Your brand needs to be cherished by someone. That person is your super fan, someone who will love your brand, buy anything you create, and share it with the world. They are a tribal advocate for your company. Here is how you can make sure you are creating something this person will appreciate:
This is the easiest part. List some key elements of this person to get a starting point for who they are. This will include:
2. External Desires
What are they coming to you for? This could include:
3. Internal Desires
WHY are these things important and what are they looking to accomplish.
Is there a grander battle that you are both fighting?
What is at stake if these desires are not met? Some examples:
6. Lifestyle elements
Make sure your brand aligns with this person's lifestyle. List out some key things we all use/partake in:
What and who inspires this person to get out of bed in the morning?
8. Define patterns
Look at everything you've written down. Do you notice a pattern in purchase behavior? Is this person looking for a deal or do they spend on value? Do they care about aesthetics? Are they conservative or edgy?
Are there patterns in the things that inspire them (boisterous attitudes vs strong silent leadership)? How about the topics being discussed, can you relate and speak on these as well?
The point here is to immerse yourself in this person's world and see how you can add to it. More importantly, to see how you can add to it and be easily accepted into their lifestyle, rather than forcing a lifestyle upon them. If that is what you find yourself doing, you need to either reposition your brand for a new audience or mold it to your current super fan.
Your brand needs to walk alongside them, hip-to-hip.
A brand identity is the elements that make up a brand's manifestation in the tangible world; things we can see, touch, smell, taste, and hear. It's commonly limited to a logo, and while a logo is an essential piece, it's the tip of the iceberg. What lies beneath the surface is what gives it the ability to rise above the surface.
Defining the brand
The entire purpose of brand identity is to have tangible manifestations of the gut feeling you intend people to have about your business. So, you must first define it. This is done through a brand discovery. If done right, these collaborative sessions between a branding expert and client unearth the business' values, story, voice and tone, purpose, and how they are different from their competitors.
Auditing the brand
Upon defining the brand, the branding expert and client will go through the current branding efforts of the business and check for alignment. This involves everything from marketing collateral, stationery, social media posts, email newsletters, the name of the company, even the services and pricing are on the table. The key is that regardless of the touchpoint, all elements must point to the defined brand. Anything misaligned is put up for redesign.
Brand Identity Design
This is where the foundation of the brand's look is laid. It involves the creation of a name (if needed), a logo, color palette, typography, photo styling, illustration and pattern examples, and iconography.
With the core elements of the brand identity laid out, marketing collateral, a website, and other touchpoints can be created without looking scattered.
Here's where this goes wrong: when you try to build the top of the iceberg without giving it the support it needs.
I admire the confidence of startup founders. Everyday, they get up and get after it in the hopes of doing something to change the world. It's inspiring. However, it's sad that most of them fail to see the obviously awesome things about themselves and their companies that would make them unforgettable. Instead, they try to focus on what they think people want them to be. It's an inauthentic approach to building a brand and it usually results in being labeled something they are not proud of. In time, they become something they fail to recognize.
I call it, "pickle syndrome."
Since they spend their lives in a jar, pickles have no idea what they look like from the outside. They also don't recognize the unique qualities that make them special either. They float in the jar hoping someone will recognize them and see their worth.
It's in moments like this that is pays to have an external voice chime in and tell you all of the things that make you and your startup significant. To give you a new label based on the obvious truths you take for granted.
You are still a pickle and you're freaking awesome at it. Don't be afraid to tell everyone.