What makes a brand brilliant?
Cat Archer Underwood owns Coho Digital and is a Winchester-based brand stylist and storyteller. Specialising in entrepreneurs who build their businesses online, Cat helps them to work out what makes them special and unique, then how to communicate it through words, visuals and brilliant branding.
While there’s no magic elixir, giant red ‘activate’ button nor secret formula you can buy online to get a brilliant brand, I can promise you that it really isn’t a dark art & truly can be leveraged by entrepreneurs & small businesses.
In fact, your brand is one of your greatest assets. I’ll tell you why it is shortly - first let’s just clarify what a brand even is.
What is a brand?
Your brand is an instinct, a feeling & an experience. It’s a promise you make of how it is to buy from you & work with you.
It’s deeper than your logo, because it endures: your brand remains long after you’ve worked with someone, just as much as it’s their very first impression.
A popular definition is from the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos: “your brand is what others say about you when you’re not in the room”.
What makes a brand brilliant?
This is the key to everything & is the founding principle behind everything else below. It’s the difference between looking pretty & actually making an impact.
2. Knowing you & your business
It may sound obvious, but when you’re in the throes of running your business it’s not always easy to see it clearly. Knowing WHY you do it, the strengths & weaknesses of your business, your values & what you bring to the table is integral to brand brilliance.
3. Knowing your ideal client
It can feel frightening to niche down. But it’s far better to be known for excellence in in a particular thing, than not known for anything in particular. Focus on who you love working with & what they value most.
4. Creative & visual
Your creative should be unique, impactful & true to everything you stand for. If you want to come across as fun & quirky - there are ways you can do that with colours & visual style. If you design with intention, visuals like your style of photography play a significant role too. Colour psychology is a fantastic framework to guide this process - it’s the only way I’ll work now.
5. Incisive messaging
If you’re clear, consistent & cohesive with what you offer, what problem you solve or what ambition you help bring to fruition, your prospects are clear too. Clarity leads to trust & trust leads to buying.
As a lover of books, I can well attest to the fact that human nature is fundamentally drawn to stories. Believe it or not, hearing a story is scientifically proven to increase oxytocin! (the happy hormone).
Why your brand is your greatest asset
Your brand can be the difference between a customer staying a while on your website, or carrying on with their day without a second glance. It can elevate your business to charge a premium value, or attract precisely the people you most want to work with.
93% of first impressions are non-verbal & a brilliant brand will do the talking for you
You in person can’t be ‘always on’. If your brand truly reflects how it is to work with you, it means prospects & clients can experience you even when you’re not there
Your brand truly can foster confidence & a sense of elevation: if you brand your biggest vision for your business, you naturally step up & into it
Being a small business or entrepreneur, it’s actually easier to stay on-point & cohesive, because there are fewer people to dilute your message
Become a destination brand & you reach the holy grail for small businesses & entrepreneurs. It means the very people you desire most will SEEK YOU OUT.
Branding really isn’t the reserve of the big boys! While it’s not something you’re going to totally nail overnight, I can promise you a clear, incisive & compelling brand is within the reach of small & local businesses. Half of it is simply taking the time to step back & think, which costs nothing other than time.
So permit yourself to get inspired by your possibilities - & think big!