Guest Post by Justin Bryant, Think Brand Studio
You’re busy, so let’s begin.
Mistake 1: Not acknowledging you have a brand
Brands aren’t just for the Fortune 500. If you’re in business, or are talking to people about your future business, you’re in the process of building a brand. Acknowledge it. Embrace it.
Mistake 2: Leaving brand for later
When talking to startups about their brand, I don’t know how many times I’ve heard “we’ll save that for later” or “that will give us something to think about for another time.” Your brand can’t wait because everything you communicate is affecting your brand. Additionally, the longer you wait to intentionally influence your brand, the more effort and money your influence will cost you.
Mistake 3: Not having a brand strategy
You need to make decisions about your brand such as where you want to take it, who you want to reach and how your brand will be different. You must be able to clearly articulate: 1. Your position in relation to competitors. What makes your brand unique and different? 2. Your target market, as well as who you’re not targeting and 3. Your internal vision for the brand. What will the culture feel like and what is the legacy of your brand?
Mistake 4: Equating logo with brand
Your logo and colors represent your brand, but they are not your entire brand. Respect, but don’t overestimate the importance of your logo.
Mistake 5: Underinvesting
Properly building a brand takes time and money. If you’re not prepared to invest then don’t expect much profit. It’s easy for small businesses to dismiss any comparison to large brands, but everyone started somewhere. Nike, Coke and Target got where they are by investing heavily to build their identity, reputation and brand.
Mistake 6: Thinking you can do it all
You can’t do it all. Sure, technically you can, and sometimes it feels like you need to, but it’s impossible to intimately know the nuances of diverse disciplines such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Public Relations (PR) or Human Resources (HR). Tap into trusted resources, then step back and watch your brand bloom. If you’re not sure where to look for help in building your brand, then start here, here or here.
I’m not going to pretend that it isn’t tough out there, but if you’re thoughtful, intentional and tenacious I think your chances are great. Please reach out if there is something I can do to help your brand!
Justin Bryant is an entrepreneur, a creative communicator and a simple guy. He leads brand thinking and creative vision at Think Brand Studio, where he works on a range of projects for clients such as: Kenyon College, Sherwood Brewery, Hospice of Knox County and Columbus College of Art & Design.
You can follow Justin on Twitter at @JB_Think.