When we have a new business idea, we often focus on building the first version of our product or implement the solution that we came up with. Don’t get me wrong; it’s important that you work on bringing your product or service into the world.
But it is also important to be really clear about whom our product or service is for and why people should buy from you. Good branding will help you stand out from the crowd and create an emotional connection with your target audience.
When you are starting a business from scratch, it is important to establish a strong foundation. Think about as your foundation as the roots of a tree. Once you have the roots planted, you can be sure that a strong “brand tree” will grow from that as a result of your continued brand-building activities.
So how do you plant solid roots? You can start by answering the following four questions to get to the core of what your brand is all about. Your product or service alone doesn’t make you unique; your uniqueness is a result of your brand personality. You get to determine what that brand personality is. And these four questions will help you get there:
1.Who are your people?
Who is your perfect customer? Who needs what you have? What do they like? How do they act? Be very clear about the audience you want to reach as it determines how you will talk to them, where you will show up (LinkedIn or Snapchat?), and how you can serve them best.
2. How am I different from my competition?
Let’s face it. Even if you’ve come up with the most novel idea, there will be others who might be onto something similar or who are operating in the same niche. If not, congratulations – you struck gold and you can skip this question.
If there is someone out there doing something remotely similar than you do, think about how you are different. Are the other brands more traditional and conservative? Do you offer something cutting-edge that attracts a younger crowd? Does your product have features that are unheard of? Or maybe you have a unique origin story?
3. What’s your personality?
No, I’m not talking about personality of the founder. If your business had a personality, what would be like? Fun and entertaining? Or serious and reliable? Or maybe it’s rebellious and bold? Perhaps it’s compassionate and supportive? Or is it innovative and futuristic? Maybe it’s idealistic and world-changing?
Make sure to infuse your visual identity (your color scheme, fonts, graphics, and your logo) with your personality. And have your personality be reflected in the way you are talking to your audience on your website, in your emails, and even in product descriptions.
4. Why should anyone else but you and your team care?
In other words, be very clear about the value you provide. In order to make other people care (as much as you do), you want to become an expert in the problem you are solving for people. Yes, your solution can only be amazing if you understand your audience’s problems and pain points very deeply.
Your brand is part of a larger ecosystem. Make sure to create a compelling story that puts your product or service in context. Invest time to do market research. Find out how you fit into the bigger picture and why your product or service is worth someone’s money or time.
Nina Grenningloh Reyes is the founder of Communications Rebel where she helps social entrepreneurs, changemakers, and thought leaders in social innovation tell better stories, inspire audience, create movements, and ignite change. Connect with her on communicationsrebel.com.