It’s time. Time I tell the truth.
And not a truth I’ve been hiding (after all, my ears and cheeks blush tomato rouge when I hide the truth…just ask my parents). Just one I didn’t want you to know.
It’s a truth no business owner really wants you to know…
Okay, here goes…
I struggled when I started The Write Harle. I’m not talking about the connection building, understanding cash flow, and all that other jazz. I’m not even talking about the creative copywriting and editing I did.
I’m talking about developing a solid process that created consistent content time after time after time. Not just for one client, but for all.
This came down to understanding branding and its full power. Not just how the words came together, but how they brought a business to life. And yes, this is very creative work…but it’s also a beautiful, efficient, and streamlined process centred on communication.
To create brands that connect and convert – however you define conversion (community member, paying customer, etc.) – the following three things will allow your brand…and subsequent content…to have uber impact.
Prioritize Process, Please
Two of the most common misconceptions I come across in developing brands and content are that they are both created “like magic” and that only creative people can develop them.
Both are simply not true.
Brands and the content behind them that are created “like magic” come from a process. One that involves:
- Dedicated space and time to delve into key brand and strategy questions
- Committed individuals responsible for living the brand
- A facilitator to guide the questions, dig deeper in answers and provide insights to possible blind spots.
Ensuring there is a full commitment to WHY the brand is important, the start of this process allows you and your team to gain clear goals, tactics, and tangible examples of how to live your brand. Adding a process to your brainstorming allows your brand to be more than super catchy phrases and cool logos.
It allows you to understand how to live and work with your brand in relation to:
- Your audience
- Your marketing goals
- Your larger business goals
- Your greater personal goals and overall satisfaction.
From this first dedicated conversation, an initial foundation for your brand is developed. A few of the foundation items clients often identify in our first session includes:
- Vision and missions that engage
- Core values based on real actions
- Brand goals and tactics
- Examples of personality and tone in content
Design Clear Review Steps
Having your brand and tangible steps for bringing it to life in place are great…
BUT – if we do not know how each brand piece specifically interacts with your overall company’s marketing and business goals, it becomes a futile exercise in creating a really pretty document.
There are review tools branding specialists provide to help their clients understand what each brand piece is, how it’s used within the marketing plan, along with how to provide revisions, if necessary. How in-depth these reviewing tools are will often depend on your needs and budget. For instance, you can have a full-scale focus group review the brand and provide feedback. This is often required for already established brands looking to pivot or refresh. For new or startup companies, it can be as simple as guided review questions to help you provide feedback for further development.
Clear steps for review ensures fuller alignment both internally and externally with your brand. Best of all – you’ll have the tools to continue to review your brand as you continue to evolve. The result? A sustainable and aligned brand!
Connect Actions to Purpose
Sometimes, businesses have inadvertently used their tangible actions of a goal with that of the vision being created. This can create results… but it usually creates disengagement.
I worked with a client who needed to gain clarity on their company’s vision. In conversation with key members, it became clear that there was a bit of confusion. Rather than a vision that inspired, they were merely a list of actions that supported their goals. This removed the team’s purpose for why they were there. It became an uncollaborative company culture simply because they knew what to do…but not why they were doing it.
When we went through the process of laying the brand foundation, along with what each piece of the brand was for, the team reconnected with why they were there. Their actions became motivated by a clear vision, along with actionable values. Everyone had more purpose to aspire towards their clearly defined vision.
This also allowed the leaders of this organization on how to “walk the talk” not just dazzle with empty words.
Not all businesses need every single piece of a defined brand (it can get right down to the nitty-gritty, friends). BUT, all businesses need to understand what pieces of their brand they do have and how to bring these pieces to life. THIS is what a beautiful process for creating and refining the brand in action does.
So, are you looking to engage more with your brand? Process and strategy could be the very thing that’s missing. Connect to share about why process combined with your brand is the next step in bringing your brand to life.