What a neat day today is. Adam Fout, from Blue Steele Solutions, has offered to grace our blog with some top notch article wizardry and drops knowledge about branding. He’s a content Weaver with Blue Steele, Magic player, and an all-around swell fella.
Branding is tough — probably one of the toughest challenges you’ll ever face when building your business.
Even something as simple as choosing a font can result in mind-bending madness — and branding is so very much more than a set of fonts and colors on a fancy piece of cardboard.
It’s the lifeblood of your business, the soul, really.
And it’s something you have little control over.
Your brand exists in the minds of your clients — and it’s nigh impossible to control the minds of others (and really, why would you want to?)
Big Brands spend Booku Bucks trying to convince people that their brand is one thing or another, actions speak louder than commercials.
Apple isn’t known as a The Arbiter of Design for designing crap products — they didn’t trick people to think that with incredible marketing.
People don’t love flying Southwest because their flight attendants are boring and rude — they built a reputation that marketing and advertising could only strengthen.
By the same token, negative events or actions affect your brand negatively (regardless of your marketing or your intent).
There wasn’t a marketing campaign in the world that could save BP after the 2010 oil spill.
Even if you haven’t started your business just yet, your brand still exists in someone’s mind somewhere — even if it’s just yours. It’s critical to figure out what you want that brand to be (and how it should look) before you get out into the world.
Take the time to consider your brand now, before your business gets off the ground. It’s really your only chance to have true control over what people think about your brand…
And that’s a scary thought.
But never fear — I’ve got booku resources to help you figure out this whole branding thing! I’ve trawled the interwebs to find the best expert opinions imaginable on branding, all in nice, bite-sized articles (ok, some are really long, but trust me, they’re all really good).
If you study branding for any period of time, you start to learn how nuanced a subject it really is.
While I could easily dive deep into this subject now, better writers than I have covered it in explicit detail (including the writer of this blog in this incredible article on messaging).
So take a gander, take a look, and if you like what you see, leave a comment or two.
The History of Branding
Let’s start with the history of branding — this is about as in depth as you’re going to get.
If you’ve ever wondered what we really mean when we say branding, well, it grew out of this.
The Definition of a Brand
Seth Godin is a God amongst marketers.
And he’s super amazing at writing super short blog posts that are super informative.
He’s just super.
Here’s his definition of branding.
Creating a Brand Identity
Then there’s my friend Clement Lim’s awesome (and incredibly comprehensive) guide to Creating a Kick-Ass Brand Identity (and I’m super proud of him for putting a curse word in his writing, even if it’s just a little baby one).
Getting Branding Right
Chris Lema is a branding beast — this dude knows his stuff (and he’s an inspiring speaker on top of all that).
If you ever get the chance to listen to him speak, don’t pass it up — it’s a spiritual marketing experience.
Here’s what he has to say about branding (and how to get it right the first time).
Create a Tone for Your Brand
Your brand is a living, breathing entity (truly, I swear it is). Your brand does a very surprising thing, especially on your website and through your social media (though not so surprising for a living, breathing entity I suppose).
Which means it has a tone of voice. If you haven’t considered what your brand sounds like, then you really need to.
Here’s an incredible article from the incredible folks at Copy Hackers about brand tone.
Create Your Brand
Although your brand does exist in one form or another, there’s value in mapping out the brand for yourself.
You can’t impose your vision of your brand into the mind of the consumer, but you can and should create that vision, and be as specific as possible.
We made a brand persona template to do just that (wouldn’t you know it!)
More Chris Lema? Yes please.
While all your focus so far is on your business brand, you really need to put some thought into your personal brand.
Again, it already exists — as Jeff Bezos said, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
Thanks Jeff — couldn’t have put it better myself.
You’ve got a personal brand already — and managing it (or not) affects your business’ brand.
Branding Through Thought Leadership
Rand Fishkin, in addition to having an awesome name and possibly being a merman (kin… to fish! I’ll see myself out…), is the Big Brain behind the Big Brand Moz.
And Moz rocks.
He’s got a great article about how to build a branding strategy around thought leadership.
And it works — just ask Rand.
Last One I Swear — Brian Clark of Rainmaker on Branding
This is actually a podcast, but it’s worth the listen.
Brian Clark is another one of those marketing industry giants — if you want to learn how to create marketing that really sells, he’s your guy.
In this podcast, he breaks down the nuances of branding (and why authenticity and reputation matter).
Ok, One More by Us — Personal Branding Tips
In the beginning, building your personal brand is just as important as building your business brand.
Maybe more important — especially if you’re freelancing.
Here are our top tips on personal branding from our Architect of Sales Randi Skinner.
Need More Articles on Branding? We’ve got a Ton
If you want to learn more about branding, read our blog. I write about it almost twice a month, which means you just found your nightly reading material for the next six months 😀
And happy branding!