Though it is tempting when starting a business to create a plan that focuses solely on finance, budgets, and products, it is first necessary to answer: what is the purpose of this business? If it’s entirely about revenue, you may have a great business opportunity but not a brand. On the other hand, if your business is about affecting an industry, establishing relationships with consumers, and creating a culture, defining your brand is one of the most essential building blocks for your success.
Whether you are starting a new brand or rebuilding an existing one - the best way to begin is by creating a Brand Bible. What this document should communicate, both verbally and visually, is the focus, the flavor, and the personality of your business.
Painting the whole picture requires you to evaluate your business’s strengths and weaknesses, mission, ideals, values, and persona. The final product should be a significant, all-encompassing document that lays out everything you want your business to be and achieve. While finance is indeed part of the business equation, the Brand Bible will not address that. Rather it will address the company’s way of life, its culture. If you’ve created a strong Brand Bible, you will be able to consistently stay in line with what you believe is best for your business, and it will ultimately become the living guide that shapes the work of each team member in the organization.
Because each brand is its own unique entity, we can’t offer direct paint-by-number instructions on what words to write into your Brand Bible. What we can offer is a list of relevant ideas that should be taken into account. Start by considering how some of these questions apply to your business:
- Dreams & Desires: What is your intent in creating this business? What do you aspire your business to accomplish or become?
- Message: What is your short-term mission? And what is your brand’s long-term mission, or massive transformative purpose? Beyond selling a product, how will your brand affect the industry/world/culture? Not all businesses need to encompass such a huge goal, but it’s worth exploring the idea.
- What are you trying to accomplish? What does the product do & how does it feel?
- Who are you? AND Who are you not? This should be a combination of both words and images, showing your brand’s attributes, values, and personality.
- How you stand out: How do you differentiate your brand from the current competition? How does your product or service fit into the world that already exists?
- Know Your Customer: Who are you trying to sell to? What does this person look like? What do they buy? What car do they drive? Where do they live? What is their emotional state? Get specific, have images, create a scrapboard. If your product doesn’t fit with the target consumer you have in mind, this indicates a misconnect and calls for reconsideration.
By addressing these topics, you can begin to formulate the images and words to concretize what your business stands for. Again, this is not an easy task to tackle. But over the next few weeks, we’ll be going more in depth on each of these six topics to guide you as your build the chapters of your Brand Bible.
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