“What”s a brand? A singular idea or concept that you own inside the mind of the prospect.” – Al Ries
Branding is perhaps one of the most overused and misunderstood phrases of the last 50 years. At its essence – branding is the term we use to encapsulate how your business is perceived in the marketplace.
Every decision you make, every action you or your employees take within your business all contribute to building your “brand”. This is why branding is so critical to the success of your business – and why branding is so much more than simply the colors of your website or the font used in your logo.
Over at Fast Company, there’s an article featured which promises to show you how you can “build a brand like Bond” in just 7 easy steps. Ken Carbone does a great job of dissecting the Bond franchise and sharing the “secrets” to the brand’s success. He points out that the Bond brand is a work in process. As a matter of fact, the Bond “brand” has been providing direction for the film franchise since before the phrase became a marketing catch phrase.
It’s one thing to look back and see all the things a company or film franchise has done “right” in hindsight – it’s another matter entirely to make the decisions on the fly which are necessary to build a truly successful brand.
For a wonderful example of how “hard” those brand building decisions can be – take a look at another branding powerhouse in the film industry – Pixar. The history of the making of The Incredibles illustrates just how important branding is to the decisions you must make as you strive to build not only your business but also your brand.
In the original DVD – the original “vision” of the movie was featured as part of the “added extras” which show a much darker, “adult” animated film.
The original story boards showed a very different movie than the one released in theaters and was diametrically opposed to the carefully crafted Pixar brand. It’s my understanding that making the decision to go back and “rework” the film after production had begun was not only difficult but risky.
Fortunately since Pixar’s management team fully understood their “brand” – they made a hard call to add significant expense to an already expensive process.
Ah – there’s the rub. Building a brand requires making tough decisions and taking risks. The “right” call on behalf of the “brand” may not be the least expensive option in the short run.
Branding isn’t about the short run – it’s about the long run.
The Pixar management team clearly understood the Pixar brand – and as a result they made the right call when it came to the direction of the movie The Incredibles. Over the past half century, the various directors of the 23 Bond films have also had a clear vision of the Bond “brand” to guide their movie making decisions along the way.
But what about your brand? Do you have a clear vision of your company’s brand? Even if you’re “just” a freelancer – are you making the hard decisions needed to build your brand over the next decade? It’s more than just telling a story – it’s telling the RIGHT story. It’s more than defining a visual style – it’s deciding upon the right style.
Creating a powerful brand means having a vision of your business ten years from now and orchestrating everything you do today to accomplish that vision of a distant tomorrow.
If this makes building your company’s brand sound more like planning an expedition to climb Mt. Everest than planning a picnic in the park – that’s good because it’s the truth. Climbing Mt. Everest is not only extremely difficult – it’s potentially life threatening. The same is true of your business’ branding.
With the right guide – and the right vision – branding your business can not only be enjoyable – but profitable.
If you’re looking for just such a guide – don’t look to me but instead look to my branding guru – Rosemary Davies-Janes. I’ve relied upon Rosemary for the better part of two decades to help guide my own branding efforts and when I learned that she was offering a free 3-Part Teleclass Series on branding, my first response was to ask if I could share that info here.
If you’re a small business owner or a freelancer – the information Rosemary has to share about creating your own authentic personal brand is priceless. I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to learn from one of the best in the business.