Define Your Brand

Yesterday we discussed how marketing and business are one and the same. Marketing is not something you do to get more business, it is a natural extension of how you do business. This week I’ll feature a series of articles that will help you align your marketing with your business, focusing on the brand.

The intersection of marketing and business is your brand. Defining your brand makes you a better business and simultaneously lays the foundation for your marketing plan.  Let’s work on your definition.
For reference, see: What is a Brand?


Defining Your Brand

1. Role

What role will your business play in people’s lives? It’s important for you to visualize how you fit in the picture. Think it terms of function, benefits, and importance. How will people use you, what benefit will the get from using you, and what level of importance do they place on that benefit?

2. Promise

Your brand promise is the foundation of your business. What do you promise to deliver to customers beyond the product or service you happen to sell? They key here is to move away from your product offerings. Also, avoid clichés and abstractions like quality, honesty and great service.

Example: Missy Bice Balusek, a Waco, Texas interior designer promises to “Transform your home into a reflection of your nostalgic values.”

3. Personality

Just like people, brands have personalities.  A business with a personality is more memorable and personal.  Customers are more likely to form a relationship with brand that has personality. Identify your brand’s dominant personality trait and operate your business with that personality. Start with your own personality traits and then choose one that you apply to your business.

Example: The owner of the design firm above has identified her brand personality as “Sentimental”

4. Visual

Vision is our most powerful sense. Your business needs a strong visual stepping stone that ushers your brand from concept to reality. The most prominent visual representation of your brand is your logo, but it doesn’t stop there. Also key are the dominant colors you choose for your business and how you contrast your visual representation from your competition.

Keep in mind that a logo is not your brand, it is a visual representation of your business.

But your logo does serve as a memory hook. Define your brand with professionally designed logo that;

  • Is comprised of colors that fit the emotions you want to elicit from customers
  • Includes your brand’s personality
  • Is contrasted from your competition and the rest of your industry.

See: How to get a good logo without spending too much money.

5. Experience Frame

A brand is not a brand, and a business is not a business, until customers experience it. You have to define and flavor the customers experience for it to be memorable. When you do, you inspire customer loyalty and spark word of mouth.

The best way to do that is to frame your customer experience with a metaphor. I’ve seen businesses use these metaphors to frame their experience: College campus, nesting, nature retreat, junior college, a revolution, sporting event, man cave. Choose a metaphor that will serve as the frame for the experience people have with your business.

What metaphor frames and defines your customer experience?
Also see: The Brand Experience Frame Makes All the Difference

6. Vocabulary

Having your own brand vocabulary sets you apart from competitors in a crowded field. This is especially important for service businesses and businesses that sell commodity products.

Your unique brand vocabulary contrasts you from other businesses and makes you more memorable. You also create your own brand culture by changing your customers’ vocabulary. Starbucks did this when they changed our vocabulary from small, medium and large to tall, grande, and venti.

To define your brand vocabulary, create unique terms for your products, processes, and the expressions you use in conversation with customers.

I’ll have more on brand vocabulary later this week.

Your Definition

You owe it to your business to define your brand. Consider the list above and carefully think through the qualities of your brand. As you do, you will find that you’re not just defining your brand, you’re defining your business. Does your brand have definition?

Next Up: Taglines and Brand Communication

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