Building a brand is hard work. To create a compelling handmade brand is even harder! Here at in.cube8r, we work with makers just starting out on their branding journey and so we asked Lynn Power to give us three steps to create a COMPELLING handmade brand.
Three steps to create a compelling brand – with Lynn Power
With the craziness of the past year, many of us are rethinking our careers (and our lives!). If you are thinking of launching your own business, congrats, it’s not for the faint of heart (while rewarding, it’s a 24/7 job). Most people usually start with an amazing product idea. But your ability to scale and succeed usually takes clarity around your brand, not just your product – what it stands for, how it is differentiated, why you matter and what your values are.
I usually recommend that one of the first things you do when you are thinking about launching a business is spend time outlining your brand and articulating it. It may feel a little “soft” to some of you (especially if you are in tech or an engineer), but this exercise should inform just about everything you do with your brand: what products you launch, who you hire, how you behave. You also can’t assume that everyone on your team has the same gut understanding of your brand as you do, so this is a great way to get alignment and focus, and will help immensely as you bring new people on board as you grow.
Here are some basics to get you started.
Three Steps to create a compelling handmade brand
Step 1: Define your brand positioning
Define your brand positioning – one sentence that says what you do and why you do it. Simon Sinek famously talks about defining your “why” so check out his TED Talk for inspiration.
Think about what you would say to someone if you were describing your brand in 1-2 words, in a phrase, a sentence and a paragraph. This helps synthesize the “shorthand” and the vision of what category and business you see yourself in (which isn’t always the literal one you are selling). For example, Netflix may have started in the DVD business, but is clearly becoming an unrivaled content creator.
Step 2: Define your brand values
Define your brand values — the 3-5 pillars of your brand that should never change. These are things like collaboration, sustainability, inclusion, etc. Keep in mind that these are values that you need to truly believe in and you need to make choices. If you have too many it will be hard to truly deliver against them — you want them to be meaningful.
Step 3: Land on a brand archetype
Land on a brand archetype — there are 12 basic human archetypes (a framework based a Jungian principle which has been translated to brands in recent years quite successfully). In fact, research has shown that brands that have clear archetypes outperform brands that don’t. Having a clear archetype helps you figure out your brand behavior and voice. We can all picture a creator brand like apple and how they talk to us, the products they create and how they interact vs. a sage brand like IBM who with their focus on Watson, is much more data centric. If you’re intrigued by archetypes and want to learn more, there is a great book on how to apply them to brands: The Hero and The Outlaw.
Once you’ve defined the brand tenets, it’s time to think about how to apply them to your go-to-market strategy which will help you with creating a content strategy. We use a simple framework called PBEC: Product, Brand, Experience and Community. If you put your brand messaging through these lenses, then you can ensure you will be creating a holistic brand experience. These days, you need to surround the consumer at every step of their journey with another reason to love you if you want to keep your current customers and get more.
I hope these tools help you create a compelling handmade brand. Taking the time to do it right upfront will save you countless hours and agitation later, and set your brand up for success from the start.
Lynn Power is a long-time advertising and marketing executive, formerly CEO of J. Walter Thompson NY. She’s worked on numerous iconic brands over the years including American Express, Clinique, Hershey’s and L’Oreal. She left advertising in 2018 to start a brand consultancy, The HMS Beagle, and has since launched MASAMI, clean premium haircare in February 2020. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or comments.
Want more? The cube fam holds regular discussions on marketing topics just like this and get’s to participate in live workshops with Marketing professionals like Lynn every month for just $59 per month! Find out more about joining the cube fam and start working seriously on turning your hobby into a business!