There is a reason that Magnetizing Brand is the pivot of the 7 Clarities – it is the link between the internal strategy work and building your products and model, which takes your work to the world.
Your brand forms the bridge between you and your prospects and clients. Build a generous, inviting bridge that effortlessly brings people across the divide.
So why do the work to build a magnetizing brand?
A great Brand is the foundation of your business. You layer on value with your content and offers.
Imagine you’ve made a new friend at work, and they’ve invited you over for a BBQ. You find the address easily (you’ve been given great directions) and park in front of a charming home with a newly swept front path. The path leads to a lovely front porch with flowering plants and wicker chairs.
The door swings open and inside you’re met by friendly faces and outstretched hands in a light and airy hallway. Once inside there are beautiful personal touches and a real sense of style. You get such a good feeling about the people who have created this space, their character, their attention to detail, even their quirks. You feel welcome and at home.
Now, what are the chances you are going to be interested in building a friendship with these people?
I want to help you have a brand like this. That positions you effortlessly to initiate a fantastic relationship with your audience.
Not cookie cutter, not sound alike. An authentic, resonant brand that will make you burst with pride.
OK, so why bother with branding? We all know it’s content, products and funnels that make money right?
True …. but people’s attention is sparse and decreasing, you need absolute clarity and a passionate delivery to get noticed.
How does life look and feel with a hard working brand?
You have Clarity – a tantalising statement for who you are, what you do, why you care, the results you deliver and how their lives will transform. A brand strategy that underpins how you look, speak and engage, your values and culture.
You’ll Cut Through – a brand that gets noticed. A brand that operates effortlessly (magnetically even) attract your ideal client.
You’ll facilitate Connection – they may not even know why, but they will feel understood at a deep level. This is empathy marketing, where the relationship forms, grows and deepens via mutual respect.
You’ll be Consistent – it’s not sexy, but it’s critical. With a great brand strategy and your guidelines your brand will be flawlessly recalled and utterly dependable.
You’ll make Confident brand decisions – feeling secure that today’s decisions won’t come back to bite you down the track. Future proof
You’ll provide Contrast – you’ll be able to differentiate yourself – what ever it is that makes you the better choice can be explicitly stated in your value proposition or implicit in your insightful content, design, voice or style.
It’s your Clue to Quality – Building perceptions of quality will underpin a higher price. Branding and design are the reference points used to judge where you sit on a brand scale from cheap to premium. A well designed brand with premium cues will attract better paying customers, because design is the strongest signifier of quality and credibility.
A clear, appealing brand is the key to attracting and engaging ideal customers. It communicates your value at many levels and in numerous ways.
Are you ready to roll up sleeves and review your brand strategy? Let’s start with some branding basics:
Introduction to Branding
You have a brand and you are a brand, whether you know it or not. If you don’t direct it you have an accidental brand (or brands), which are still communicating as much as a purposeful brand.
You must take the wheel and set your course. If you are not going about this purposefully, you could be making decisions and taking actions that have unintended consequences, now and into the future.
And what about the lost opportunities from ideal clients sailing right by – because nothing makes them stop or look. Please do the work.
Get Your Foundations in Place
I enjoy cooking, I find it creative and relaxing, plus I love good food. But I’m not nearly as good at it as I’d like to be, and that is because I never had the opportunity to learn it properly. I lack the foundational food knowledge that chefs learn, like creating flavour bases and what ingredients enhance each other. I only know a few cooking techniques and don’t make the best use of my great quality kitchenware.
I’ve decided my next birthday present to myself will be lessons with a personal chef to teach me cooking fundamentals. I want to learn the basics from an expert so I’m not picking up information in an ad hoc way.
I see brand strategy as similarly fundamental and basic to your business. It is a complete discipline that most people are (through not fault of theirs) approaching in an ad hoc way.
I’m not saying that Brand is the holy grail – your brand is one aspect of your business and one of many things that contribute to success. I would say however, that the reverse is true, enduring, fulfilling success is unlikely without an appealing brand. (I like to say a business can only ever be as good as it’s brand allows).
