Earlier this month, we headed to Colorado for vacation. My mom is from Michigan, and she warned us before we left, ‘Be careful. You don’t have snow tires.’ My husband and I, both growing up in the South, didn’t exactly understand what they meant. We know it was necessary, but what snow tires were and why we needed them was beyond us.
So, we got to Colorado and were there for a few days before an unexpected snowstorm hit. We left the mountains at 6:00 PM and had 100 miles to get to our Airbnb, which included going up a huge hill. Our car couldn’t make it up the hill. We were slipping and sliding all over the road. We had to wait for our turn for CDOT to come and push us up. We got home at 1:00 AM that night.
I know you understand having a brand strategy is important, but you’re not sure why and what it can do for you. We knew snow tires were important but didn’t have them. What are the implications if you don’t create a brand strategy?
In this post, I will break down the 4 major components of a brand strategy, why each is important, and how to start creating yours. By the end, you’ll be equipped with an overview of these keystone elements.
The four ingredients of a brand strategy are Brand Values, Ideal Client, Brand Positioning, and Brand Personality. They each work together to complete the brand strategy puzzle. You can’t complete the puzzle if you’re missing a piece.
Let’s dive into each one in more depth. Typically order doesn’t matter, but in this case, it is important because they build upon each other.
First is your Brand Values. At CLD, we call this our Brand Promise. These are the underlying philosophies that lead your business.
We point blank ask our Signature Experience clients on the questionnaire what their values are because this isn’t something we can define for you. Brand Values are the North Star that leads your business decisions, who you serve, and how you serve them.
Something we do help with is defining what a Brand Value means to your audience.
For example, one of CLD Brand Values or Brand Promises, as we call them, is Community. We promise to use marketing for its true purpose: to build connections. We believe in the importance of Community, and fostering relationships is the only way we know how to do business. We don’t view our clients as just another number. We build relationships with them.
Next is your ideal client. You have to be able to define who you want to work with. If you can’t clearly define your ideal client, then you can’t attract them.
We do have an all-new, free challenge that runs several times a year. The Find Your First Class Ideal Client Challenge will help them define your ideal client, so you can build everything they need to grow their business with dreamy, higher-paying clients.
Here is what you need to understand about your ideal client.
Having a firm grasp on your ideal client is arguably the most important element because once you understand who you serve, it makes everything in business so much easier. Knowing where to market, what to say, how to structure your services, and even what to price your services at, etc. can be answered better once you know your ideal client. So sign up for the free challenge.
I often see creatives trying to create this perfect mythical unicorn of an ideal client they literally made up in their head. It’s great if you have a starting point and somewhat of an idea of who you want to work with, but you have to root it in reality.
We want to define an ideal client based on actual past experiences. Who have you served in the past that you enjoyed working with? Are there other vendors who you look up to booking dreamy clients? What can you find out about those clients?
Brand Positioning helps you create specific brand messaging and make strategic business decisions based on your target audience and your offering’s main advantages. It’s the hardest and most time-consuming part of the puzzle. Brand Positioning can be divided into two subsections:
You have to be able to look at the competition and see what they’re doing that works and what you have a competitive edge over them. We have a matrix that we use for our clients’ Competitor Analysis. We find the top 3 competitors to where they want to level up to be. And for each one, we have an Advantage column of what the competitor does well, a Disadvantage column of what they lack, or an observation column of what we can do to outshine the competition.
Doing this exercise helps you understand what bake into your marketing. For example, one of our recent wedding photographer clients has a background in wedding planning. She understands timelines and what’s important to wedding planners from a different perspective than most photographers, which she can use as a differentiator and competitive edge when marketing.
Your Differentiators are what make you stand out. As Frankie from The Eventful Gals talked about in Episode 2, her background in crisis management and family trauma is a differentiator for her as a wedding planner. She understands complicated family dynamics and how to handle difficult family situations.
Lastly, is my favorite, Brand Personality. This is how your personality shines through. My favorite way to get your mind right is imagining you’re at a cocktail party. Cinderella-style, your brand magically turns into a person. What does he/she look like? What are they wearing? Is she wearing a short, sparkly cocktail dress or a red pantsuit? Are they at the bar quietly people-watching or in the middle of the dance floor?
We typically assign 4-5 personality traits to our client’s brands. For CLD, our brand adjectives are confident, encouraging, friendly, and strategic. Hopefully, you can see how those personality traits come across on our website copy, Instagram captions – every interaction you have with Carrylove Designs.
I like to tell our clients that we, as human beings, are complex. We have many traits and feelings, but as a business owner, you must choose 4-5 traits to emphasize and bring to the forefront of your brand. Embrace what makes you unique and stand out.
Getting these four elements of your brand ironed out will help you see tremendous growth. Remember to sign up for the Find Your First Class Ideal Client Challenge so you can confidently identify that keystone element.
Every creative CAN grow their business by building their brand. It just takes time to go through and flesh out every element. The good thing is once you start working through these elements, you should see overarching themes and key points that will make it easier as your going through.