People and brands are two of a company’s most valuable assets. So taking a healthy approach in motivating your people to create and activate healthy brands will achieve healthier results.
Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to work on the business, brand and marketing strategies for number of small businesses – consultancies, professional service individuals, start ups and entrepreneurial businesses – where I’m working directly with the founder and creator of the business. There is never a bigger honour (and fear!) than helping someone develop their baby, and they never cease to inspire me.
The principles are essentially the same. Start with your business and brand strategy – vision and values; purpose, belief and behaviour; proposition, positioning and personality – that take into account the customer (relevance), category (market position), competitors (differentiation). Develop a marketing strategy against your source of business. Develop a communications strategy and key messages/proof points. Develop your brand identity and sensory experience, one of which is the ‘look and feel’. Then bring the strategies to life across all of the touch-points.
The process is often not as sequential, condensed into a shorter period of time, without so much writing up of the strategy and crafting or word-smithing – perhaps just a few hours consultation. One started with an idea, another started with brochure, another with a marketing campaign. But, working backwards, forwards, sideways, we end up with a similar brand toolkit to enable coherency and consistency across touch-points and over time. Your toolkit: vision and values; purpose, belief and behaviour; proposition, positioning and personality; key messages and proof points; creative direction for brand identity and communication strategy.
The challenge comes with the decision to merge or separate the founder’s personal brand with the business brand. Questions to consider:
– Are you central to the business and will you always be?
– Will you always be involved in one way or another? Are you likely to sell it off in the future?
– Is your business in a category in which its appropriate to have a personal brand vs a business brand?
– Do you already have a personal and/or professional profile?
– How do your personal values and profile align with the values of your new business? How relevant are these to potential customers and employees?
– What values do we need to dial up/down for the business?
– And what are the implications on how should you behave? In person and in profile…
Food for thought…