Innova Communications | Who Do I Want To Be When I Grow Up?
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Who Do I Want To Be When I Grow Up?

28 Aug Who Do I Want To Be When I Grow Up?

Do you know? It’s a tougher question to answer than you might think. People generally start a new business because they have a specialty in a service or see a demand for a product in the marketplace. Chances are, there is someone in your near proximity that is selling a widget or service that is competitive with yours. How do you differentiate? Why is yours the better choice for a customer? This is where a strong brand comes in and where many entrepreneurs come to a screeching halt.

If you aren’t creatively inclined the branding process is pretty overwhelming. We have a client right now who is going through this very excercise. They are an existing company who is experiencing a market shift. Their client demographic is changing as well as the management team. The company sees a need to update and strengthen their brand but are unsure what direction to take.  While this particular company was smart enough to retain us to help them through the process, we feel like we should share some things you can do to conduct a brand check-up or start the process of a new brand.

The first thing we’d like to share with you is that a brand isn’t just a logo. Mistake numero uno with many companies. A logo is part of your brand story, albeit an imporant part, but only a piece of the pie. What’s in a brand? Simplified, it is:

Brand “Voice”. Your brand voice is the verbal part of your brand presentation: the words you use, the tone your copywriting takes, fromt the way you answer the phone to the style of your letters.

Visual Presentation. Your visual presentation wraps everything up in a cohesive package. At least, it should. It should be a reflection of the benefits you offer, the promises you make and keep, and the words you use to present your products or services. Your visual presentation includes things like:

  • – Your colors
  • – Your typefaces
  • – Your logo
  • – Your overall graphic style

How do you get to this magical brand place? Start simple with some of these free thinking exercises.

Dream Client. The idea here is to picture your perfect customer. It’s sort of a no-brainer when you think about doing this, but then you realize you haven’t actually done it.  Spend some time writing down who this customer is. When you are in the trenches fighting for new customers, sometimes you forget who your target is. Being able to go back to the description of your dream client or customer will help you stay grounded and keep your marketing on track.

Adjectives Exercise. An oldie but goodie that we’ve seen before, but it really works. Set a timer for five minutes. Write down all the words you, personally, would use to describe your business. Try to stay away from nouns and verbs–don’t write generic things like “marketing” or “repairs furnaces.” Instead, write down the way your business feels, the way it runs. These will help you pinpoint a brand voice based on the types of words you choose as well as give you some direction in the visual sense. If all of your adjectives are whimsical and warm, presto, you have a visual direction with font and color.

If reading this makes you wonder if your brand is on target or focused enough, go through these quick exercises and see what the results are. You might need a brand tune-up or discover that you, like our client, could really use a new brand direction. If so, we are here to help!

Amy Chilla

Amy Chilla is an interactive marketing and public relations professional. Since 1999, she has been a partner at Innova Communications, a boutique public relations, social media, and marketing firm based in Southern CA. Current industry specialties include: luxury consumer goods, translation/localization, and sports business/sporting goods, apps and financial services.

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