Your brand is more than logo, colors, and font. Yes, consistency in those elements matter because they make you recognizable, but real branding is so much more than a logo on your business card and letterhead. It is about how people feel when they see your name.

What do you want people to say about you when you’re not in the room. What do you want them to tell people who are looking for someone who does what you do?

The sum of those comments is your brand.

Many business owners are under the misconception that somehow, they control their brand. But they don’t. A brand exists in the mind of the customers. It’s a culmination of how your online and offline behavior is perceived by your customers.

Take charge of your brand

I know I just said you can’t control what people ultimately think and feel, but you can do is influence those perceptions with your marketing messages and your actions.

Start by deciding what you want to be known for. This definition process often starts with a position statement that describes your ideal client, what they need, and most importantly what makes you uniquely qualified to solve their problem.

Next think about your core values. Beyond the services you deliver, how you deliver them matters. The experience of working with you is part of the brand package too.

These statements can’t just be printed on the walk, or on the about page of your website. You need to make a commitment to live them every day. If you don’t they are just words on a page, and not a brand.

They will influence your story, key messages, language choices and company policies to convince customers, this is what your brand is about.

Create a brand guide which outlines all these elements and share it with everyone in your firm as well as anyone else who works on your marketing, so they are prepared to answer the question “what do you do?”

It is easy to keep your brand consistent when your company consists of only two or three people, but you need to have systems in place, so you remain consistent when you grow to ten, twenty or even one hundred employees.

Audit your brand:

Periodically review company communications for style and voice and guide new employees so they get the company message.

Search for your name online and find out what people are already saying about you. This will show you how much you need to change.

Ask customers to define your brand to insure you are meeting their expectations and that your messages are getting through.

The Benefits

Is it worth it to build a brand. I think it is. A strong brand helps you define sets you apart from other people in your space and demonstrate your specialties.

It creates a lasting impression and helps you connect to your target audience.

Not everyone will resonate with your brand, so it’s important to decide who you want to connect with before you start your branding process.