establish internal controls for companies, to solve a problem with continuous outsourcing?
What are your ideal clients’ needs, how will you solve them effectively now, and how do you foresee solving their problems even better in the future?
What do you want from your company? Growth? Dependability? Branching out into new areas of expertise?
Take your expertise, and craft it into single long-term goal. From there, you can branch out into the smaller goals you will achieve along the way.
Question: How will you deliver on your vision?
Your values are the roadmap to your vision. They determine your behavior, and demonstrate exactly how you will achieve your goals. They also set reasonable expectations for your clients, employees, and yourself. Anticipate what expectations your clients will have, and base your values around the qualities that will best achieve your goals and theirs.
Your values can often be set out in single words. Think of the adjectives that describe what you do and how you do it. A tax specialist will want to speak to punctuality, because her services are time-dependent. Trade workers will likely value quality of work, because their services and products are expected to last. Lawyers are expected to be trustworthy, because their clients depend on reliability and honest advice.
If you went through these questions and your answers were interrelated, you’ve already achieved one of the most important aspects of branding: consistency. Your brand strategy should tie everything in, without losing anything in translation. Once you’ve laid out the answers to these questions, you will have a clear vision to start from, and working with branding experts to outline your brand guide will be a smoother process.
Fine Point’s writing and graphic design team can take your core business elements and transform them into a comprehensive brand strategy.
To learn more about our branding briefs and guides, contact Danielle.