Hey, how long does this take, this branding thing? Many new business owners have this question. They think it’s just a task they need to finish. Wrap it all up and it’s good. But honestly, it doesn’t work this way. Branding is a journey that never ends. You only get better at knowing your path. Where will this path take you? Read on to see the 3 stages of a branding journey.
Stage 1: branding work upfront
Building the base
The development of your brand is seriously the most exciting phase. Many businesses though take the shortcut because the don’t want to invest the time and money to build a strong base for their brand. Now is the time to figure out the core of your brand, your brand foundation. This entails getting clarity on your brand values and what you want to stand for, as well as researching the market to clarify your position. Read more: The importance of a solid brand foundation.
Creating your signature
It’s also the time to do your brand design (logo, images, website, packaging), building a voice (content, communication) and planning your brand strategy (where do you want to go and how to get there). These are the elements of your brand people will recognize you by.
This first stage is important if you want your brand to persist a long journey and be successful. There are courses out there which promise you to tackle this step in 48 hrs but I think this doesn’t work. There are no shortcuts in branding. To create a strong brand in this first phase will take you a couple of weeks to tell you the truth but it will pay off.
Stage 2: In the branding loop
After the upfront work, you will get to the loop. This is the phase where you start to implement the things you learned and created in stage 1. You start to put your brand out in the world and you want to gain visibility and grow your audience. That’s the loop because you have to repeat things, do them over and over again to be recognized. As a matter of fact, the loop never ends. Stage 2 is a constant stage.
Showing up and telling your story consistently is indispensable for being recognized. Using your brand foundation as a guideline will help you to do so. If you want people to listen, you have to preach your values everywhere you get in touch with your audience (social media, blog, shop …).
Review + tweak
You already planned your strategy in stage 1 of your branding journey but you never know what actually works until you do it. Reviewing your brand and your strategy to see what is efficient and what didn’t go as expected + tweaking accordingly is a never-ending process.
It’s never enough to just put your product on the market and tell people to buy it. You have to gain their trust. In order for people to trust you, you have to provide value and build a relationship with them. Building relationships takes time and your audience won’t trust you overnight.
Stage 3: The future path
Stage 3 of the branding journey is the add-on phase. When you brilliantly mastered the first phase and you’re doing well in the second phase, then you are ready to take your brand one step further.
Building long-lasting relationships with your audience and gaining their trust is hard. It won’t be enough, though. You can’t just sell them the same thing over and over again. It’s important to stay relevant to them. Your brand needs to evolve and to adapt to changes in your niche. Be innovative and regularly come up with new things to keep your audience interested.
I would be interested in hearing what stage you are in with your brand? Tell me in the comments.