Who's Driving Who?

Your brand is a critical part of your business. It tells the world who you are, what problems you solve, along with intangibles about your business (like the business’s style, persona, and the feeling that your brand evokes in its customers). The brand is derived from the fundamental mission and vision of your business. But all too often we let the pursuit of an interesting, creative brand take the lead. That needs to be flipped on its. head. The brand needs to be driven by your business's fundamental mission and vision.

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In order for your brand to be heard and understood in a relevant way, it must be defined around customer needs and problems and your solutions to them. All too often we think of the brand as those clever, creative brand elements like ads, taglines, and logos. But it’s SO much more! You have to develop a brand that “speaks” to your intended market. To accomplish that, it’s critical that you define the meaning behind your brand in a relevant way FIRST. Before you create all that fun stuff – take the time to carefully define the core elements of your business that lead to a clear brand definition.

You are trying to get to the point where you can proactively share what you want your brand to mean to your target customer. Think about it this way. If you stopped your perfect customer on the street and asked them about your company, what would you hope they would say? The key is to build a compelling “story” that IS your company (not just some cool, creative “thing” your marketing people dreamed up). Or really it’s a story about what you will be doing that benefits these customers. Soooo, where do you start?

Start by reconsidering your business’s purpose; its fundamental mIssion. What’s the fundamental purpose of your business? Clearly define what market you will serve, what problems that market encounters, and how your company will solve those problems in a unique way. This is a soul-searching and a data-gathering (about customers’ needs and about competitors) exercise. One critical element of this is understanding what truly differentiates you from your competition. At the end of this exercise you should be able to state this in a clear and compelling way – with knowledge to back up what you say.

Next, think about your vision for the future. How will your company carry out its fundamental mission over time? How will your business be structured and organized? In short, what will it look like 3. 5, maybe even 7 or 10 years from now? Develop this "picture" with as much clarity as you can.

Now, with these critical elements in place, now you can outline your brand’s definition with a level of confidence. It’s time to boil all that down to a clever, creative way to communicate the brand. Remember, the brand’s tagline and logo are NOT your brand. They are merely a way to cleverly summarize the brand to attract attention/awareness and communicate how the brand will live out the brand statement.

The key point is to define your brand (and indeed your entire business) around the needs of a well-defined target market. Seeing your brand as merely a creative endeavor misses the mark. Your brand is not simply its more visible elements like logos, taglines, and names. It’s tied closely to the company’s fundamental purpose and vision. Without that in the background, your so-called brand is empty and will not be clear or compelling to anyone.

Create a carefully crafted brand statement or brand definition. Describe those fundamental elements of what your company stands for. Explain how the business will go about delivering on its mission. You will be able to identify elements that define your brand. Your logo, your taglines, etc. will be clearly aligned with this solid foundation. And you will certainly know if the creative people you engage step outside the boundaries of those elements. 

In summary, I'm asking you (BEFORE you develop the creative part of your brand) to stop, take a step back, rediscover your core mission and vision, and then derive that smart, clever, cool "brand" from that. Don't let the creative drive your company; make sure that foundation of your company drives the brand. Take charge!


Developing a meaningful compelling brand is critical to your company. I can help you rediscover those core, foundational elements of your business - and develop a brand outline that is derived from them.

Please feel free to reach out and get in touch and let's explore how I can help you and your business succeed. No pressure. Just an informal discussion to explore some ideas. You can reach me at (713) 907-8429 or BCohen@IDiscoverConsulting.com

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