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Today we are going to talk a little bit about branding and brand personality. So why don't you just talk us through what branding is because when I think of brands I think of channel and Coca Cola, that's a brand to me but branding is something a little bit different than a name isn't it?
Yeah, this can be quite confusing. I think a lot of small business owners think that brand is the logo. But we can kind of separate the brand from the branding. So the brand is a bit of an abstract concept really, we need to ask, who is this business who is the brand. What does it stand for and kind of what we're seeing now is, what does it stand against, a brand can take a position, it can have opinions and of course everything it does is focused on its audience. A brand can be like a person, it can be polarizing, or it can choose to be really really popular. So what you've got with branding is a logo, the brand colors, the images, the brand's style. These are all elements of the branding and what these do, is they represent the brand, so this is why people say a brand is much more than a logo, because it is.
So the logo is kind of like a shortcut to remembering all those characteristics about your brand. Brand and branding it kind of seems very simple on the outside but actually you can go really really deep.
You touched on it when you were speaking about working with Dulux, about personality, can you talk to us about why it's important to have brand personality and how you would use that?
Yeah, yeah. I think it is really important. So you've got the tangibles of the service like photographers you've got the actual photographs, but you've also got intangibles that you're buying from people, see people are buying the whole experience of working with a cake maker or a photographer. They are buying into the promise,what you're going to deliver to them based on what you can show them and case studies ect.. Why are they going to choose your business, rather than another business, it's all about how well they connect with you. We talked about, know, like and trust and we also talk about people buying people. This is where brand personality comes into it because it's like manage your brand as if it is a person, and for many of us as small businesses it’s our name on the door. Yeah, so it's completely aligned, who we are as people is completely aligned with who our business is, or even your brand is an amplified version of yourself. So it's all the best bits of yourself. We're human beings selling to human beings so we've got our business, our business needs to behave as a human. So the intangibles of your brand are like, this is why my business exists, its purpose, its why. This is what I believe in, so your values, beliefs and your personality. So it's kind of an intangible but it's the reason why people connect with you. Then what becomes important is how do you express that personality, I kind of divided into three things.
The first is how does your brand behave, you know the jargon touchpoints. How does your brand behave in every instance in which your prospect connects with you. How do you answer the phone? What are the words you use on your website? How do you treat people when you meet them in person?
The next thing about people is, how do they look so this is where you pay attention to your brand style. Not just you personally but how does the brand look in social media, what sort of images does the brand use in social media posts? What are the brand colors? You got the colors of the logo but you might have a bigger palette than that, you might have your logo colors, you might have a signature color that you use throughout imagery, you might have accent colors. You might use colors to denote product packages or service packages, it's all about that brand image and style being used consistently so people get to recognize you and like you, trust you, because it's all leading up to that.
Then the third element, if you think about people, is how do they talk in their tone of voice. So, how do people talk, what sort of words do they use, what's the vocabulary look like? Is it witty, it's serious, do you use lots of professional words? You know some brands like Carling ‘probably the best lager in the world’ so that's part of it’s voice or Specsavers ‘should have gone to Specsavers’ it’s quite jokey. So, the voice is really important and it goes beyond the voice and the words and the tone because I think it's also about how the brand listens to people.
If you think about those three elements the personality. It's really important that as a business owner, you manage them because no one else can. If we as business owners don't take responsibility and accountability and manage how our brand behaves and appears, and speak, then the opinion and perceptions that people form of our business is how it's going to be described. There’s that Jeff Bezos quote,
your brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room.
You cannot dictate how your audience will perceive you but you can try to influence it.
Something I always do for my clients, which I have to say is because we always used it on big brands, is a style guide, so you can keep a simple style guide where you've got all your color references. You've got your key words,the words for your brand personality like your top three words so your top six words that describe your behaviors, your own code, you know your moral compass your moral code for how you behave and your ethics. You can have it as a simple one sheet document where you say this is my brand style and I'm going to stick with it. Over time it will evolve, because everything changes but you can use this this is what big brands do. They have the style guide, and everyone working on the brand, whether they work in the company or whether they're an agency they have to adhere to it.
What if I'm a listener and I'm thinking you know what yeah my brand means sorting out isn't representative of my personality, or, or what I want to portray, what sort of, first thing that they should really be looking at doing?
