Who are you?
What do you do?
Where do you want to take yourself professionally?
Why did you begin?
How do you represent yourself?
Better yet, how are you perceived?
The answers to each of these questions are just a few of the many pieces that compose the mosaic that is your brand. Your brand is your identity and the most important aspect of your business. It is your formal introduction, the basis for others’ interpretation of you, and your legacy.
So, what does the act of branding entail exactly? The short answer is, everything: Conceiving a name, establishing a mission, launching a website and social media platforms, designing logos and signage, advertising, forming a team of employees, and reaching customers. Defining your business is a voyage of brand self-discovery. It can be time-consuming, trying, and some don't know where to start. However, itemizing the components of your brand and addressing them individually is a simplified strategy for laying a foundation. From there, you can expand on topics more easily. Don’t be overwhelmed by the big picture. Think about your own expectations as a consumer, the brand experience you wish to receive, and design a plan that communicates to your target audience.
Your ability to empathize and bond with others is a trait that will fortify your image. Build a team of people with similar interests and goals, who you trust. Surround yourself with people you can learn from or those with aptitudes outside of your own. Be open to alternative concepts and insight, and know that you require people with varying perspectives and ideas. Your collective contributions and ability to work in unison will give you an advantage. There is strength in numbers.
Strong personal brands differentiate you from your competition by giving your company, not only a voice, but ears that have heard the needs and desires of clients or customers. It is equally important to listen as it is to speak, and this personable quality will give potential clients a sense of connection, relation, and trust. As with any other type of relationship, it is imperative that you are honest and consistent. Continuously work toward “getting” clients in the sense that you acknowledge them, learn them, understand them, and reciprocate. Your attention and effort with turn clients into advocates.
Another entity that communicates on your behalf is your logo. Although the
establishment of a brand reaches far beyond designing an enticing logo and catchphrase, your logo is a fundamental piece of the puzzle and much more than a compilation of symbols, colors, fonts, and images. Your logo is at the forefront of your business, communicating brand and industry information, and setting quality standards, all in the brief time it takes your eyes capture the visual. Logos are virally shared via packaging, products, websites, and all other materials. Considering an alluring logo can independently be a source of business acquisition, your logo should be memorable, distinctive, uncomplicated, and cohesive. Logos may have the power to set you a part within your industry, but the beauty of logos is that they too can evolve. Think of brands such as McDonalds and the changes they’ve undergone over the past 50 years. Initially, logos were complex and now they take a minimal approach. Stay abreast to what's new and trending and incorporate those features into your own brand.
Businesses must stay innovative. Occasionally reevaluate your brand structure and determine whether or not it is functioning. Note key strengths and opportunities for growth and implement methods for improvement. Ongoing research and development is essential. Industries change. People change. These scenarios may even result in the need to “rebrand.” Should that be the case, it is not one to be faced with fear. Be enthusiastic about your prospects and ability to adapt and keep moving forward.