Updated: Jan 21
I first tried shooting my shot in brand development in 2009. I was in the final quarters of art school and wanted to christen my fashion marketing degree by helping people who wanted to build brands of their own do so on a level that paralleled the brands I loved and had the opportunity to study in depth. I’d done a number of projects that earned me A’s and the respect of my teachers and peers. At the same time, I was toting four years of business development experience at a Fortune 500, so with that and my graphic designer BFF in tow, I started The Tristan Agency.
Unfortunately, I didn’t do enough market research before getting my Tristan Agency business cards printed because had I dug a little deeper than my instinct for how branding was about to be the wave, I would have realized that branding wasn’t on most people’s radar. My punishment was having to spend too much time getting clients to understand that a successful brand is more than a logo and what you’re selling. It’s about the experiences the brand offers. It’s not just business; it’s personal.
I accepted that the timing wasn’t right and put The Tristan Agency on ice to pursue other interests, while quietly observing social media’s growth and the ways it was forcing everyone with a Wifi connection to brand themselves on some level. But comprehension doesn’t necessarily lead to execution, which is why a solid plan is a must for bringing a brand to life.
Every UR brand development project begins with a business questionnaire that helps the client and I build a sophisticated brand plan that identifies brand goals and strategies for achieving them. This is where brand value is defined, and a roadmap for how to convey that value to potential customers and clients is created. I find that clients are more enthusiastic about their brand once they’ve completed a brand plan. They appreciate the direction and clarity it gives them. If you think you’re ready for the brand plan development stage, keep the following in mind:
It Starts With a Vision
Every successful brand plan starts with a vision of what the brand represents. This includes the brand’s mission statement or purpose. It answers key questions such as, why do you want to do what you’re doing and who are you doing it for?
You Have to Have Goals
Ask yourself what you want to achieve with your brand (outside of financial success) and what steps you need to take to get there. Your brand’s goals should outline how you plan on building brand awareness, what you plan to offer your clients and customers that’s different from your competitors, and how you’ll maintain the credibility and trust needed to maintain long-term support.
Then You Have to Promote
The tools available today for promoting a brand are unlike any other time in history. A brand plan should have promotional strategies for enticing people to give your brand the time of day through engagement and patronage.
Remember, successful branding is about making an emotional connection. In today’s Yelp-heavy climate, how you make people feel can make or break your business. With a solid brand plan, you not only gain a better understanding of what your brand has to offer, you learn the emotional aspects of branding that will help your brand thrive.
Ready to start building your brand's roadmap? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a brief description of your brand idea and request a free business questionnaire to help you get started.