Well I would say this go back to the basics, start doing your brand thinking, first. So the mistake most people make is they say, I've got to change the logo. But actually, the logo is the creative expression of your brand. So go back and answer some questions about your audience. What is your niche? Who are the people that you are here to serve? And you know what, I started saying that I’m not really serving them because I really loved working with them. So, start with your audience, pay attention to your values, you might need to make some changes, times change we are in strange times now. Maybe you've discovered, a value that you hold has become more prominent. So just reconfirm your values, I always say, we all have a number of values, but go for your top five. And if you can go for your top three. Yeah, reconfirm why you're in this business, because that's kind of why you want to get up in the morning and enjoy it.
An area that I think is really useful is to think about your offers. What are your offers, what are the results that your clients get from those offers and what makes buying from your business different and attractive and relevant and motivating and meaningful for that audience because if you've done that, what you've defined is your value proposition, thats the jargon. It’s basically answering the question why should your target market buy from you. And it's not, it's never, ever, about just money. It's about those human things.
I think that's so true and the more of that I'm looking into branding myself, to me it's about making your customer feel something. If you can't make them feel something they're never going to buy from you. And if you can make them feel the right feelings, then it isn't even a question.
Absolutely. And actually when you think about all the benefits that buying from your business brings you know there are practical benefits like getting a nice set of photos. What you said is so perfect because, ask the question, how does it make them feel?
If you don't know, go and ask them, ask previous customers, that's the other thing to do, do a bit of research, and take a look at some of your competitors. Not all of them just the ones that you admire. What they do really well? You don't want to copy it. But note what they do really well and think, can I do this differently? Can I do it in a way that's more meaningful for my audience?
So before everybody rushes out and start spending loads of money with graphic designers, I just wanted you to sort of go over the difference because you are a strategist, not a graphic designer, what is the difference between a graphic designer, a brand strategist and or going off and doing it myself? I can go on to Canva and I can get logos on Canva now.
You can go to Canva. I think it's all about where you are in your business and what you can, invest so if you’re at the start, invest what you can, for some people that might be using Canva.
Others might be using fiverr, or one of these platforms. I usually don't work with people who are just starting up and bootstrapping, but it's all about what can you invest, and what’s the payback going to be?
I actually work with a graphic designer, it’s included in the way I work. The way I work is to start with your strategy, get you thinking sorted then really clarify just who is this brand? What's it stand for? And then, how is it represented because the output of my work is a creative brief, and the graphic designers I work with work to that creative brief. So what we're doing is we're focusing their creativity on exploring how we best represent your brand.
I always think that works really well. I think the creative brief for mef is really, really important. Because at the end of the day when you see a selection of designs your responses are subjective, and emotional and that's important. Sometimes it's really clear and obvious and plain sailing but what about those times when those concepts are disappointing. How do you have a discussion of why they're not right. Well, what I've learned is if you go back to the creative brief and say, in the creative brief we agree that this is how we wanted to represent the brand, and in the concepts that we've got we're not quite doing this. So you've got a more objective way of discussing what you're seeking to represent your brand in terms of your logo and the type of fonts you use. There's real art to this so graphic designers are really really important to this. And what I say is, what they really value is a great creative brief so I'm here helping people to do that and taking them through the creative process, and because I come from a marketing background helping with marketing materials.
But that doesn't mean to say that if you're early on in your business development that you can't try to do that yourself.
So in summary, our branding is the stuff around the brand that brings the brand to life, and the brand is a person and if we want a fantastic brand, we should really be looking at working with a brand strategist to help us create that brief.
Now, a lot of my listeners are already in their businesses, so, you might well be sitting there thinking, Oh yeah, you know I did that, I just got a logo off of Fiverr. It's really common two rings linked together and you know it's happy wedding day photography and it's yellow, and that's my branding, and you might be sitting there thinking, it's time for a change. I really think that actually if you can nail your brand it will increase your inquiries, and don't feel scared of niching down and really getting to the crux of who it is you want to work with down to minute details because it's not going to put off other people. It's going to attract more people you want and you’re still going to get inquiries from other people that aren't necessarily in that niche.
Lynne Stainthorpe, Brand Strategist works with ethical business owners driven by a clear purpose.
“Together, we get to the heart of what makes your brand meaningfully different, create your authentic brand identity, develop your brand value proposition and marketing materials.
The result is you’ll feel proud of your brand, confident in your brand messaging, connect more deeply with customers, elevate your business and make your mark.”