BY ISABEL GUTIERREZ
During the past few weeks, I have heard this a lot: “I am not entirely happy with my website,” “my marketing collateral doesn’t reflect the qualities and personality of my business,” “I’m not sure what to post in my social media channels or blog.”
If you feel this way towards your company’s presence and marketing tools, then you need Brand Clarity.
Defining your brand is one of the most important things you’ll ever get to do for your business. Not only because it will give you the right aesthetics, voice, message and position in the marketplace, but also because it will allow your business to grow and evolve while maintaining its authenticity. Changes are inevitable and when we understand and remain true to our core values, we make smooth transitions, which do not affect how our audience perceives us.
This is the first step you must take when starting a new business or wanting to improve an existing one. Unfortunately, it is also the step most businesses jump.
When there is no brand clarity, there is confusion and as a result, the most common problems derived from this confusion:
Your business is finding difficult to express its uniqueness
You are not too sure what your story is or how to tell it
You don’t seem to be able to attract the right customers, although you know who they are. You have created your avatars.
Sales are hard
You cannot find the right staff to recruit
You have more services or products but don’t know how to integrate them with your current offer.
Bringing brand clarity to your business will help you tackle these issues. Most importantly, it will enable you to create a distinctive business.
Here is a summary of the steps you need to take to acquire Brand Clarity:
1. Identifying WHY you exist
This ‘why’ is not about making money but about your higher reason for existing: your intention, cause or belief.
Ask yourself the following questions: how do I intend to change my industry for the better? How are my services and products going to benefit my community and ultimately, the world?
Your reason for existing makes you AUTHENTIC. Its role is to unite your customers and culture alike in the pursuit of that intention, belief or cause.
Your brand must be true to its intention, otherwise it will be seen as a fake to your customers.
2. Clarifying WHERE you are going
What is your company’s ultimate ambition? What do you want your business to become in the next 5 to 10 years?
Knowing where you want to get makes a huge difference in your business:
It makes you more productive
It motivates your staff as they work towards an achievement
It ignites passion and enthusiasm in what you do, inspiring all other businesses and clients you deal with.
Your ‘where’ is what in branding is known as your vision.
Your vision states where your company aspires to be upon achieving its ultimate goal. It discloses the vision of your business as an entity, and not just where your actual company seeks to be. In other words, it describes where your company wants a tribe or community, even the entire world to be, as a result of your services.
One of my favourite vision statements is Amazon’s:
And I believe this is true. Every time I want to purchase something online, as random as it can be, I find it in Amazon.
If you are a beautician, you may want to build a company where all products come from organic and sustainable sources and their production is environmentally friendly to planet Earth.
My vision for Little Red Writing is:
To inspire businesses to unleash their brilliance and create a robust, recognisable brand, by making the branding process better understood and accessible.
3. Having a PLAN
When you know where you want to be, you are able to establish a plan on HOW you are going to get there.
So, think about what processes you need to put in place that will lay out the stepping stones to your goal. Then create a statement that supports your plan.
To be able to keep moving towards this goal, brands create what is called a mission statement.
4. Proclaiming your true value
If someone asked you to explain what you do in less than eight words, what would you say? This is not just about the services or products you sell but mainly about the additional value your business brings.
When customers come to you, what are the buying into? Why do they choose you over someone else?
In order to answer these questions, you need to establish your brand values. In my blog post Your tone of voice: why it is VERY important and how to define it, I explain in detail the process you need to follow in order to define what makes you truly special and sets you apart from other businesses in your industry or trade.
Your values are the guiding principles of your brand. They turn your business into the only logical choice for your ideal clients.
To help you understand Little Red Writing a little bit more, I list our brand values below:
Flexibility: we expand by adapting to new trends and ways of thinking.
Passion: we inspire with words and inject love in everything we do.
Imagination: we influence with charming stories.
Playfulness: we bring magic and wit.
Generosity: we go the extra mile, we simply give.
Excellence: we are committed to deliver only the best, excite and delight with our work.
Curiosity: we pursue new learnings to broaden our skill and knowledge.
Integrity: we are upfront and transparent. We build friendships.
Collaboration: we invest in likeminded business relationships that enrich our offer.
5. Telling your story
Finally, you want to be able to tell your distinctive story. All the above points have no power unless you bring them together into your story. Your story adds humanity to your business, making it relevant and meaningful.
This is your nectar. The sweetness and deliciousness that makes your customers addictive to you.
Your story enables you to charm, enchant and engage with your audience.
Without it, all your communications will simply provide information. With it, they actually convey a real message. And it is this message which creates the emotional depth in your communications.
On 10th May, I will be giving a workshop to provide businesses with guidance on how to answer the above questions and help them establish their story. Don’t miss your spot! There are only 20 available. More details are available here.