Yesterday, I delivered a branding presentation to the artists, crafters and independent business owners at the Arts & Sciences Council of Charlotte, NC. Branding is such a huge topic, and while it was impossible to treat it thoroughly in the hour I had today, I managed to cover a lot of ground, and the students were enthusiastic. I enjoyed answering their thoughtful questions. Here's a photo of me and Katherine Mooring, the Arts & Sciences Associate Vice President of Education & Professional Development.
Boiled down to its lowest common denominator, a brand is the overall images and impressions your customers and other stakeholders have about our business and the products and services you offer. While you envision your brand and act to solidify it, it is the public that shapes and sharpens it. In other words, you put your brand out there, but the response from the public, customers and other stakeholders makes your brand what it is. Here are some of the highlights from today's presentation. You can enjoy a summary and the slides on the next page.
Your brand is one of the foundations of your business. It will either enhance your bottom line or detract from it. It will cause people to buy your products or cause them not to buy your products (and tell others not to buy them!) No matter how good your products are, your brand must be even better. While I only had time in my presentation to scratch the surface of brand development, I was able to address some key steps to creating a brand.
- Envision Your Brand. As the business owner, it is up to you to envision the impression you want your brand to create in the minds of people encountering it. What do you want people to think of first when they experience you and your products or services? The Victoria's Secret brand is sexy, feminine and provocative. The Marilyn Manson brand is shocking, occult-like and edgy. The creators of these brands thought long and planned well to maximize the chances that their product would create these images in the collective minds of the public.
- Fix Your Brand In Tangible Form. Once you envision your brand, you will fix it in tangible form. The brand name you choose, the font used, the colors, shapes and textures used, and the graphic or logo used to depict your brand are different things used to fix your brand in a tangible way. As noted in the slides, before you begin to fix your brand in tangible form, make sure you check the United States Patent & Trademark Office trademark search database to make sure that your new brand, graphics, colors and logo do not infringe on anyone else's brand.
- Deliver Your Brand. Conveying your brand amounts simply to living it; delivering it to the world. As an artist or crafter, while you may have logos and brand names, at the end of the day, you are the living, breathing embodiment of your brand. Everywhere you go and everything you do represents your brand and invites the public to assess it and engage with it — or not.You will convey your brand personally, professionally, socially and in every other imaginable way, and you will do it online and offline.You will become the brand you have envisioned. You will live it, breathe it and deliver it everywhere you go. You will also massage and update it from time to time, based in part on feedback you get from your customers and the people you want to influence.
Here are the slides from the presentation.
Question: What do you think of these 3 branding steps? Considering this high level overview, what did I omit?