One of the benefits of branding is clarity. Clarity is what happens when you spend some time thinking about your business and understanding what it is that you’re all about. Clarity comes through thinking and deciding and finding the magic that makes your business unique. It’s there, honest.
How do you find that clarity?
By asking questions. Putting in the time. Working on your brand (that intangible understanding of your business that other people have. Their experiences, memories, perceptions and emotions – how they’ve interpreted the message that you put out there.)
I’m not saying it’ll be easy – it might be, it really depends at what stage of clarity you’re at, but you’re aiming for the full falalalala effect of KNOWING.
Certainty gives clarity. When you know your values and your personality and you’re sure who your audience is. This is the stuff that helps you get focussed and leads on to the other benefits of branding. Clarity is the first step.
What do you need to know?
There are loads of questions you could ask to help you gain clarity on your brand.
Why do you do what you do? I don’t mean because you can work around the kids, or because you wanted freedom – I mean why THAT thing? What is it about the thing that you do that means you’re doing that? You could have changed your mind, gone off and done ANYTHING. So why didn’t you? What’s the pull? Do you want to make a difference? Create a bit of magic? Show children that they’re loved? Bring families together? Have an international impact?
What is your big dream? What does success look like to you? Who do you want to be known as? Are you happy where you are or do you want to make sure no child gets left out? Do you want to share your gifts with those in your locality or with the whole world? Do you want to create employment? Prove that working with children and animals is actually a good idea? Travel the world? Only work seasonally? What’s your big idea?
Who is your audience? How old are they? What do they care about? What do they really want for Christmas? What time do they go to bed? What timezone are they in? Do they have an open fire or are radiators their heating of choice? How big is their stocking? Who else do they live with? What’s the code for their burglar alarm? Do they believe.. in you?
Where do you fit? In your industry are you similar to anyone else? Do you stand out or blend in? Are there copycats? Are people talking about anyone else? In a line up would you be identifiable? How do you categorise yourself?
What are your values? What matters. What really matters? Who matters? Do you have staff who matter? How can you show your audience that they are really important? Do you read each and every letter to make sure that everyone gets heard? Do you make sure you eat the mince pie each time so that no one is offended? Is it important to take care of your fleet so they can operate at maximum speed? Do you show generosity to your staff? Perhaps you fill the staff room with candy canes and provide them with stripy uniforms?
What about your personality? What makes your brand more human? Can your audience relate to you? Do you hand wrap? Hand deliver? Do you have a big laugh or a big appetite? Do you tell jokes? Do you leave crumbs? Are you a giver? Do you tidy up after yourself?
Take Christmas. We all know what makes Christmas.. Christmas. It’s probably a little different to everyone. Halls decked with holly, glad tidings, figgy pudding… going to church, sticking a big tree in your living room and hanging things on it, getting to know your postman on first name terms, helping others, a big meal, the Queens speech, exchanging gifts, singing loudly, mulling wine, childhood memories, crackers, giving more to the food bank, visiting your kids school more in one month than the whole of the rest of the year, baby Jesus, stringing lights all over the place, making lists, wondering how on earth you’re going to last until bin collection day, watching films that you would never watch in August, magic.. showing people how much you care, Santa Claus..
If you can have as much clarity on your business as you have on what makes 25 December, Christmas – for you, then you’re on the way to developing a strong brand with all the feelings of comfort and joy that brings.