Welcome to summer shorts – a series of short and snappy episodes, to give you actionable branding tips without taking up too much of your precious time in the sun – and in all honesty: so I can spend my summer break chillin’ rather than recording podcast episodes in random locations.
So: grab your chilled beverage of choice, whip out the sunglasses – and let’s get our shorts on!
One thing I see time and time again is that people have a tendency to over complicate things – especially if it’s something that’s unfamiliar to them or feels like it would be a lot of work. Brand strategy falls into that category for many; it sounds daunting – and that’s understandable. But I honestly believe it doesn’t have to be that complicated. Sure, you can make it complicated if you want to, but it’s a lot easier to start with baby steps. And before you know it, what once seemed daunting is suddenly second nature and you wonder why you put it off for so long.
So, since these are supposed to be short and actionable episodes; here are five questions to ask yourself to instantly improve your brand strategy:
1: Besides making a profit, why does my brand exist?
This is what I call your brand purpose, and it’s what will inform your brand’s vision and mission: what do you want to achieve, and how are you going to achieve it? Your brand purpose lies in the intersection of what the world needs, what you’re good at (and that you can make money doing), and what you’re passionate about. And your purpose absolutely does not have to be huge and daunting, it can be something small and personal too.
2: What core values and beliefs do I stand for, and how can I build these into my brand?
This one’s juicy, because it means you need to dig deep and be honest with yourself about your own truths. And then it requires you to be brave enough to go out and tell the world about those truths – which makes it tempting to stick with the “safe” options, because everyone likes vanilla, right? Best not to be too polarising, because we all want everyone to like us. But it’s really a case of “attract the best, repel the rest” (I’m not entirely sure who first coined that phrase, I’ve seen it floating around the internet from various sources, but it’s so true!) – and once you get this right, that’s when you get to experience that coveted “brand magnetism”, that’s when you’ll start to attract the clients who light you up and the customers who become loyal fans. Once you are clear about your values, have a think about how you can actually implement them in the day to day running of your business, turning values into actions. That’s some powerful shit, I promise you!
3: How do I want my brand to make people feel?
At the end of the day, branding is all about feelings. It’s about creating the emotional connection in people’s minds. So how do you want people to feel when they interact with or encounter your brand? Do you want them to feel safe? Angry? Provoked? Happy? How does this tie in with your values and your purpose?
4: If my brand was a person, what would they be like?
People like to buy from people. Humans are funny, we make sense of things by categorising them and we’re often drawn to things that feel familiar to us. We also have a tendency to want to assign human attributes to things. I mean, look at how many people name their electronics and devices. I’m no exception, our robot vacuum cleaner is called Dustin’ Beaver and our robot lawn mower is called Per (for context, the norwegian word for lawn mower is gressklipPER). We like to humanise things, and so it totally makes sense to humanise your brand too. So if your brand was a person, what would they be like? What personality traits would they have? Bubbly, calm, shy, bold, snarky, gentle, adventurous, reserved, provocative, fun, conservative…? A combination of several? I mean, there are as many options as there are brands out there – and none of them are right or wrong. What’s right for one brand is probably not right for your brand.
5: Who are the people I want to attract, and why?
This is an important question to ask yourself, because it will inform everything from what products or services to offer to how and where you communicate. It’s a bit of a chicken or egg situation too – do you decide who to serve first, and then create your products/services… or do you create your product and service first and then decide who the best fit client is? I’ve touched on this before, back in episode 11, but basically you can choose to start by defining your ideal client and then creating a brand personality to suit (something which is more common with larger businesses) or you can let your brand personality lead the way when you define your ideal client (this is a very good approach for personal brands and smaller businesses). What I will say though, and this is from personal experience, is that ultimately you want to make sure you attract the people you enjoy working with. The people who just “get” you and what your brand is all about. Because if you don’t really like working with someone, that is going to shine through in the way you show up for them – and ultimately in how they feel when they work with you. Which, as you can probably guess, again has an impact on your reputation. So choose your people wisely.
I know that some of these questions are hard. I’m not suggesting you sit down and work through them all right now – but allow them to simmer in your mind. The more you think about them, the more your brand core will start to emerge, and as that core emerges, the clearer your brand’s future path will become.
- Besides making a profit, why does my brand exist?
- What core values and beliefs do I stand for, and how can I build these into my brand?
- How do I want my brand to make people feel?
- If my brand was a person, what would they be like?
- Who are the people I want to attract, and why?
I hope you’ve found this useful, and I’d love to hear what these questions have sparked for you – so either go find me on Instagram, my all time fave place to hang out online, slide into my DMs, share in a story and tag me, send me an email or a carrier pigeon or… I dunno.
And if you feel like you could use some help digging even deeper into these questions or other fundamental pieces of your brand strategy – I do offer 60-minute Brand it! Strategy sessions where you get to use me as your strategic sparring partner, and then afterwards you get a recording of our call + an email summary with 3-5 action steps to work on. I also offer VIP days if you really wanna go all in.
Until next time,
Pssst! If you enjoyed this episode, don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss the next one! I’d also be super grateful if you’d share my podcast with a biz friend or two, or leave me a review