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By Goldie Chan

Branding is the most important part of your marketing strategy, without a recognizable brand, potential customers won’t know who you are.

The Nike tick, and the McDonalds sign are two of the most popular logos in the world. But there’s much more to a brand than a logo, colours and a slogan. Branding gives your audience insight into who your organization is outside of its corporate name. Therefore, a brand framework that gets results must answer five critical questions, and it starts with defining the vision for your brand. Once you are clear about the direction you want to take, everything else falls into place. But without a firm foundation in place, you’ll find it difficult to build. If you want to crush your company goals, start by developing a powerful brand framework that will guarantee results.

1) What is the Vision For Your Brand?

Start with the end in mind, think about where you see the company five, ten, and fifteen years from now. Please keep in mind that a vision is not strategy, at this point, you are not working out how to get to your destination. You are defining where you are now and where you want to go. Here are seven steps to help define your vision:

Step 1: What Are Your Goals? What do you hope your company will achieve?

Step 2: What Are Your Values? Define your values, it can be a sentence such as, “Adding a creative edge to education.” Or, words such as, “communication” and, “innovation.”

Step 3: Build Your Mission Statement: Your vision is an extension of what you are currently doing; therefore, build on your mission statement to further crystalize your vision.

Step 4: Make it Measurable: Dreams without deadlines will remain dreams. Put a deadline on the things you hope to achieve. A five or a ten year plan is a good place to start.

Step 5: Be Specific: Being wishy washy won’t get you very far, you can compare it to wearing a pair of glasses that are too weak for your eyes. You won’t be able to see anything. When you know exactly what you want, you are better able to aim for it.

Step 6: Think Ahead: Pay attention to the changes that are taking place in your industry and plan accordingly.

Step 7: Keep it Simple: Be as ambitious as you want, but keep it simple. Refrain from over defining your vision.

2) What is the Voice of Your Brand?

Have you ever answered your phone without looking at your caller ID but recognized the persons voice immediately? That’s because you’ve spoken to them so many times that you know what they sound like. That’s what your brands voice should be like. What you say and do should be so consistent across all channels that your customers immediately know it’s you when they come into contact with your brand.

3) What is Your Brand’s Story?

Every brand has a story, it gives your audience deeper insight into what a company is about, and the motivation behind why it started. Brand stories are important because we all remember a good story. It helps build an emotional connection with your audience especially if it’s inspiring and heartfelt.

4) Who is Your Target Audience?

Defining your target audience is the key to success. When you know exactly who you’re selling to and why, it is a lot easier to reach potential customers. For example, a nursery will want to target mothers and families with toddlers. Therefore, all advertising should be targeted towards this people group.

5) Who Are Your Competitors?

Regardless of the industry, there will always be competition. The good news is that competition can work to your advantage if you study them the right way. One of the best ways is to evaluate their bad reviews. In this way, you get to find out what they’re doing that their customers don’t like. You can use that as a marketing tactic to gain potential customers based on giving them what you know they want.

If you want to build a brand that performs, see a return on your investment, and gain a competitive advantage in your industry, the first step is developing an effective brand framework. We are living in an era where consumers demand authenticity, and the most effective way to deliver this, is through the right branding.

Feature Image Credit: GETTY

By Goldie Chan

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I’m a personal branding expert, keynote speaker, creative and cancer survivor. I’m known as the “Oprah of LinkedIn” and one of…. read more

Sourced from Forbes

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