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Before you can brand, you need to know yourself. Knowing yourself opens your team up to new ideas and the potential for creative marketing campaigns, logos, slogans, and partnerships. Your brand is supposed to represent you in every way. Whether you’re trying to build your personal brand or creating one for your business, have some fun with these questions to get to know who you are.
What is something you’re working for or something you really need to hear to make your goals and progress worth the effort you’re putting in. You don’t want to be told you have great products, what specifically do you want people to praise? Your X is the best in the industry, I used to go to Y company but they don’t Z like you do! This question helps set you apart from your industry competition and will give you a marketing angle, too.
What are you really trying to avoid with your brand? Can you deal with the pressure and feedback? If people left you for competitors, what is the worst thing they could say? That you’re sloppy? Unorganized? That you failed to meet deadlines? This helps you form your company ideals. You want people to say “X company never misses a deadline” so your biggest insult would be that you were late.
Look at your brand and really determine what the worst things people can say about it are. Look for flaws both so you can patch them up and also so your marketing team can be prepared with brand messaging if the worst case scenario happens.
Will Smith, Morgan Freeman, Samuel L. Jackson? There are so many celebrities to choose from, but who would you want representing your brand if you could pick anyone? Look at your product, you wouldn’t have Jeff Gordon endorse or speak on behalf of computer software, but he would be a great fit for BBQ sauce or lemonade – something related to summer.
Figure out which celebrity best summarizes your ideal brand voice. What are their values? How do they speak? Which demographics do they appeal to? Who do you want to really ignite the flame of today’s market and grab their attention? Naturally, you might not have the budget to actually hire this person, but it helps you literally put a face to your future brand.
Are you a plate of comfort food from a family owned southern-style restaurant? Are you an edgy fusion dish that no one has seen before?
What ingredients does your company use? Is everything made scratch or farmed locally? Do you use exotic ingredients from all over the world? These answers help decide what aspects of your company you will highlight in your branding. Do you take pride in the fact that you train young, local talent or boast that you recruit employees from all over the globe?
Some of these questions focus on the strengths or weaknesses of a company, but this one cuts to the chase. When you look at your competition, what makes you better than everyone else? Are your products unique? Do you provide outstanding customer service? When you know what you’re the best at you can highlight that in your marketing, messaging, and branding.
These can be your core values, descriptions of your product, adjectives that your customers use when they work with you. Sometimes it can be hard to narrow them down or hit your limit, so if you’re struggling to hit five then push yourself to 10. If you can’t stop at 10 then narrow the number down to five. The key in this exercise is to get yourself thinking about ways to label yourself and choose the ones that mean the most.
For example, Outback Steakhouse might answer with an obvious “aboriginal music” but they could also go deeper and hit on their target market of young people surfing by the beach and living a “no rules, just right,” lifestyle.
This is a great exercise to involve your staff in, as almost everyone will have a different answer. Look at the lyrics, the genre, the tempo. Why did the employee choose that to represent the company? What characteristics do they think about? This is a fun way to break the ice before getting into more serious topics.
After you ask yourself these questions do you like what you hear? Furthermore, do they come across as appealing to future customers, clientele, and anyone who comes across your brand? Hopefully after learning a bit more about yourself, you’ll really understand what to look for in this competitive and ever changing economy.