Your business is not defined by a category, but by your mission and your emotional objective. That’s a big part of understanding the process of branding.
With that in mind, here are five brand-building questions, inspired by Mitch Baranowski and his 5 Tips on Branding For Good From Successful Social Entrepreneurs.
What’s My Connection?
It’s common for brand consultants to advise you to ‘own a word,’ like “exciting,” “purpose,” or “style.” I prefer to ask: “What’s your connection?”
What role does your relationship with customers play in their lives? A brand is a relationship between customers and a business. What’s your emotional connection to customers? Build your brand around that.
What Are My Customers’ Aspirations?
People make purchases to actualize aspirations. When they buy from you, it is to fulfill a desire based on the self image they want to project. People buy a particular home because it’s one that fills their aspirations, not because it’s functional. Some guys go to a craft brew pub because they aspire a certain self image of knowledge and taste for the finer things.
What aspiration do you help your customers reach?
How Can I Hack My Brand’s Archetype?
Archetypes get copied and repeated. Perhaps your business is copying the typical industry archetype. The question is: How can you be atypical?
The razor blade industry is all about technology and performance. But Dollar Shave Club hacked that archetype and made it about attitude. Then they changed the distribution model. Lyft and Uber hacked the taxi cab archetype. If you want your business to get attention, you must contrast yourself from your industry and do something unexpected.
How do I Frame My Brand?
When businesses get disjointed and struggle for identity, it’s because they lack a frame to organize all their brand elements.
Creating a brand frame allows you to stay focused on your purpose and deliver a cohesive brand experience to customers. Brand frames can also give your business a personality and stimulate new ideas. For example, one real estate company I know framed their brand experience as a sporting event. For more, check out The Brand Experience Frame Makes All the Difference
How Should I Build My Brand?
Build it from the inside-out – always.
It is a typical business-building approach to look for holes in marketplace and then try to fill them. This is outside-in thinking and there is a big problem with this approach. There are no holes in the market. As Tom Asacker, author of The Business of Belief says
We are bursting at the seams with everything you can think of… There is too much of everything….
If you don’t have a vision of how people will experience your brand, and instead you think you’re going to make this thing and sell a whole bunch of it…”you’re in trouble.”
Start with your unique vision and your purpose. That’s your passion and it’s sustainable. Then, take your passion and decide how it can help your customers fill their desires.
Check out these other brand-building resources: