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I have seen brand-related content and conversations dramatically increase over the last year or two. Entrepreneurs and leaders are recognizing that, in a crowded marketplace, their brand is one of the key elements that can set them apart from the competition.
But the word “brand” (and the education and resources surrounding it) are still quite nuanced – it can mean different things to different people. This is why I want to share with you the two essential components of a brand to help set up you up for success in 2022 and beyond.
To put it simply: brand = strategy + communications.
And taking that one step further, your brand is your essence. It’s the story of who you are, what you do, who you do it for, and why. It’s the reason why people should choose you and love you.
(Now you can understand why it’s such a hot topic right now!)
Let’s break it down:
Brand strategy is your business strategy through the lens of a brand. It is the strategic (and hopefully soul-infused) direction that sets the stage for how you want your business to show up in the world. It doesn’t just tell the story of how to use your logo, it tells the story of your purpose, vision, values, and mission. It tells the story of the role your team plays in living your brand from the inside out, and of how your purpose connects with your clients’ dreams and values.
It puts context, focus, intention, and clarity around your business, making sure it tells the full story of all the goodness and expertise it holds.
It is, I believe, one of the most critical pieces of your business. And unfortunately, way too often overlooked.
It’s overlooked because people get excited about the “yang” to its “yin”… brand communications.
Brand communications are all of the ways in which your brand (and business) strategy is brought to life – visually, verbally, viscerally. It includes your logo, colours, fonts, website, photography, videography, content & messaging, social media & marketing tactics, your products & services, and client experience.
If brand strategy is the inward reflection, then brand communications is the outward expression.
When you think about it that way, the “expression” part is hard to do without that inward reflection. Possible, yes, but likely less authentic or resonant.
It’s like meeting a beautiful, well-dressed person who is lacking substance or purpose.
It’s like having clear, sparkling mountain water trickle down without a riverbank to channel it in one direction.
It’s like jumping into a hot, shiny car for a roadtrip… without having a destination in mind.
So what does this mean for you?
It means that before you jump into the creative, outward expression of your brand & business, take some time to reflect on who you truly are. What’s your business’ purpose, vision, and values? What do you offer, and for whom? What aesthetics, words, and voice captures these elements? And how do all of these pieces work together as one larger system to communicate the fullness and brilliance of you?
Taking time to really think about these things might delay the kickoff for your creative projects, but I can tell you that they will go much faster and smoother when there is intention and clarity.
Growing a purpose-driven business takes time, energy, and effort, but the results are so worth it – when you’re proud of how you’re showing up, authentically living your values, and having the right people find you, see you, and love you.
Wishing you all the brand success in 2022 and beyond!
Here are a few short videos I made for added context:
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