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The 7 Fundamentals for building your brand and a FREE brand development canvas to get you there

February 21, 2020

We’ve all heard about the growing demand for experiences and the statistics speak for themselves - In 2020, customer experience has overtaken product and price as the key differentiator and in a recent report it stated that 86% of customers were even willing to pay more for a great experience. So in fact, delivering a great experience pays dividends.

So how do you actually do this? Well of course it all comes down to having a brand that means something and is able to guide your business in defining what your experience should actually be. Yes, you can guess, and frequently people do. As a consultant I've heard countless times that a business has plans to do X, Y and Z and when I ask how they're going to achieve that, I'm met with blank faces. Take for instance an accountant client of mine who excitedly explained that they want to incorporate videos into their on-boarding process with their clients. It sounds great, but when I asked what they were actually going to say and do in this video and what purpose it would serve, they had absolutely no idea. And they had no idea, because they hadn't created their brand. They'd been servicing their clients but had not given any thought to the experience they were giving and what they clients actually wanted.

The good news is that even if you don't think that you've got a brand, there are 7 questions you can ask yourself to start developing the thinking behind your brand. You can then start to think about how this translates into your marketing, your customer journey and even the culture of your business. It means that you can start to bring your thinking into one place and start to define just what you stand for and why people should buy from you or even want to work for you.

But if the benefits aren't yet obvious enough, have a think about these key reasons for developing a brand and a unique experience. Your business will be able to:

- Communicate a unique message(advertising, website, social media) that is different and helps you to stand out

- Deliver a well-defined value and service proposition and thus avoiding the endless conversations around price whilst helping you to find the right customer for the specific service that you provide

- Bring an approach which leads to a different and more inspiring culture.  A place that is inspiring to do business and unites the team

- Attract and retain the younger generation who will be the lifeblood of the business in the future (they look for more than a salary)

- Give you CONFIDENCE that you are more than the sum of your parts but that you have something of greater value to offer

The 7 Fundamentals to ask yourself

1.What is the purpose behind your brand?  Why do you exist?

Think about a bigger picture world view. Think about what your small contribution makes to the world. Try to think outside of the box as it will drive greater inspiration both for you, your team and your clients and customers. Think about the Apple purpose which is "to challenge the status quo and do things differently". There is no mention of computers here but how the business aims to make the world just a little bit better

2.Who are your competitors and what are they doing?

An important question which enables you to look at the field and understand whether there is any gap in the market for you to fill. If you find a little niche for yourself it will power your communications much better and will potentially cut through more successfully. Think about how you do things differently or how your product or service operates and re-tune it to fit beautifully into the gap

3.Who is your target audience?

We are all told to niche. But niche-ing is difficult because we all fear that we will miss a quick sale. Better we think to aim at someone and hope that someone hears and responds. Unfortunately this has a tendency to fall on deaf ears - say nothing specific to everyone, and the result will be very little. So have a think about the types of businesses or customers that you enjoy working with. Think about those success stories and ask yourself why they worked. Think about the person themselves and the type of business and see if there is a nice little target to go after. After all, if you work well with someone, it's best to talk their language clearly and to attract more of them

4.What is your mission?  What drives your brand forward?

You've got your purpose, now how does your brand actually deliver on that? Apple says that they "contribute to the world by supplying tools for the mind that advance humankind". Again, big picture stuff but a level down. And yes, it mentions tools which gives more detail but it doesn't say one particular tool so as not to limit itself. Think about your own business and what you deliver now but what you have the opportunity to deliver in the future which might revolutionize your business

5.What are your brand values that drive your brand approach and culture?

This is the core of your brand. The foundation stone if you like and it's critical to be as precise, and as personal to you and your business as possible. We are not looking for big and meaningless words like "professional", we are looking more to what drives you as the business owner and what will motivate your staff. Think about your own journey and how you insert your values into your own day to day business life. You may not have thought about that, but now is the time to do so. Sit back and think about what is important to you and what it in turn brings your team and your customer or client.

6.What qualities and benefits does your brand bring?

Think now about the actual type of product or service that you bring. How does this support what you've talked about above. For instance Apple talks about concentrating on the simple rather than the complex. This delivers a beautifully simple and minimalist product design. Think about the essence of that you deliver and how your product and service alone can benefit your customers

7.What is your brand tone of voice and personality?

How do you talk? How would someone describe you? Do you bring this into your business? I'm sure you do. Try to ensure that what you do resonates with you and the brand which you are building. You want to be true to yourself and genuine. So ask a few people how they would describe you and think about the character of your business.

These 7 questions and 7 answers should begin to get you thinking. Write them down on this Insight 101 Brand Development Canvas and see what you come up with. This should be an important document which acts as the starting point and can even be given to any of your suppliers as a brief. If you're thinking of refreshing your website for instance, give the designer this page. They'll be thankful for it.

Once you have this page, it'll be time to think about how this translates across your business and we'll be covering that in the following blog

Good luck!

Insight 101