You probably made some resolutions this year. Some stick, some don’t. In fact, of the people who set resolutions, less than half will be successful in six months. But if you’re still going strong, way to go!
Make one resolution this year
Here at Force 5, we want to ask you – whatever kind of work you may do – to make one resolution this year. Make 2020 the year of your brand. Make 2020 the year you get serious about understanding who you really are, what you do, and why it matters. We believe that your brand has the potential to be your most powerful tool for success. But we also know it can be a real challenge to understand what a brand is, much less how you can impact your own. Never fear! We’re here to break it down for you in some nice bulleted lists (who doesn’t love lists) so you can take action.
What is the difference between brand and brand strategy?
Your brand lives in the hearts and minds of those you serve. It is intangible. It is a perception, a thought, or a feeling which others hold about you and your work. Jeff Bezos is quoted as saying “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” It isn’t a logo, a tagline, a color palette or a photo. In fact, nothing you do or make actually IS your brand. Stay with me here.
In contrast, brand strategy is all of your efforts (whatever they may be) to somehow influence people’s perceptions of you and your work. Following along now? Brand is a perception; brand strategy is a tactic. Here’s the exciting part: when we define brand strategy in such a broad way, the ways you can impact your brand really are endless.
How can I build a brand strategy?
Don’t let that last part scare you. Endless possibility simply means that anyone can build a brand, regardless of what type of work you do. Take it as an invitation to make 2020 the year for your brand. Start by exploring some of these fundamental building blocks of a brand strategy:
- Understand your audience: Who are the people you seek to serve with your work? Where is their attention? How do they consume information? What is their current perception of you?
- How do you bring value: What value are you bringing to your audience? Why should they pay attention to you? What about your product or service is meaningful to them?
- What do you want to say: What message will matter most to the people you serve? What promise can you make and keep about your product or service?
Take time to work through these questions. Your answers will be the foundation of a good brand strategy. For example: Doing some research to understand how your potential customers consume information will help you get clarity about which channels to use. Is social media a waste of time (probably not)? Should you buy digital ads on the local newspaper website?
Take action now!
Once you’ve explored some of the fundamentals of brand strategy, it’s time to get moving! Remember, 2020 is the year of YOUR brand. What will you do to influence people’s perceptions of you and your work? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Content on social platforms: Create simple, unique content and give it away through your social channels. Bring value to your potential customers and eventually they’ll become ACTUAL customers.
- Create a lead magnet: Write an e-book about best practices in your potential customers’ industry. Give it away in exchange for their email address.
- Public speaking: Create a “talk” that you can give about your business philosophy, company culture, or lessons learned. Pitch your talk to local chambers, professional groups, etc
Remember, brand is perception. How your potential customers think about you vs. your competition can make all the difference – for better or worse. Make a promise to yourself in 2020 to get clear about who you really are, what you do, and why it matters. This is the beginning of a solid brand strategy.
If you’re ready to make 2020 the year of YOUR brand, we would love to help you take the next step!