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What’s Your Brand Made Of?

When I first started On Target Digital Marketing, I had no idea who we were.  We fumbled around a bit, we dabbled in many things, we strayed, we goofed, we faltered.  But over time and through many hard learned lessons, we figured out just who we are and who we wanted to be when we grew up.

Brands often come to us wanting to redesign their website.  They’ve spent hours and hours researching what they want in a new design.  They’ve looked at a million competitors, they’ll hand us a list of 30.  We like this, and we like this, we don’t like this, but we want to look like this. This IS problematic.  When you don’t know who you are and what your essence is, you can’t be unique and you certainly can’t show website visitors why you are the brand for them.

Before you design that website, before you post that tweet or Facebook post, before you design that modern time logo, spend some time figuring out just what your brand is made out of. Make a list, write your story, write your personality, write your mission statement and vision for the future.  Next, share your vision with your team. Bring them into the process, enable them to elaborate, enable them to help you tell the world just who you are and what you stand for.

A few starter questions to help get you going:

– What’s the personality of your brand?
Are you fun? Goofy? Trendy? Inquisitive?

– What does the culture of your brand look like?
Does your team compete in underwater basket weaving with another competitor daily or does your team sharpen their pencils and get down to business?

– Are you charitable?
Some brands engage in charitable activities such as Habitat for Humanity, while some raise funds or participate in charity walks.

– How do you differentiate?
Do you deliver quicker than anyone? Does your product simply work better? Is your service top notch? HOW will you win prospects over?

– What do you care about?
Some brands just want to have fun.  Some just want to please the client all day long.  Some are passionate about customer service, others take pride in irritating clients on a daily basis.

– Where will your brand be in 2,5,10 years?
Visioning is critical. Know where you are going by mapping it out and again, sharing it with your team.

– Where will prospects find you?
It’s not just your website anymore.  It’s not just Twitter.  Your prospects live and breath digitally in many different online venues.  You need to know where they are hanging out so that you can tailor your message, look and feel for those venues and that audience.

– How will prospects remember you?
As morbid as it may be, ask yourself, if your brand got hit by a bus, how would your clients / prospects / website visitors remember your brand? Nail this one and it will be smooth sailing when it comes to designing your digital footprint.

One of the most important things I’ve learned about building a business and a brand is this: ALWAYS be true to yourself.  Straying, be someone else, stealing from other brands will NEVER be a recipe for success.

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