Imagine you have to ride a show jumping course. You don’t have a course map, the jumps aren’t numbered, and there’s no time allowed. Some fences are tiny, some are bigger – there’s no particular class height. How’s that going to go? No worries, you’re a hard worker. You’ve got this. It’s a bit confusing, but you decide to go in. You start jumping fences in no particular order without knocking a rail and exit the ring. You think you did okay. Hey, someone is clapping. How did you place? Who knows? But you did a bunch of stuff and worked really hard!

That’s social media without branding. You’re doing a bunch of stuff without any sense of direction.

But first, what is branding?

“Branding is the process of giving a meaning to specific company, products or services by creating and shaping a brand in consumers’ minds.” – The Branding Journal

First, you have to define what your brand stands for. Is it high end? Mass-market? If you’re offering services, how do you want to position yourself? As a trainer for beginners or the high end of the competitive market? Define your values, attributes and what makes you distinctive. If you have trouble with this exercise, compare yourself to some brands – are you more Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts? If you were a car, which one would you be? Then extract the values and attributes from those observations. If it’s a product, look at it as a person and give it a personality. Think of this first branding step as getting the “course map”.

Once you’ve got your map, you can start planning how you’re going to ride each fence. All your branding elements and communications need to be consistent with your brand: the logo, the colours you use, the type of images, the packaging of your product, the font, and the voice you use in your copy. Every single piece needs to be consistent with the branding. If it doesn’t reinforce the brand, you don’t do it. If you do, you’ll just be going around in circles or undoing what you’re trying to build.

If you feel stuck developing your business or need help getting on the right track, take a look at our Strategize 360 program.