4 Questions to ask yourself when creating an authentic brand.
Branding is about emotion.
When people land on your website or one of your social media profiles, your branding communicates a story through your visuals and tone. How you make them feel is what will either resonate with them and keep them coming back or help them determine that your business just isn’t for them (and that's okay too).
The goal of a successful brand is to convey a message that hits home for your ideal client and makes them comfortable and interested in what you have to say, and eventually sell.
As you hone in on your brand’s message, ask yourself the following questions to refine your brand identity and create an authentic experience for your tribe.
1. Who exactly is your ideal client?
You must create an ideal client profile if you want to effectively speak to them with clarity and credibility. Your brand is about your potential customers or clients and their needs, not about you and your preferences.
When determining your ideal client, get really specific! Think about all of the details: their age range (and don’t say 18-55!) and gender, their education level and occupation, their hobbies and goals. Where do they shop and hang out? What does their online activity consist of? What are their fears and biggest problems?
The answers to these questions will help you determine your brand identity or style.
Let’s say you’re a fashion designer and you came up with a client profile of a 30-40 year old professional woman who wants to find clothes that can be worn to work but are also comfortable enough for the weekend.
To translate that into a visual message, you wouldn’t want to choose a color scheme that is childish or too bright. You’d be more on target sticking with neutrals or classic black and white. Save the pastels for the ice cream shop!
To continue with the ideal client example above, you would be most effective in keeping the tone sophisticated and mature. This woman is probably incredibly busy and will want you to get straight to the point so she can get on with the rest of her responsibilities and activities. Staying concise and cutting out the fluff would be a good strategy for the written content of this brand.
You can see how having a specific person in mind when creating your branded materials will be really helpful. Remember to keep that person’s profile in mind in everything you create for your brand.
2. What is your mission statement?
Your brand’s message can be revealed by writing a thoughtful, precise mission statement. The best mission statements are one sentence that address the following questions:
Who are you?
Who do you help and how?
What can they expect to see as a result?
Let's use my mission statement as an example:
"Bravebird Studio provides branding and web design services to help creative entrepreneurs with soul + style establish a beautiful and profitable online presence."
Answers all three questions right?
Who am I? My company, Bravebird Studio.
Who do I help and how? I provide branding and web design services for creative entrepreneurs with soul + style.
What can they expect to see as a result? A beautiful and profitable online presence.
I create everything for the Bravebird website and all other branded material with that mission in mind.
Write a mission statement with as much detail as possible, and do it in the beginning or early stages of your business. It will make your life a lot easier by guiding the direction of your brand and business.
3. What are 5 adjectives that best describe your business?
Is your brand high-end, affordable, playful, feminine, free-spirited, warm, whimsical, etc.? Describe your brand with at least five adjectives (the more, the better).
Did any of these words bring to mind a certain color, feeling, or scene? This is how your brand's emotion and story will start to reveal itself.
Using the example of the fashion designer again, she might use luxurious, minimalist, smart, modern, and chic to describe her business. This would translate into editorial style photography, a thin sans serif font, and a website and Instagram feed with lots of white space and clean imagery.
After you settle on your 5 (or more) words, think about how they will influence your choice of visual elements and even the language of your brand.
4. If your brand had a theme song, what would it be?
This last one is a fun one! If you have a passion and your business is an extension of it, than this process should be fun and inspiring.
Music is one of the ultimate forms of expression and it conveys a lot of emotion. What music would you most identify with your brand? Again, be specific!
If you used words like bold, feminine, and sexy, maybe you’d choose a Beyoncé song. If your adjectives included free-spirited, tropical, and sun-kissed, you might choose a Bob Marley song. You get the idea.
This song activity is just one more way to start thinking about the experience you are creating for your ideal customer or client. The more connection you establish, the more you will see your offerings resonating with clients you are excited to work with.
These questions are a small part of the branding process and questionnaire that I use to uncover my clients’ brand identities. If you’re interested in working together to craft your new brand, please see my packages here.
What other questions have you found to be helpful in creating an authentic brand? Let me know below in the comments.