We’re living in a 21C new world.
I call it Business Unusual. Because we’re all having different kinds of conversations across more platforms than we could ever imagine….
Some days, we’re not even quite sure how we’re going to manage our messaging – and keep it on target, consistent and, of course fascinating. (You know that feeling, right?) I do!
So taking a close look at your brand and the story you tell – as well as the messaging you put out to the world – is one of the best ways you’re going to catch (and capture) people’s attention today.
How do you do that? Through doing a a brand audit. It’s going to give you all the information you need to be more recognized and seen by the people you most want to see you…
The best part? This is really about your strategy for Your Brand 2015 – because the art of communicating you are who you say you are has never been more critical.
Understand that building your brand is going to be your most competitive advantage in 2015.
Recognize that we’re all wired to connect with others on an emotional level.
Doing a brand audit in January is going to help your message resonate and hit home with people, particularly if you share that you are who you say you are.
A New Brand Landscape is a philosophy of self awareness designed to help you identify and recognize who you are – so others can. In such an over-competitive marketplace, this is one of the most effective ways of making sense of the unpredictable changes going on, turning the lens inwards on your unique value, embedding your unique energy into your business brand – and then…. ah-ha…being willing to show up in a more mindful, and authentic way
FYI One of the most common issues that keeps coming up in conversations with clients is: how can I best communicate who I really am on this new brand landscape? How can I speak in my own voice so others know exactly who I am, what I stand for, and why anyone should give a damn?
This is exactly the level of self awareness that is going to shape your brand, your story and your reputation going forward.
OK Take a look at the info-graphic below: It will help you start re-imagining and reframing the way you think about your brand. It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking to close more sales, stand out in the marketplace, build a community or looking to kick start your business… It will help your potential audience understand who you are and what you stand for.
1.) Brand Audit: An Un-Biased Evaluation.
Because every healthy, highly-functioning brand wants an Audit.
You get regular checkups with your doctor, right? Well, ditto your brand. This is where you go in and pull back the layers, find out what’s really going on behind your brand and story, where it hurts and what’s getting in the way…
Where to start: Believe it or not, there are always invisible clues staring you in the face. Keep looking because this is where it gets interesting. The last thing you want to be doing is shooting yourself in the foot when it comes to your brand and business.
Ask yourself: is my messaging communicating who I am, what I do, why it matters and why anyone should give a damn? This process is really about bringing more meaning and purpose to the business table. How willing are you to evaluate, assess and tweak the kind of messaging you are sending out to the world, 24/7?
Take away: Look for the clues that are doing your business a disservice. Ask your colleagues for their honest feedback. If your site communicating the message you want out in the world? Does it reflect you, and your own unique value? And is it obvious and clear what your purpose is? Take a long look…what are you coming up with?
2.) Brand Story: Why you do what you do.
Because every healthy brand loves a well-articulated & irresistible story.
This is where you look at YOUR WHY. Because understanding your WHY will give you all the clues you need to create a meaningful story. PS Here’s another blog post that will help you craft a meaningful story about you, your business and your brand.
Let’s face it: This is about coaxing out your creative essence and getting right to the heart of your brand. Ask yourself: Does my brand have heart Y/N? (What’s your answer?!)
Where to start? Start tapping into the reasons why you’re working at what you do. Or why you started your business in the first place? I bet you have a remarkable ‘back story’ that would fascinate people. As in: share something about you that they’d never be able to know. Articulate that story. Make it personal – be creative and courageous, too.
Ask yourself: This is about making human connections through your story. How willing are you to tell your story_ as in: the story you don’t normally share with others? Does your current brand story keep your audience at arm’s length? Or does it help people understand exactly who you are. It’s a good feeling to allow others to understand YOU… Are you allowing that connection to happen?
Ask yourself: Are you willing to get out of your comfort zone? Actually open up just a little so others can get to see you, know you, like you — and trust you. Because that’s when people open up their wallets — and buy from you.
On a personal note: When I started sharing my story of being a Dutch sea captain’s daughter, for example, I was amazed at the reaction… People seemed to have trouble remembering my name but they had no problem remembering the Dutch sea captain’s daughter. Why? Because it’s a potent, visual picture that tells a story …and lands a spot in their psyche.
OK I know: that’s not exactly getting myself out of my comfort zone. But there’s a whole big story around that: As in, I learned how to see the horizon even in stormy weather. When I started sharing the ups and downs in my story, it resonated more with readers… See the difference?
3.) Brand Identity: Are you who you say you are?
Because every healthy brand longs for a fascinating identity.
We live in a design-driven culture. So you better get used to the fact that design is here to stay! If you’re not paying attention to the design aesthetic around your business, you’re going to be hurting the bottom line.
Where to start: Understand there is nothing more compelling or important than building a brand identity that helps you show up like you mean it. Our brains are wired to pick up on visual imagery. We are, at heart, visual storytellers.
Ask yourself: Is my logo, color palette and language inviting, warm, energizing — or is it making people want to look the other way? (Believe me. Sometimes I take one look at a business card someone has handed me, and I want to cringe. Because the color, font or the design – is about to suck all my energy. Not a good business strategy.)
Ask yourself: Out of 10, what kind of score would I give my current logo, site, marketing materials? Would this material stop me in the street and make me… gasp?! If you can’t holler HELL YES to that question, well… I’d suggest you think about what kinds of design excite you and make you want more…
4.) Brand Transformation: Why what you do matters.
Every healthy brand adores fine-tuning along the way.
Your brand is never static. It’s not just your logo. Or your tagline. Or the color of the uniforms your staff wear. Or the color palette on your website. Your brand is a living, breathing organism that needs regular monitoring, checking in and keeping things on track.
In this final step, think about WHAT you do and why that matters. Why your audience/tribe should care about buying from you or signing up with you or visiting your site (online or off.) This is about paying attention to bringing as much energy and mindfulness to your brand so it feels alive, engaging — and totally authentic.
If you still think your website as a kind of ‘static holding place’ that really has no significance in the scheme of things, you are making a big mistake. Everyone is checking your website –before they contact you. Before they choose to work with you. It’s the energy you create around your site and online presence that is now the determining factor as in: whether people decide to work with you, or not.
Ask yourself: Rather, ask some of your favorite clients/colleagues for some seriously-honest feedback. As in: What kind of feeling do you pick up when you go on my site? Does my online brand communicate what I am really like? What we really do? And the unique value I really bring to the table? Listen to the answers carefully.
If you’d like a little help around getting your brand audited, there’s an option of booking a 75 minute session with me, check it out here:
In my Brand Audit, we’ll zero in on exactly what your brand most needs to it land a spot on the new brand landscape:
Business Strategy: We’ll look at how to manage your reputation so you show up like you mean it. We tap into what makes your customer’s brain tick so your brand message can better relate & resonate with them.
Creative Storytelling: Let’s look at how to craft your own messaging with exactly the right tone, voice and language. (You’ll never keep your audience at arm’s length again.)
Brand Marketing: How to amp up your Emotional Intelligence (EQ), strengthen your relationship with your audience and create more trust so they’ll be your raving fans forever.
Emotional Intelligence: How keep you audience leaning in closer – hearts beating, eyes gleaming. How to monitor the kind of messaging your brand is communicating 24/7. Reality check: Your brand is sending out subliminal messages and invisible clues whether you know it or not.
Any questions about the process? Get in touch and we can continue the dialog: email@example.com. Or say hello on twitter.com/maryvandewiel.
And please comment below on how you best evaluate and assess your business brand. Love your insights, as always!
Jazzed and zingingly yours,