Branding is Not Your Logo
Branding is not just a logo. It's not your font choices, or color consistency, or your email signature. These things are all apart of your brand, but they do not make up your brand.
The truth is branding is so much more. Your company brand is your voice, your purpose and what you want to be known and hired for. It's how you stand out from the crowd and get your dream clients. It's your passion and what your company represents.
But when faced with the whole picture, a lot of us get overwhelmed and back away.
"Don't I already have a brand?"
"Do I really need a better brand?"
"Do I have the money, time, and energy to devote to rebranding?"
"How do I use my new brand?"
"How do I market my company?"
So what's the quick and dirty way to get my brand going?
There isn't one. Sorry. To quote Tolkien, "Shortcuts make long delays". It takes work and time, but here are a few tips to help you get started.
1: Get your mission statement nailed down.
It may seem blunt, but you need to answer this question and your mission statement is a great place to do this. What do you do and why? But make it real, straightforward and honest. Skip the cheesy cliches and corporate "speak". It should be short, 2-3 sentences at most. And make sure it's got you/your company's personality and voice too. It should feel like you talking, not some generic person.
And while you're at it, you might as well rewrite your about me page to act as the extended director's cut. Think of it as your love letter to your dream client, why you two go together so well and why you understand them.
2: Start Communicating
The world is more and more open, accessible and social everyday with advancements in technology, the internet and devices. So get out there!
You need to figure out what your dream clients needs, wants, pains, hopes, dreams, concerns and personality are, and post content that speaks to them. The more you can relate to them and make them feel more understood, the more likely they are to connect and identify with you and your product.
You can share content as blog posts, on social media, updates to your website, forums, Quora, or other groups. Just make sure your content is a mix of what your know and who you are. But the most helpful thing to do is research. See what your competitors are doing, and what works, what doesn't. Where are your competitors, where are they not? Look not only for their weaknesses and underserved markets, but also their strengths, saturated markets. Sometimes it doesn't make sense to fight the giant.
3: Be Specific
What do you want to be known for? Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. Focus on one package that you want to sell. The one thing you really live for and love doing, and rewrite your website and hire me page to reflect that. If there are other things you want to provide, put them in the final 10% of your page. The same goes for all your testimonials, portfolios and case studies. Just include the work you want to get hired for, otherwise you'll attract work that you don't want anymore.
Your vision, your positioning, your voice, and your offered services and the most important foundations to your brand. This is the branding work that comes from you and separates you from the crowd.
After you finish all of this, then you can worry about your logo, colors, type, images, copy, website, business card, emails, marketing and on and on and on... Or hire someone else to do it for you! ;)