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How to Create a Brand Identity From Start to Finish (Part 2: Developing a Killer Brand Strategy)

A notebook of a business startup

Hey! We're back for part 2 of this mini series on How to Create a Brand From Start to Finish. In part 1, we covered just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to everything revolving a brand and branding with a closer look at what they mean.

Part 2 will go a little more in depth about strategy and how you should begin. Much like laying out a plot and acquiring all the supplies you need to start a garden, you need to create a brand strategy for your business.

Strategic branding is so important in the startup process of a business and so often it is skipped over without even realizing it before it's too late. Let's quickly look at why this happens.

AI (Artificial Intelligence), Canva, PicMonkey, Fiverr, Upwork - and probably a hundred more platforms have made graphic design become accessible in the wrong areas of design. Don't get me wrong, they are amazing tools for graphic design. However, so many entrepreneurs jump the gun and dive deep into creating their logo for their business because of the excitement and eagerness to get started making sales.

One minute you're deep into your logo design, then you realize you've chosen a ton of color palettes, 5 font types, too many elements and clip art, and the logo design matches what you love more than it defines your business, plus you've not done any target market research or competitor analysis in your industry. Does this sound familiar?

Brand strategy is part of a business plan that outlines how the business itself will fit into and outlast it's competitive market. The overall goal of brand strategy is to build a strong foundation for your business so that it's memorable, creates brand awareness, remains cohesive in messaging and style, and it timeless in the eyes of your target audience so you rise above competing brands.

And I just want to add that your brand is much bigger than just a logo, product, website, social media, or even your name.

What makes your brand strong is what makes you stand out in a crowded room when everyone in that room has the same product as you.

Let's take a closer look three crucial starting points of branding, shall we.

Brand Mission: is the "why" of the business. This is the reason it exists and why you do what you do - this is what makes a mission statement.

Brand Vision: This is a futuristic look at how your business will perform in years to come. Much like creating long-term goals.

Brand Values: a guide that drives business operations and everything the business does towards its mission and vision.

Defining Your Brand Voice in your Brand Identity and Strategy

I always explain to my clients that it is crucial to begin with creating a mission statement. Even if you don't post it on your website, social media, etc., it is still an important step because it literally defines the entire voice of your business and brand.

A mission statement should speak to the foundation of your business. A mission statement is basically an actionable phrase or paragraph explaining the why of your business, why it does what it does and how it does it.

An easier way to think about it would be to outline it to at least a paragraph in length (it can be longer if you want). Then add your brand purpose, values, and goals. Why is your product or service special to customers? What does your business stand for? For example, do you care about giving back to your community? Is your business eco-friendly? Next, consider goals for your business - adding this will reinforce why customers should buy from you.

Here is an example of Disney's mission statement to help you brainstorm some ideas.

Another iconic brand, Starbucks, who has an awesome mission statement.

Now that you've seen some examples of brand mission statements in action, you should have good ideas flowing about how your own statement will reflect your business. This is an imperative step in the branding process because crafting a mission statement shows your customers that you're listening, you understand them, and you can connect with them emotionally in more unique ways than your competitors.

Your Brand Vision is a look into your business' future

Essentially your brand vision captures the long-term goals of your brand and briefly explains how you'll get there. This is what you will want your business/brand to achieve 5 or even 10 years from now.

Creating a vision for your brand also solidifies the overall approach to new products or services. This will also help strengthen work ethic and morale within the business and employees. Moreover, nailing down your brand vision will also help to create a fine-tuned brand identity as well.

Let's look at some examples of a few brand vision statements.

I love sharing Gap, Inc's mission statement (the parent company of Old Navy) because it serves as both their mission and vision statement.

Another great vision statement is from Amazon. In this example, you can also see how the mission, vision, and problem statements come together to create one cohesive identity and message to their audience.

You can also research and analyze your competitors to see how they serve the target market in your industry and understand how your vision can differentiate from theirs to ensure your business can fill in missed gaps or market opportunities.

Creating Brand Values Help in the Long Run

Brand values greatly overlap our own personality traits when it comes to how we think about business and how we interact within it. It sets the tone to everything you and employees (if you have them) do in your day to day operations. Keep in mind that these values should be actionable, memorable, and unique.

Any brand can choose the same words and phrases when crafting a list of values, but what makes it timeless is adding your own personality and how your brand should behave.

Your brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room. - Jeff Bezos

In other words, this is the reputation of how your business will be perceived by the marketplace and the world around you.

Think about how your customers, audience, and stakeholders to feel when they interact with your business. Brand values should be precise and created into unique complete sentences to use over again as a guide.

To create your own values, grab your journal, a piece of paper, or digital document and brainstorm 5-10 ideas that come to mind when you think about how your business should be perceived and what it should stand for.

There are ten phrases below to help you get the ideas flowing, but remember, make these unique and stylized to fit your own personality, and business. You can make them as robust or casual as you see fit.

  1. Innovation: Continuously pushing boundaries to deliver solutions that anticipate and exceed customer needs.

  2. Empowerment: Inspiring and equipping individuals to unlock their full potential through our products and resources.

  3. Sustainability: Committing to environmentally conscious practices at every stage of our operations, minimizing our ecological footprint.

  4. Quality Craftsmanship: Fostering meticulous attention to detail and craftsmanship, ensuring excellence in every product we deliver.

  5. Customer Centricity: Placing our customers at the heart of everything we do, striving to create exceptional experiences and meaningful connections.

  6. Community Engagement: Actively engaging with and contributing to the communities we serve, fostering mutual growth and prosperity.

  7. Transparency: Upholding honesty and transparency in all our interactions, building trust and credibility with our stakeholders.

  8. Diversity and Inclusion: Celebrating diversity and fostering an inclusive environment where every voice is valued and heard.

  9. Adaptability: Embracing change and agility in a rapidly evolving world, staying ahead of the curve to meet emerging needs.

  10. Social Responsibility: Taking responsibility for the impact of our actions on society, advocating for positive change and ethical business practices.

After you've taken some time to craft your brand values, mission and vision statement, you'll be well on your way to moving on to part 3 of this mini series. And one last thing to keep in mind is that inspiration from other brands can really help to get ideas flowing, but don't ever copy what they have done in their strategy. It won't be unique to you and your business!

If you need some extra help knocking out these major pieces of your brand, I have the perfect brand strategy guide that will help you nail this down.

Just click here to snag your copy.

This brand strategy guide will provide the foundation you need to get started on creating a solid brand from start to finish, plus some extra bonus templates to help you stay on track and become a reference you can use later.

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