Today I'm going to discuss two big reasons why taking the time to develop a brand strategy matters.
Impression and recognition.
I think it's important to start all discussions about brands with one reminders: a brand is not your visuals or words, a brand is how your customer or potential customer sees you. You cannot define your brand. Other people define it. HOWEVER, you can purposefully, and kindly, use visuals and words to help people to understand who you are, what you do, and why you do it. And that, is what makes a good brand. A good brand is created by using you're visuals and words to accurately reflect those things, and accurately communicate that to others.
And that's why you need a strategy.
My first job out of Uni was at an art college. The nerd that I am, I was always really interested to speak with students about their dissertations. My second year at the art college I was speaking to a student who was researching and writing her dissertation about packaging and the sustainability of it all. As we were deep in discussion, she admitted with a laugh that even though she was researching it and aware of how it affected people's decisions, she was just as impacted by the visuals on a box as other people. In fact, she was in Boots the other day and totally picked up an item because of the packaging.
And that’s because, we make decisions based on our feelings. Even if we are hyper-aware of the facts, feelings play a role.
Whatever way you slice and dice it, you cannot separate feelings from decision making. So no matter how good your product or service is, how you make people feel matters. And people decide how they feel about you, in their first 10 seconds of seeing you.
It takes 10 seconds for someone to form an impression of your business.
So what does that mean for your business? Well, it means your brand - which is how your customer sees you - is formed in those first 10 seconds. Which makes whatever it is that someone is coming into contact with, your website, your business card, your Instagram bio, really important! What you don’t want, is to give someone the wrong impression. But that’s very easy to do, if you haven’t sat down and consciously decided the way you want to make people feel. If you haven't made those decisions, you’ve missed a massive chance (and possibly harmed your chances of) connecting with the right people. First impressions matter, and a brand strategy gets you to focus on delivering clear and thoughtful signals that help guide the right people's feelings.
While it only takes 10 seconds for someone to form an impression, it takes 5-7 times of seeing that business for them to properly recognise you as a brand.
You know when you hear about something new, and then continuously have that thing pop up all over the place? Maybe it’s a song, a word, a news article, whatever it is. You could say that’s cosmic destiny. Or you could say it’s because we tune out lots of what we see, but once we recognise something, then we start noticing it more. But to be recognised, you've got to be present and consistent.
When you define a good brand strategy, you define how to graciously give out your signals, knowledge and purpose across everything you do. That makes for a consistent and smooth experience for your audience. It guides them along a course they want to be on, because they’ve been aware from the get go of what you are all about.
And brand recognition matters - alot. It will feed your growing business, not to mention your belly, in the now and crucially, in the future. When I first come into contact with a business, I may not need what they’re offering. But if they stay in my vision in a consistently helpful way, I’m likely to remember them when either I need that service. Or even better, I might remember them when someone I know needs them. Then I'm recommending them without having used their service, but just because I recognise them for who they wanted to be recognised as. You can’t get away from that being powerful. That’s a long term foundation for gaining happy customers.
If you’re now feeling like, oh boyyyyyy, I really need a brand strategy! It's okay, you're not alone, and I can help! In fact, if you're ready to get started, you can download the free guide Grow Your Brand. If you're not sure who you should be giving feelings to, or what those feelings should be, this guide will take you through all of the steps you need to figure that out and come out with clear and concise messages you can use in your business to grow your brand.
Everyone can grow a thriving brand! But you need to set time aside to really think deep, and lay down a strategy that works for you.
If you want to continue the conversation on this, join me over on Instagram!