Apple, one of the world's most recognized brands, is known for its value of innovation

Developing a brand strategy can help a business to get more customers and to have an easier time selling. The down side of developing a brand strategy however is the time it takes. Still, understanding your audience, positioning, goals and the benefits of your product or service—all elements of a brand–are crucial for success. There are softer elements of a brand too, which depending on the business can be equally important to understand. Having a clearly defined brand vision and mission can help to propel a business forward. These elements serve to inspire people working at the company—including the business owner—as well as customers. Vision, mission and values speak to people on a human and emotional level, helping people to connect with the brand, and also to develop loyalty.

Developing a clear vision and mission can take some soul searching. Be patient with yourself as you go about defining these elements, and remember, your brand strategy will never be perfected. Perfection isn’t the point. As you create vision, mission, values and personality statements, don’t worry about the words you use as much as the concept of what you are saying. You can go back and edit these statements later. First priority is to understand these elements in conceptual terms.

Creating Your Vision & Mission

Your vision represents the original spark for creating the company, your raison d’etre or reason for being. The vision is the “why” of your business. Your mission represents the expression of what your company will do. (how the why of the vision will be expressed). The mission could be less lofty than the vision, relating more to what you promise to accomplish for your clients. Knowing why you exist as a company—beyond making money—inspires your plans and drives your actions, as well as others. Follow these videos to learn How to write a vision statement and how to  write a mission statement.

Defining Your Values

Your values are  your belief system, which guides your approach.  For instance, let’s say you are a fitness professional, and you value customer relationships, integrity, confidentiality, and helping people to achieve their goals. These values would be seen throughout your business and might be reflected in how you not only market, but how you handle your customer interactions. Apple’s brand values  of innovation, simplicity and ease of use are seen throughout all of their product development and marketing. What are your brand values? List 5 to 7 core values of your business.

Discovering Your Brand Personality

Your brand personality is the tone and style, or attitude, of all communications. To identify your brand personality, create a long list of the emotions and adjectives surrounding your brand. Are you playful or serious; formal or casual; urban or rural? These are just a few examples. All the adjectives that describe your brand –write them down. Next begin to edit, ultimately narrowing the list down to no more than seven attributes so that you can keep your brand message clear. Your brand personality will inform all of your decisions regarding the look and feel of your marketing materials including your logo, website and ads.

Clearly defining these elements will help you to direct all of your marketing materials from your visual identity, to your key messages now and in the future.

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