Building your brand and your business
Many entrepreneurs face the same obstacles at the start of their journey. They need help with how to present their company and how best to explain their benefits and messaging to their target audience.
Many entrepreneurs go through the same journey on their way to consistent business branding.
It’s helpful to think about this journey in four steps, and when done in order, they will have you ready to take on your target market with cohesive branding while building your brand.
Here are the steps:
1. Define your offerings: build your product or service
The first phase of product definition needs to be based on the concrete details of what is realistic. You have to be able to deliver what you’re selling. Don’t try to sell something you cannot fulfill, and make sure your business model is profitable and has sufficient market demand.
After you’ve roughly defined what you are selling, there are many ways you can adjust how you position your product or service. Making even minor changes to your delivery processes, packaging, pricing, and many other details can affect how appealing the end product or service is.
This leads us to Step 2.
2. Clarify your benefits and messaging
At this point, many business owners focus on the exact features of what they are selling when it’s time to step back and think about the benefits. Think about why a customer might choose you over other options available to them. Turn your thinking around and start to talk and write down how your product helps your customers.
This is a good time to interview your early customers and see why they bought from you and what value you brought them. Brainstorm phrases you might use in a sales presentation. Think about how you can quantify any results of using your product or service.
Writing a Unique Value Proposition is a great exercise to clarify your message into one concise sentence.
It’s often easier for an outsider to provide feedback than for us to be self-reflective about our own business. Engaging others to read your website copy, listen to a sample presentation, or evaluate your value proposition is helpful.
You should have identified the exclusive benefits to you and your company from this step.
3. Visualize your brand
Connect your benefits with your visuals for a brand that resonates with your customers. An efficient, targeted, and simple brand should use minimal words and have a clean visual style.
This is the time to start designing your logo or other brand visuals now that you have a clear value proposition, ideal customer, benefits, and market position defined. Get clarity around your messaging and value recommendation, and then use this as the foundation for design and visuals.
4. Broadcast your message (aka Marketing)
If you begin promoting your product when you don’t have a clear message, you make a lot of useless noise. Connecting with prospects is challenging when you don’t have a clear value proposition. They can’t figure out what you do or imagine themselves using your product.
If it takes 15 minutes to explain what you do, that’s an issue.
You must become adept at explaining what you offer and its benefits succinctly. Once you can do that, you will have a solid direction for developing a brand message that reinforces your value proposition. Eventually, your message should be so clear that your website, for example, quickly draws in your ideal customer when they visit your site.
Repeat and refine
Even if you follow the correct step-by-step process to build your brand strategy, your product or service will likely continue to evolve. It would be bad if it didn’t. All successful businesses are continually evolving.
You will also continue to understand better (and explain) the real value you provide, so keep looping through these four steps.
- Define and build your product
- Clarify your value
- Visualize your brand
- Market your business
Your first time through, it’s likely you’ll miss the mark. That’s a good reason to keep branding costs low in the beginning until you have more confidence in your direction.
If you try to define your brand when you don’t know the essential elements of your value proposition, you frequently end up with a logo or visual style mismatched with what your brand represents. But that doesn’t mean you need to freeze up and wait for the perfect moment, either. Your brand will continue to adjust as you grow, and a strong brand will evolve with your changing offerings.
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