Branding is fundamental to a successful business. Branding is basic. Branding is essential. Branding is indispensable. Branding is crucial. Branding is vital. Is it clear? One more time… Branding is IMPORTANT!

Creating a new vibrant brand (or refreshing it) is a challenge that requires a sophisticated strategy and what not everybody knows is that branding is an ongoing activity. So even if you think that your branding is on par with Apple, Porsche, AirBnB, or Über and you don’t need to do anything else… we challenge you to think twice!

This is our secret (please don’t tell): every time we have a client that needs a new branding (or re-branding), we get together and work on a Brandstorm (Brand + Brainstorm) that includes some exercises to help recognize who exactly the brand is, and if they are up to date with their clients’ needs and challenges.

Only for today, because we are in a good mood (or is it because we’ve just had half a packet of M&M’s and feeling frisky?) we are going to share with you 3 of the exercises we use to build value for a brand.

Exercise #1: Client Avatar 

If your client feels like you are answering the issues he faces and speaking his language, he will be more likely to buy from you.

Branding is the box your customer puts you in when they are thinking about buying what you are selling. This is the biggest reason you need to have a firm and solid brand — so that when your customer is thinking about buying what you’re selling YOUR company name is the first to pop up in their mind.

To understand what your clients may be thinking, you first need to know who they are and what are their problems. In this first exercise you need to write everything you know about your Client and create a Broccoli Avatar:

Now that you know your client better, you can continue with this exercise by writing down what your clients need, and what you provide them. Remember, people choose you because of who you ARE and not what you DO, as in most cases it’s assumed you’re good at what you do, and people like to work with people they like. Now’s your chance to select you’re “A” clients with clearly defined solutions to their problems.

These Avatar exercises will help to realise if what you are offering is in line with what they want to receive, and if is not like that, it’s time to work on your offer! (or maybe you need another audience)

Exercise #2: Brand Personality Spectrum

Can you imagine seeing an image for Virgin Airlines of a black and white businessperson in a suit? No, because their branding is about vibrancy, youth, and dynamics. Putting perspective on where you sit will allow you to check all images, text, and marketing messages to be sure they’re on brand.

Defining brand personality attributes means you can apply them consistently in your verbal and visual communication. A clear vision of your brand personality will guide your choice of colours, typography, word and actions.

So the exercise goes like this:

Add a dot to each spectrum where you feel the company sits.

And this is how you read the results:

LEFT:
Your company is contemporary, fast-moving and energetic. You like to make ideas happen quickly, and you don’t mind taking risks. Your communication style is friendly and approachable.

RIGHT:
Your company is traditional, relies on solid planning and established ways of getting things done. You might be trying to appeal to upscale clientele, and your communication style is corporate and professional.

MIDDLE: We urge you to take a stand about how you’d like your brand personality to be perceived. When it comes to marketing your business, the middle is the worst place to be. You’re guaranteeing that your brand will be entirely forgettable, because it’s not one thing or the other. The middle is Boringville. Avoid it at all costs.

ALL OVER:
If your dots are all over the place, with some on the left, and some on the right, you have a unique brand that doesn’t fit easily into a box. That’s fine! Feel free to mix and match traits from the list above. You might use traditional fonts and colours, with a very an approachable copywriting style, for example.

Exercise #3: Market Opposition

What are your competitors doing? Finding out what industry leaders are doing will help you look to the future, and do it even better!

At this stage, you know your client and you know yourself, now you need to know the market. Who is out there offering the same product/service? And how you can differentiate from them?

In this exercise, you need to list your USP (unique selling points). But wait, what are those? To understand it, let’s say you are a broccoli at the market, you will need to answer these questions: why should people choose you? What do you have different from the other broccolis? What are the other broccolis offering?

With these 3 exercises completed you are equipped to sketch the last (but not least) step to get your branding done: define your brand message and visuals. The results of the exercises will inspire you to define from the language and tone of voice, to the symbols, graphics and colour palette. Soon we will post more about this last step. So keep in touch.

Although it seems easy to do, when you are facing the white paper and not even a word appears to your mind, you just want to cry! But don’t worry; we are here for you. You can either visit our Branding section to get some inspiration or, if you are becoming a bit desperate, you can also show up… our doors are always open!

You can also come and hear me talk at The Consultants’ Community upcoming event. It is at 7am on Tuesday 13th March at Hemingway’s in Manly.

Get your tickets here:

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