Some people think a brand is a logo. Some people think it’s a logo, colours and fonts. That’s not entirely accurate, but they are part of a brand. The truth is that a brand is an all encompassing message that includes logos, fonts, colours AND a whole lot more.
There’s a saying that your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. This is the most accurate description of a brand that I’ve ever heard.
So how do we influence what people say about us when we aren’t in the room? How do we get people to say what we want them to say about us? How can we choose what other people think about our brand?
Here are five ways you can influence what stories are told about your brand.
Know your who and why.
Why did you go into business? What motivates you in your day to day brand?
When I talk about other brands I usually include the why and who in that brand message. I get this information from my interactions with those brands directly. In my experiences I have learned who and why they do what they do. And that brand message is shared when I talk about them to others.
If those brands aren’t consciously crafting that message then I would be speaking purely from experience. In other words, that message is conveyed in all of your interactions with your clients and other businesses that you come into contact with. If you haven’t set clear intentions your who and why can get muddled and the wrong message will come across. Is that what you want? Or do you want to be in control.
2. Know your core values.
Knowing your core values is the next step in crafting your brand message. Are you all about fun and playfulness? Is it important for people to know that you are honest and a person of integrity?
If you haven’t established your own personal core values and the core values of your brand, now is the time to do it.
What do you stand for? Who do you help and why?
This is another thing that your clients and people you interact with will absolutely assume from your body language, your choice of language (both in person and on paper/online) and your attitude. If you haven’t sat down and thought about your behaviors then this message could be confusing.
Consistency is so important across all brand behaviors and if you don’t set intentions then there could be different versions of you floating around out there making people confused.
3. Know Your Story.
You brand and your life have a story (hot tip: they are usually intertwined). Those stories form part of your personal brand and are shared by you and your audience.
You need to take control of those stories and use them to get across your brand message of who you help, how you do it and why.
A great example of a brand story is the fabulous Emma Menyweather of Little Pig Consulting in Toowoomba. An industry leader and passionate woman in business – her brand is evident in every interaction you have with her.
Her brand is no-nonsense, colourful, fun, honest and serious. Her no BS approach and her flair for all things visual makes her a stand-out in graphics, websites, marketing and brand awareness.
You can always expect Emma to turn up on time, with a flawless appearance and usually dressed in something bright (and most likely with a pop of hot pink).
These are all parts of her brand and recognisable to the larger business community in the Toowoomba region.
This personal brand story keeps her ahead of her competitors because she is consistent and constantly building visibility, credibility and ultimately profitability.
4. Your Lifestyle becomes your personal brand and your personal brand becomes your lifestyle.
You will live your personal brand in your day to day activities – working or otherwise – and it becomes the opinions that people form of you.
How you dress. How you speak. The colours you surround yourself with. The colours you wear. The way you turn up.
This entire collection of behaviors is a big part of how other people will perceive your brand.
5. Finally, your logo, colours, fonts and visual identity.
And finally the visual identity that you choose for your brand. This is truly the final piece of a large puzzle and if you don’t nail the rest, having the best visual identity can’t save you.
Once you have nailed your Who and Why, your Core Values, your Brand Story and your Brand Lifestyle: a brilliant visual brand is essential.
Your core values will determine the general tone of your visual brand. If you are a serious and mature brand then playful childish fonts and colours obviously will not work. Just as a playful and childish brand should not be branded with black and grey and mature fonts.
Once again Little Pig Consulting with their playful and fun brand and have nailed their visual identity – just check out their Facebook presence – and their core values are evident in every single post, the language and the visuals.
So to recap you must define and establish your brand before others do it for you and this starts with knowing the following:
1. Your who and why.
2. Your core values.
3. Your brand story.
4. Your lifestyle.
5. Your visual brand identity/aesthetic.
Once you’ve defined and established the above you must live your brand consistently and passionately so that those around you can tell your brand story exactly how you want them to.