Before you can answer this, we need to strip the question back another layer to define your business in the first place.
What is it that you do?
This should be easy to answer, after all, you’re the one doing the “thing” so list your services but then think about what they actually DO for people. Do you provide email list building services or do you help people to find more clients?
I create logos, branding and also design for print and online but what I reeeeally do is much more exciting! I help business owners to feel more confident about their business because it looks professional – having a business which doesn’t look amateur also helps their clients to have confidence in the business, so it’s all about confidence building and also about brand recognition. Eek! So exciting to help people fall in love with their businesses and WANT to send people to their websites, post out postcards or post out amazing social media graphics. Yey!
So get thinking about this, make some notes and see what happens. Let me know in the comments what it is that actually really do.
Honing down WHO your client is is something I have touched on so many times I am practically boring myself with repetition (yawn!) but actually working it out and knowing who that is is NOT boring at all and is essential if you’re going to target the right people and make sure that your business is something that they will want to invest in.
How do you work this out?
Well, there’s several ways. Here’s a few:
- Check out your stats. Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, Pinterest Analytics, anywhere that tells you anything about the people who are visiting your website, connecting with your business online. There are a wide range of places! For example, my audience on Pinterest is overwhelmingly women from the UK who speak English – however there are also some people from Korea in there which is really interesting! They are interested in food, recipes, art, design (and a whole bunch of other things, which I am mainly interested in too) and also interact with tumblr, wordpress, buzzfeed and hub pages. Great information, especially as I’ve not used Pinterest too much recently. On Facebook, 82% of my fans are women, mostly in the UK, mostly aged 35-44. Google Analytics backs this up, 66% of my website visitors are ladies, mostly 35-44 years old. I coudl get lost looking at all this useful information!
- The non-technical way. Get a large sheet of paper and a list of all your clients. Split the sheet of paper into 4 and label each quarter – a. loved working with, b. hated working with, c. made me lots of money, d. didn’t make me lots of money. Then place each client in the relevant box, or inbetween boxes. The clients in boxes a and c are the ones you want – especially if they are between boxes. What makes them similar? Look at age, location, type of business, gender.
- Slightly more technical but not too tricky! Ask your current clients questions. As above, age, gender, type of business, location – also, what magazines do they read, which programmes do they watch, what do they struggle with, what problem did you solve for them, how would they describe themselves – ask questions which are relevant to what you do and will help you to work out what it is that your clients have in common. You can do this using Survey Monkey or TypeForm, or just as a word document, or even over the phone.
- Once you have collected information through whatever means – collate it. Make a mood board. Write a profile. Draw a picture of your client and give them a name. Collect images on Pinterest. Browse their favourite shops. Get inside their mind.
Yey! So now you know exactly what you do and exactly who you do it for – how do you do it?
Do you do what you do online or in person? Do you have a shop or a salon? Do you use Skype or meet in a coffee shop? Do you spend time assessing their business or finding out about them? Do you give them a plan of action or do you do it for them? Hopefully this bit should be fairly easy too!
For example, I have an indepth discussion with my clients about their businesses which then enables me to go away and create a logo for them which encapsulates their brand and speaks to their audience. This discussion can be in person, online, or on the phone as I have clients in other countries as well as in the UK, it might even be via email if the timezones don’t work. Then I spend time researching, designing and developing and througout the process we communicate, bounce ideas about and I learn even MORE about the business I’m working with. I do what I do FOR the client but with a lot of communication throughout.
Fantastic. So NOW you have defined your brand – you know WHAT you do, WHO you do it for and HOW you do it. Phew! Now it’s a good idea to go a little bit further and consider your business values.
These are important because these are the values that are important to your business. These are the things that DEFINE it. It can take a bit of doing – check out this blog and feel free to use the values printable to help you work it out. Hone down the words to find a handful which are the most important words and which will help your clients to really ‘get’ what you’re all about.
Now you’re done. You know what you do, who for, how you do it AND you’ve made a list of the most important qualities associated with your business.
So – does your brand define your business?
Well, take a look at it. Does it:
- Say what you do. In crystal clear terms, not just the practical what, but the actual what?
- Relate to your clients? Preferably your ideal client. Is it something that they would look at and want to be involved with?
- Explain how you help your client in a way that makes them feel you can really help them?
- Scream out your values? You don’t have to actually list your values (unless you want to) but if you can make sure that your brand screams them out as much as possible!
Here’s some ways to ensure that your brand defines your business. Call this a to do list:
- Design a really good logo and pop it everywhere you can.
- Have a set of brand elements which work to communicate your business values. These could be illustrations, patterns or symbols. Use them to help make your brand image stand out.
- Think about the non-visual ways that you communicate. The words you use, the messages you piut out there, how you say hello to people, your email signature, your voicemail, your staff uniform… how can you make sure that your brand stands out through all of these means too?
- Consider your colour scheme and fonts, the style of imagery you use and the placement of all of these. You’re aiming for a consistent format that you can use again and again.
- Make templates for the things you do a lot. Powerpoint slides, social media images, blog post images…
What can you do today to make sure that your brand defines your business?