As an entrepreneur, you know what your mission is and what you want to achieve. And you know that branding is important for your business. But, you're not quite sure how to build a strong brand.
In this article you'll learn 5 steps to building a powerful branding, starting from your mission statement.
Your Mission Statement is essentially this:
What Your Company Does + How Your Company Does It + Why Your Company Does It
This statement then becomes a guiding force for you, your employees (if any) and your customers. If your business is a ship, then the mission statement is the rudder.
But that’s not all. Once you’ve become clear about your mission statement, you can then use it to help you build a powerful brand (including your slogan).
One really good example of a company whose slogan flows directly from their mission statement is Walmart.
Walmart's Mission Statement
Saving people money so they can live better.
Save Money. Live Better.
Now you can do the same thing by using your mission as a starting point when creating your branding. The big advantage of doing this is continuity between all pieces of your business. In other words, there’s no confusion for you, your associates (such as employees or even affiliates), and your customers, as you’re sharing the same core message.
Let’s take a look at how to do this…
Build A Strong Brand - 5 Steps Starting From Your Mission Statement
Step 1 - Exam Your Mission Statement
Your first step is to take a good look at your mission statement to be sure that it accurately reflects what your business does, why it does it, and how it does it. If it’s not accurate, now is the time to tweak it.
As you’re examining your statement, think in particular about what makes your company unique with regards to the “What, How, and Why.” Specifically:
Keep any differences in mind as you move through the following steps, as they’ll come in handy again shortly.
Step 2 - Understand the Difference Between Your Mission and Your Branding
Before you start working on your branding, you need to understand the difference between your mission statement and your branding.
Your mission statement is just that: a statement. It’s a description of what your company does, how it does it, and why. You can think of this as the logical “what, how, why” of your business.
Your branding is different because it’s all about conveying a feeling. It’s the positive feeling your customers experience when they’re using your products. And it’s the positive feeling you want your prospects (and customers) to associate with your company.
So, you can think of it this way: your mission describes what you do, and your branding associates a specific emotion with what your business does.
Step 3 - Determine the Emotion You Want to Convey
Now what you need to do is determine what your customers are already feeling when they use your products (or services), or how you’d LIKE them to feel. What emotion would you like associated with your company?
This is actually a three-step process. The first step is to brainstorm “feelings” that would work well with your business. The second is to determine if this feeling is something your customers value. And the third step is to check your competition’s branding so that you can avoid obvious overlap.
For the first part, you want to brainstorm positive feelings. For example:
This is by no means an exhaustive list, as there are hundreds of ways to describe various emotions. So, go ahead and brainstorm to figure out which feelings are a potentially good fit for your business.
The second step is to figure out what your audience values. Some of this you can figure out just based on common sense. For example, if you’re helping people to de-stress through meditation, then your audience probably isn’t looking to feel powerful or sophisticated during this particular activity. Instead, they’re looking to feel serene, peaceful, loved and so on.
You can also eavesdrop on conversations within your niche (such as on blogs, forums and in groups) to get a sense of what your audience is feeling or how they want to feel. You might even read product reviews for competing products to get a sense of how users feel.
Finally, the last sub-step for this process is to do your market research to find out what sort of emotions your competitors are conveying with their branding and how they’re doing it. While your branding may convey similar emotions, you don’t want to overlap too much with others in your niche, as then you won’t really stand out.
Once you’ve walked through these various sub-steps, then it will become clear which feelings are the best fit, based on what your competition is doing and what your audience values. Pick the one that you think fits best, and move onto the next step…
Step 4 - Develop Your Brand
Now that you know the feeling you want associated with your brand, the next step is to develop the parts of your branding that will help convey this feeling. Specifically, we’re going to look at these two parts:
Let’s look at these two separately…
Your Logo/Color Scheme
I lumped these two pieces together since your logo generally will include the same colors you’ll use on your website, ecovers, ads and other graphics.
What you’ll want to do is brainstorm a logo image and colors that are good fits for the feeling you’re trying to convey. What I’d suggest you do is first take a close look at a variety of well-known brands to see how they use color and imaging. For example, look at:
And so on. Just think of your favorite brands, and examine how they convey certain feelings with the visual aspects of their branding.
Secondly, look at brands within your niche. You want to get a sense of how they convey certain feelings, but you also want to make sure that your brand looks nothing like your competitors’ branding.
If brainstorming branding imaging is something within your skillset, then you may have some idea of what you want your brand to look like. In this case, you can talk to a logo designer to help you bring your vision to a reality.
If you can’t quite visualize what your logo and colors may look like, then go to a logo designer with experience in brainstorming and developing brands. Let them know the feeling you want to convey, give them starting points for colors and imaging, and provide links to your competitors.
The second big component of your branding is your slogan. Usually, this slogan reflects your USP (Unique Selling Position), which is the one thing that makes your company different and better than the competitors. When people are wondering why they should buy from you instead of your competitors, the USP is what answers that question.
Take note, however: your USP/slogan doesn’t need to be based on something that you’re doing that absolutely no one else in your niche is doing. It just needs to be something that your competitors haven’t capitalized on.
The classic example here is Folger’s coffee, with the USP that says “mountain grown.” Nearly all coffee is grown in the mountains – it’s just that Folger’s was the first company to stake this out as a USP.
If you can think of some characteristic of your business that’s different from what others are doing, that’s terrific. Here are some questions you can answer to help you brainstorm:
Let me give you a couple examples…
Domino’s Pizza used to advertise a unique guarantee: “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less or it’s free.”
Papa John’s Pizza competed by focusing on good-tasting pizza: “Better ingredients, better pizza.”
Saddleback Leather Co. focuses on quality with this USP: “They’ll fight over it when you’re dead.”
Their competitor, North Star Leather, focuses on where the products are made: “Made in the USA since 1969” (and various reiterations of that throughout the website).
Now it’s your turn. While your slogan isn’t your USP, your slogan should convey your USP in as few words as possible. Write out the USP you’ve chosen, and then keep tweaking it until you have one short, powerful statement.
Step 5 - Integrate Your Branding
Once you’ve developed your branding, then it’s time to integrate it all through your business. This includes:
Your assignment for this lesson is to start planning your branding strategy. Answer these questions:
Once you’ve answered these questions, then go ahead and plan how to develop your brand (preferably with the help of a professional who can help you create fitting visuals such as your logo). Once you’re all done, be sure to integrate your brand into your business thoroughly as discussed above.