A one time investment in Branding knowledge can be applied to just your current brand or to any subsequent brand you are associated with (and, of course, your client’s brands).
But please don’t get paralysed fiddling with your brand or let this work slow you down by weeks and months. But do give this one afternoon.
Branding is about 2 things: Positioning and Connection
The goal of branding activity is to shape the perceptions created in the mind of prospects and clients, so the message they receive is the one you intended to send. (This is positioning)
The role positioning plays in our everyday lives is invaluable, it shortcuts our decisions in a complex environment. It prevents us having to “re-decide” hundreds of times a day and it filters out noise.
What Is Your Brand?
Your brand is the encapsulation of your audience’s perception of, and experience with, your business (and you).
Note the word perception, this is all about what information is received, so our principle job is to SEND that information as clearly and consistently as we can to create the connection we want to make.
So back to the fundamentals of branding.
There is as much art as science in branding. Branding concepts live in the world of ideas and much of your effort will be intangible and hard to measure.
Brands are a blend of heart and mind – or emotion and logic if you like – so just for a brief time put measurable outcomes to one side and have faith that there will be great benefits of having a compelling brand.
In summary, branding is not about copying tactics that work for other people. It starts from the inside and works it way out. It’s personal, it’s holistic and if you want anyone to recognise your value, it is the foundational piece.
BRAND is the sum total of how someone perceives you. That includes who they think you are, what they think you do, how well they think you do it, whether you are “for them” and have a solution they want.
BRANDING is the process of deliberately shaping that perception to create a connection.
A strong brand is reinforced through all touch points. These include social media, written and spoken messages, product delivery, packaging, livery, on boarding, issue resolution, staff demeanour, communication and selling messages.
And most importantly your Brand is operates first and foremost internally, to influence the ethics and culture of your business as it does externally.
A brand is your reputation in action, and in business, as in life, reputation is everything.
Managing a Brand
Brands comprise tangible, experiential and emotional elements.
Tangible and experiential combine to form your unique properties.
Experiential and emotional combine to bond people to a brand with storytelling and heritage. They form the stick factor and the “glue”.
Tangible properties include the visual brand identity such as typography, logo, colour palette, graphics, shapes, tagline, packaging and your overall signature style.
Experiential is an area of branding that is increasingly gaining focus, this brings in the senses and memory to create a relationship via an immersion or experience
Experiences are delivered by activating the sense elements. These are taste, sound, feel and smell. Take smell for example, coffee brands, scent brands, many food brands work hard to activate your sense of smell, as it is so powerful for recognition and memory.
Sounds, actions (the Toyota leap) slogans and jingles, mnemonics (2 all beef patties). Secrets and memories. The feeling of things is also exploited, the softness of puppies, kittens and duckling sell tissues and toilet paper (advertised in the 1930’s as being “splinter free). Other kinaesthetic elements often used are smoothness, relaxation, comfort, coolness and warmth.
Let’s look at a brand that is a master of its properties, both tangible and experiential – KFC
Starting with the tangible, KFC is rich in properties. The red and white colours, (often shown as stripes) the shape of the bucket and even the stores have a distinctive design. The animated Colonel is used all over the world in slightly different versions. In our ageist society, the Colonel is a distinctive figurehead as he is clearly an older man, (in fact Harland Sanders was nearing 70 when Kentucky Fried Chicken became a hit – who said business was for the young?)
Obviously they are an incredibly strong and consistent brand with their visual properties, but I believe they are the absolute masters of the experiential and sensory elements. They make great use the distinctive aroma from the secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices. (The secret recipe is, of course, another of their brand properties).
There are also actions or sensations that you can associate with your brand – KFC uses the concept of finger lickin’ good
Emotion, the third layer of brand building is perhaps the most difficult to execute, though it is also the piece that can create the largest point of difference
It is all about how your brand makes your customers FEEL and creating an emotional connection with the audience. For many decades this has been the strong hold of TV advertising (which, make no mistake, it still is), but you tube and social media has also allowed for the rise of brand storytelling.
