5 Steps to Successfully Launch Your Brand; A Process to Clarity
It's broken but, can it be fixed?
In the fast pace of today's society, lays the ambitious entrepreneur. With the vast and expediency of social media's allure, it's no wonder why so many startups and entrepreneurs are eager to launch their "big idea" into the marketplace as fast as possible. This has proven to be problematic as the business matures and scales due to the lack of establishing brand-clarity across multiple touch-points. It's a hard road to climb once the momentum of sales and customer experiences begin to take shape. Frankly, inconsistent experiences produce inconsistent results.
Seeing your brand is often what people say it is, you can't afford to leave this to chance. It's too risky and the detriment it has can leave a business stuck realizing they need to push the pause button and regroup. Or, in other words - rebrand before they can continue said growth.
The process of branding has a certain 'cadence' and yields fascinating truths about one's business which is foundation and sustains them through their growth. However, as mentioned, this process is often foregone by the business owner in hopes of launching into the marketplace. So....
...a holistic branding or rebranding process tracks through five stages to discover, articulate, differentiate, create, and activate your brand.
Many people know of the individual items in formulation of their business's brand and recognize their importance. However, coincidentally, they are often unaware of how these aspects coincide, or in what order they should be tackled.
So, knowing this - how to fix it, right?! Well, if you've already launched and you're in the thick of it, it's not too late to regroup, rebrand or, simply make the needed adjustments to your positioning. I caution you though. You may need to seek out a professional to facilitate this process depending on where you are, what your business truly needs and what value this creative approach will have on the outcome. None the less, the steps are as follows...
Understanding & Discovery:
This initial phase of the branding process yields data and context. You can conduct a brand audit as necessary to grasp processes, history, mission etc. If you are in the beginning stages of the business you should be defining aspects of the marketing landscape, competitors, and brief analysis. If you're a more established business, your rediscovery should include a deeper set of data points to include: culture, key products or services, customer experiences, existing processes, existing strategies etc.
Clarification & Articulation:
This phase of the branding process yields personality and the potential story to tell. Your target audience, core values, competitive advantage(s), brand attributes, opportunities and threats, strengths and weaknesses, supply chains, and communication channels can all be factored into this phase of clarity. A good rule of thumb is "first we diagnose then, we prescribe."
Positioning & Differentiation:
This phase of the branding process yields uniqueness and your special sauce. Within this part of the process you should be defining your unique value-proposition and how your business will be differentiated amongst your competitors. Your tone and voice of your brand should be defined and how/where these sentiments should be experienced within your touch-points.
Identifying & Creating:
This phase of the branding process yields your brand identity and assets. Up until this point, your branding process has yielded your business its verbal clarity. At this stage of the process, your visual clarity takes form. The visual style, color schema, typography, messaging, iconography, URL, tagline, and product and services creation are all aspects of your brand which will be realized in this phase of branding your business.
Implementation & Extending:
This last phase of the branding process yields how you show up in the world. By now you have accomplished the tasks of Discovery, Clarifying, Positioning, Creating your Identity, and now you are ready to place your business in the marketplace for all to experience. Well, at least your target audience. The communication channels, touch-points and experiences your brand touches should be how you'll implement the identity system into these mediums to include: marketing collateral, online and social media, environmental design, brand standardization guide, events, public relations, textiles, hard-lines, and promotional items.
Congratulations! You're Done.
Well, maybe? At least you have a proper blueprint to ensure your business is both seen and experienced in its most authentic form with clarity, differentiation, and a story that resonates with your customer. The rest is up to you to ensure you remain true to the positioning of your brand - with the understanding, if a time comes where you need to 'pivot', you can do so without compromising the integrity of your brand in the process. Happy Business-ing!