Special BRANDING AUDIT SERIES — Part 1 of 3
A lot of businesses don’t completely understand the basics of marketing and branding. In one of my previous businesses, I saw firsthand what bad marketing and poor branding looked like. It came in the form of unpolished printing material, unfair services with high prices that brought less than desirable value to my business. That was when I decided to make a change. For my personal brand, it’s important that I spread the word about branding from the years of experience under my belt. Read on to better understand the basic elements of branding as orignally compiled from Life Improvement Media:
What Are The Basic Elements Of Branding?
So many pieces of marketing can be outsourced, delegated or automated. Automation only works if the parts of your business that are being automated are in sync with one another. Think of it like an assembly line. One action or part triggers the next upon completion, which triggers the next, and so on. As a media production and marketing company, we are quick to see people struggling because they either don’t understand their true audience or aren’t managing their time properly. These are common problems whether you’re just starting out or transitioning as you scale your business. Even businesses and entrepreneurs who choose to re-brand themselves could benefit from this blog. But first, the foundation must be solid for it to run on its own. We believe automation can be put into place once three big pieces of your branding are completed. The first big piece is the branding itself.
Elements of your brand are what the public sees first. What type of person, company or brand do you want to convey to the world? How do you want to be seen? Remembered? What do you want to be associated with? All these questions play a role in your branding. We believe the BRAND ESSENTIALS—the 8 elements you need to establish your brand—are all connected. Let’s break them down in order:
Your mission statement is the core statement between you and your market. Often, it’s a challenge to create a statement that is short, clear, concise and understandable. How would you answer the following: What are you doing today to take you to where you want to go tomorrow?
The vision statement is similar to the mission statement with one major difference. The vision statement is more geared towards your internal employees or your staff. If you’re an entrepreneur or solopreneur, it focuses on you. How will you inspire, motivate and stimulate creativity within your organization / yourself?
This is a big one and it will change over time. Not every big brand’s logo has changed. Compare google’s logo to coca-cola’s logo over the last 20 years. Logos can be too busy and overwhelm people. At the same time, they can be too simple and not convey the proper message. What illustration best visually represents your business?
Color is just as important to your branding as the logo is. Of course, the logo will take on parts of your color scheme and both are tied together. Have a look below at the color wheel. Every color reflects an emotion and this is just a guide. Compare these to a traffic light. Red means stop. Yellow means caution. Green means go. In selling your product or service, is red (STOP!) the right choice? Red is exciting, red brings out energy, but is red the right choice? Orange is the color of risk as well as confidence. Blue is a calming color, that also stands for strength. Choose your colors wisely! | Photo Credit: Visme
Culture within an organization often overlooked as the most critical element. Although it’s more prominent in large organizations, it’s a very important branding essential. How the total summation of your branding represents you and your company really matters to everyone tied to your company. Culture is something that is obvious–a company either has it or it doesn’t. Its presence is revealed in the personalities, behaviors and attitudes of the employees who spend, on average, 40 hours of their week surrounded by it.
Your current clients and future prospects make up your audience. More specifically, the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How behind consumer behavior and expectations plays a role in your audience development. How targeted is your audience demographic? Is it married women between the ages of 30-55, most of whom are stay-at-home moms? Or is it younger millennials between 14 and 24 who favor public transportation and riding bicycles to and from work? Each characteristic further hones in on your perfect customer…nail it!
The 7th brand essential is a combination of the first 6 essentials. It’s one more way your logo, color scheme, culture, inspiration and creativity will be displayed to the world. It’s okay to refine and change as you grow. But for that first reveal, make sure every piece is tight. All print and digital representations of you and your business translate to being your customer’s first impression of you AND your business. Make it count!
The final branding essential is planning–defining and reverse engineering your goals. Plan forwards and plan backwards. We mean plan ahead for the future and backtrack your goals from the future to today. Another term for this is “reverse engineering.” Align your goals and work backwards to create the necessary steps for you to achieve your goals.
I’ve borrowed section one of the brand audit worksheet from Life Improvement Media to offer to my personal entrepreneurial readers and solopreneurs. Click below to receive a PDF version that walks you through the basic elements of branding.