Social media marketing is fun. I meet so many business owners and individuals who want to dive straight into setting up their Instagram account, connecting with their audiences on Twitter, and filming that video for YouTube that’s bound to go viral. But before you can start creating a fun and strategic social media marketing plan, you’ve got to have a real handle on your business.
Who are you? What do you offer? Who do you serve? What’s your message? Getting that message across – now, that’s the part where social media marketing comes in. But first, we need to take a step back and answer these other questions to discover your brand. Welcome to How to Create a Brand, starting with Chapter One: Find Yourself.
Hey Haley, What’s a Brand?
Well, let’s start with things that aren’t brands.
- A brand is not a mark you put on cattle to let everyone know that cow is yours. Well … I mean, it is a brand, but not the kind relevant for our current conversation.
- A brand is not a business. Just because you have a business doesn’t mean you have a brand.
- A brand is not a logo or a cute slogan. These things are part of a brand, but there’s plenty more that’s involved in putting together a brand.
Brand is a difficult word to unpack. It used to mean a specific product, like a particular brand of soda (or space weapon, for our story’s sake). Now, a brand amounts to the way a business distinguishes itself from its competitors. A brand combines your personal story, your personality, your mission, and vision, as well as brand assets – like your logo, color scheme, and imagery.
To start working on your brand, you need to unpack this question: who are you? A big question, I know. Maybe, it’ll be helpful to ask a series of sub-questions:
What is Your Brand Story?
Your brand story is all about adding history to your business. While not always necessary for marketing materials, it’s important to have a solid brand story for internal and external use. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help craft your brand story:
- How did this business come to be?
- Who are the founders and what in their background led them to start this business?
- What problem did the founders think they could solve with their product/service?
- What were some of the obstacles that got in the way of bringing the business to fruition?
- What in this business’ background makes it different from competitors?
What is Your Brand Personality?
After a little research on various personality traits, select 3 words to summarize the personality of your business. Is your business relaxed or stern? Is your business young or established? Is your business playful or highly organized? Do some digging and get to know your business the same way you get to know a new friend. These words will be vital in helping you build a brand. A brand personality gives you the direction you need to design a logo, write engaging, relevant, and authentic copy for website and marketing materials, and guide how your brand will interact with potential customers in the future!
What are Your Brand Values?
Moving forward, what does your business value? These values should tie in directly to your business’ product or service, whether it deals with the environment, customer service, artistry, and more. Understanding brand values give you a more concrete direction for understanding who your product serves and how you can reach these audiences. By understanding your brand values, you’re setting an expectation for how you produce your product and what your customers can expect when they engage with your business.
What is Your Brand Mission?
Your brand mission is a quick, elevator-pitch way to describe your business’s mission. Crafting a brand mission statement is an easy and necessary step to forming a brand. It tells you A) what the business is and B) who the business is for. While this may seem trite and obvious, it helps you stay on the right path and not get distracted by potential business ventures or marketing campaigns that stray from the main mission of the business. This brand mission can be tweaked when you need to speak to potential customers, current customers, investors, and stakeholders. But at heart, it’s the same mission.
What is Your Brand Vision?
As important as it is to understand your business’ current purpose, a brand vision helps you identify where you want your business to go. This helps you outline future business and marketing goals for your brand, driven by one clear statement. A brand vision can be as outrageous and ambitious as you like – as long as there are actionable goals you can take now towards that brand vision. Not only does the brand vision give you a set of goals to reach for, it also keeps the brand alive, moving, and progressing.
Now that you have a handle on who you are, it’s time to take the next step – identifying your audience.