Ok, real talk: If you haven’t got these three things, you haven’t got a brand
Let’s talk a bit about building a brand. To some, that means little more than a cracking logo or website, but there’s a little more to it than that. Done properly, your brand can become a business asset, increasingly the value of your business if you get it right, just as it can decrease its value if you get it wrong (by 5-10% – we’re talking big numbers here guys.
People (and investors, for that matter) don’t buy into a business, they buy into a brand and the values behind it. Here are three things you need to create yours, derived exclusively from the methodology of Helm’s main man himself.
Every brand has a story and you can’t even think about fancy stuff like logos, websites, marketing and selling your shiz on social media until you know yours.
What’s your story? What’s the philosophy behind your brand? What do you stand for and what are you whole-heartedly, fight-to-the-death against? What are your values and how does your business story sit with that? Who do you want to attract and who just aren’t, and never will be your people? What do you want your people (that’s your customers, employees and, anyone associated with the business) to feel?
Your philosophy is your why. Get it right – and stick to it like a Trojan – and the rest kind of falls into place.
Next up is identity but there’s more to this than a swish website and logo, so hear us out before you put your hand in your pocket for either!
Like it or lump it, you can’t force the identity of your brand. What you can do is create an experience that allows people to build an impression of a brand that aligns with your philosophy. This experience is broken down into senses – the way you look, feel, sound, smell and taste – and, ultimately, is all about the way these things reaffirm your philosophy.
If you’re a luxury brand, does your website and social media portray that? Does your boutique look sophisticated and smell like the best fragranced candle money can buy to convey the luxury experience? If your philosophy is based around sustainability and local produce, are the ingredients your café uses purchased accordingly or have your values been sacrificed in favour of budget? Is your logo and website design consistent with your brand and does it make people feel the way you want your brand to make them feel?
Nail your brand philosophy and identity, and the next bit will take care of itself…
We live in the age of the influencer but there’s more to being a brand ambassador than selling stuff on Instagram. Ambassadors of your brand will take two forms – customers and those who influence people to become customers. The former speaks for itself – you’re aiming to make every customer so happy that they become an ambassador. The latter, the influencers, are a little less clear cut. See, you’re not looking for an influencer to endorse your product, you’re looking for them to endorse your brand, preferably without payment. They love what you do and what you stand for. They’re trustworthy and people value their opinion, so when they say they love your brand, people believe them and take it as a seal of approval. And so an ambassador is born.
Now, take all of the above and add a shed-load of hard work, the odd late night and enough coffee to sink a ship, and you’ve got yourself a brand.