When was the last time you thought about Branding?

No matter how small your business, it is important to think about branding. Whether or not you set out to brand your business, people will set an impression about your business based on your business name, your logo, and every touch-point they have with your business from parking to your storefront / streetscape to interactions with staff to the cleanliness of your restroom to the way you answer the phone. Every interaction, whether passive or active, creates an impression and that impression goes toward creating and reinforcing your brand.

Your brand is what immediately comes to mind when someone sees, hears, thinks of your business name or logo.

Your brand is your business story.

Your brand is your business personality.

Your brand should be an authentic reflection of who your business is and what your business values.

Your brand should clearly express what your business does and why.

Your brand should be expressed through every point of interaction a person has with your business including: signage, website, blog, personal interactions, ads, business cards, conference materials, speeches, etc.

Your brand should be consistent in message and in look, e.g. fonts, colors, structure, logo, writing style, etc.

IF you haven’t thought about branding, ask yourself these questions:

About your business

Who is (business name)?

What does your business do?

What are your products and services?

What is the marketplace?

Where do you fit in the marketplace?

What makes you unique? What attributes distinguish your business from others in the marketplace?

Why does your business exist?

What is your business personality? What personality traits describe your business?

What is your voice? Who is talking? What / who is the voice of your business?

About your competition

Who is your competition?

What do they do?

Why are they successful?

What are their products and services?

Regarding products and services, what do they do well?

Regarding products and services, what can you / do you do better than them?

Regarding marketing, what do they do well?

Regarding marketing, what can you / do you do better than them?

Describe how your products and services are unique. What is your differentiator? If your product is not unique what is unique?

About your customers

Who are your customers?

What relationships do you already have?

What relationships do you want to build?

What evidence do you have that customers are interested in what you are offering?

What is important to your customers?

Who is your business talking to? Who do you want to talk to? Who do you want to reach?

What kind of communication streams do they like?

What do you want to tell / say to your customers?

Why should they choose you / pay attention to you?

How do you want them to respond? What do you want them to do? What is your call to action?

What should your customers be doing that they are not doing now?

What do they think they need?

What do you think they need?

How do they see your business? What is your place in their mind?

What do they think of when they think of you?

What is the ultimate benefit you provide to your customers? What is your promise to them?

Now that you have answered all of these questions…

What are all the words that capture your business, distinguish it from the competition, and show your customers are happy?

Can you reduce all those words to one sentence?

Congratulations! You have drafted a Positioning Statement.

It expresses who you are, what you do, who your customers are and why they choose you. You are on your way to developing your brand.