Branding – What Is Your Story.

We all have a unique fingerprint, our own personality, we are individuals made up of a specific ID and more importantly we all have a story to tell.

Branding… a word that is so often bandied around but sometimes not for the right reasons and a lot of the time with no real understanding of what Branding actually means.

Let me tell you what branding is not… it is way more than a logo (especially one that has been subjectively influenced which can happen), it is much more than coming up with a business name and getting out there with a website or Facebook or Instagram page. It is definitely more than a colour and a name put onto a pen or a banner.

Branding is a “Story” – everyone of us has a story to tell and a unique way of telling it. Branding is a “Promise” – one that you stay true to every time!

My 7 Step Guide to Understanding and Defining Your Brand:

1. Who Are You? What makes up your DNA, what is your Brand ID? This can apply to you as an individual, a business, service or product. Think about this – take a note pad and pen and write down your personality traits, values, beliefs, friend/customer types, what do you stand for and how can you add value to a relationship?

2. What is your Personality Type? As humans we all have our own personality and unique identity – that’s what makes us who we are.The same can be said of brands and businesses. The Brand Universe has between 12 – 16 individual Characters, this was all set about from the times of Karl Jung when he realised that every society ever created shared knowledge via stories – the reality of this is that the characters in those stories are the same! It can be a Broadway Show, a Bollywood movie or a camp fire story – it doesn’t matter as the same Characters will always reappear in some fashion. The reason for this is that as humans we like to sort characters and align their attributes – this goes into our innate filing cabinet. So by aligning a Brand to a Character, we have a good head-start to ensuring customers connect with and remember our brand.
Using the notes from #1’s exercise will help you workshop this process – if you were a character, who would you be – review your personality and attributes to ascertain which Brand Archetype best reflects you or your business.

3. VALUES – what do you stand for?
Stay true to what you believe in. It is these beliefs and ideals that you hold close to your own worth, they influence behaviour and attitude. Are your values aligned with those in your family and friends network?
Do your company values align with what your customers are looking for and want in your service or product? And more importantly do your values align with your team and community?

4. BE HONEST – Create trust with your brand to be able to build long term relationships. Always stay true to your personality, character traits, promises and remain very clear about who you are by living up to your values, these define you and your business – this makes you unique from your competitors.

5. Brand Assets – You have created your Brand Character, reflecting your beliefs and purpose, now ensure this character and message is consistent across all of your communications. Stay true to your Brand Story and Brand Promise. Ensure consistency across all of your creative assets – follow your Style Guide of fonts and colours, be creative yet constant across all collateral, ensure imagery really portrays your personality and most importantly safeguard your website and social media to be informative, engaging and responsive. Create a distinct tone of voice and be dependable in your message but don’t repeat. It is essential to ALWAYS stay true to your brand and its promise.

6. BE YOU – Clearly deliver on your brand message. You can be innovative, disruptive, original, caring, dare to be different but always deliver on creative and key messages that stand up for what you believe in, be authentic and more importantly align the emotive elements and messaging with your customers – how do they want to feel?

7. CREATE BRAND AMBASSADORS – allow your customers to learn more about your brand themselves, offer some intrigue and allow them to engage – this is a great way to adopt Ambassadors because remember… we all love to tell others about what we have found and we like to do it by creating our own version of it and telling the “story”.

Your Branding Checklist – define and create your very own Brand ID, choose your Character, tell your story, keep it real and stay true to your values, then take it into market through the right channels that truly represent you and your business promise.