The best of this genre is this fantastic short film about a son who surprised his father by buying back his beloved Chevy Impala that he had sold years ago. Phenomenal, memorable, personal, universal and emotional. Brilliant brand associations for Chevy too.
Big brands understand the art of emotional connection, think about Huggies, one of the only premium priced products that leads its category and its consistent message about mother love. Think about BMW with its many years focussed on performance and exhilaration with Sheer Driving Pleasure. They touch on emotional hot buttons.
Incidentally big brands are advertising on TV more than ever despite the promises offered by the rise of digital and social media, because they have found that their brands don’t grow without mass media support.
Building Emotional Connection
This is the area where personable brands have a great advantage. That is because by inserting ourselves into our brands we show our empathy. We can create warmth and resonance or be audacious and funny or inspire others with our mission or vulnerability.
We can use our back story, our about page, copy, podcasts and videos to show ourselves and how much our business and clients mean to us. This can inspire others and build strong relationships.
Note, it is my belief that people bond with people, more easily than brands. This is why your personal brand sits beside your business brand and you almost act as an endorser for your business.
The Master of Emotional Connection
Someone who is masterful at this is Oprah. From her earliest days she forged an emotional connection with her audience via insight and empathy. She shows vulnerability and uses her personal story to accelerate know like and trust. She knows her audience and their struggles very well.
So empathetic is she, that she can connect truly with mothers, even though she is not a mother herself. She is a listener an empath and an empower. She allows others to shine, though it doesn’t diminish her. Oprah is a great role model for branding.
So are you ready to get strategic about Branding?
I’m going to suggest a quiet afternoon is put aside to work through a structured process. Whilst fast, it is complete and ordered in such a way that each piece layers on the previous.
To accelerate you in creating your magnetising brand I created the Brand on One Page framework to capture and embed your brand foundations. This work flows directly into:
With this level of clarity everything in your business gets easier.
Some tips: When using the framework stay in your creative zone, play with a lot of words until you hit on an expression your gut loves.
One more point to make when we get into this area there are can be hair splitting semantics and processes that overlap. Really the goal is just to get some stuff down on paper that captures who you are, what you offer and the outcomes from working with you.
So, don’t get stuck worrying about the difference between descriptors and values or a value proposition vs a positioning line. No one is marking this test – it’s your brand and you are the arbiter of what is right for it. Please add or subtract as necessary.
(That said if you work through this framework you’ll have more clarity than probably 90% of other entrepreneurs).
The One Page Brand
There are 12 inter-related segments in the One Page Brand. Don’t let 12 freak you out – many of them layer on one another so they are “bite sized chunks” of work.
- Your Ideal Client descriptor – so your “people” recognise themselves
- Insight – deep understanding you have of your ideal client, particularly their struggles and desires.
- Descriptors – attributes and qualities you are known for. The way an ideal client would describe you
- Benefits – the outcomes your solution delivers
- Values – the very core of what you are about
- Mission – your driving inspiration
- Value Proposition – a tantalising introductory statement which answers the question; why is your solution a better choice than all others available for your ideal clients?
- Stories – personal stories are your “stick” and enable connection
- Tone of Voice – also known as brand personality – how your brand would sound and behave if it were a person.
- Look and Feel – your visual signature, aligns the brand and does the heavy lifting on the descriptors
- Positioning Hook – a tagline for positioning purposes (can be optional if you have a strong value proposition)
- Guidelines – includes descriptors, personality and tone, and all your visual identity “rules” so that your brand appears to be utterly consistent and designers build upon strong foundations.
I hope you will put aside some time to do this work on your brand. It will be energizing and inspiring, but also valuable. You will create a resource for your business that you’ll use over and over.
The result – a brand makes you burst with pride! You will magnetically attract clients. Everyday marketing takes less effort when supported by a brand like this.
Defined, refined, aligned. Let’s get going.
This article is part of a series, read on to the next clarity – Clarity 5 – Revenue Model