THE PROCESS OF ELEVATING MY BRAND (PART 1)
In my last post, I shared some of my thinking behind my website makeover. Today I’d love to take you behind the scenes of my re-brand, and share the process I went through.
When I set up my business back in the winter of 2014, I’d thought I was going to be a solopreneur; offering monthly coaching and online training courses and occasional consultancy on the side. After years of managing large teams, I had zero interest in taking on staff and building a substantial business. But like many of my clients, as I’ve grown in to my business, I’ve become more confident about what I have to offer, where I sit in the market and the message I want to portray.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve made a point of studying the brands I love and respect to understand how they’ve gone from running from the kitchen table to becoming a business icon. I’ve been impressed by the social impact these businesses are having. Whether that’s Marie Forleo whose company has built five schools in the developing world for Pencil’s of Promise (with three more on the way). Or Unilever’s handwashing campaign to encourage school children in the 29 poorest companies to wash their hands at key times of the day.
I realised that if I wanted to make a significant social impact myself, I needed to scale up my business. And that meant significantly levelling up my brand. It was time to up my game. And that meant a thorough and professional overhaul.
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These are the seven factors I considered.
1. The Future Direction Of My Business
I started the re-branding process by getting really clear about what I wanted my brand to stand for. My vision, my mission and my brand values. I went back to my business plan, reviewed these key elements, and updated them to reflect my changed objectives.
2. My Uniqueness In The Marketplace
The value I bring to my role as a business consultant and coach is my extensive experience as a former CEO. As most of my competitors have never run a business before, this makes my experience surprisingly unique in the marketplace. Back this experience up with my training at Cranfield School of Management, the UK’s leading business school and accreditation as a business mentor with the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, and my business has some serious differentiating factors.
3. The World Around Me
I went back to my business plan to review my findings about the marketplace, and updated it with the findings of a research project by Allbright, an education network designed to give investment to female founders.
I also reviewed the analysis I’d written about my key competitors and re-assessed their strengths and weaknesses. I asked questions like:
- How do they differentiate themselves from their competitors?
- What do they do better than their competitors?
- What could they improve?
- What’s their brand style and personality?
- Why is this working so well for their particular brand?
4. My Target Customers
I thought about my differentiating factors – eight years’ experience as a CEO, training at Cranfield School of Management and accreditation as a business mentor with the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship – and considered how these skills could be used to best effect. This helped me to create a new set of customer profiles, and muses, fictional characters to bring my customer profiles vividly to life.
5. My Favourite Brands
I went back to my personal brand icons, and reflected on what I and their customers love about them. Whether that’s:
- The ease, simplicity and exemplary customer service I experience when I shop at The White Company.
- The award winning style and sophistication of the niche Harbour Hotel group.
- The way Anthropologie catalogues are written to tell a story that speaks to their three target customers.
6. What I Don’t Like
When you’re establishing your brand identity, it’s as important to know how you don’t want your brand to look and feel. I wanted my brand to be:
- Authoritative and evidence based; not soundbites, clichés and clickbait
- Polite understatement; not aggressive sales tactics
- Wise words from business leaders and industry experts rather than anodyne inspirational quotes
- Empowering and strong; not obnoxious and overbearing
- Articulate and semi-formal; no slang or profanities
7. My Brand Personality
Channelling a brand archetype is a powerful way of bring your brand personality to life. My brand archetype is the Sage – with a side of warrior. The Sage archetype is regarded as expert, credible, wise, confident, self-contained, reflective and professional. It’s the natural brand archetype for a business and marketing consultancy like mine, and a great fit with my CEO background. And this archetype surprisingly is not used by my competitors.
Start With Your Business Plan In Mind
As you’ve seen from my own journey, many of the elements which go into creating a brand are ones you’ll find in any business plan: your vision, your mission, your values, your market and competitor research, your niche, and your target customer base. If you’re thinking about a re-brand, I recommend you start with these elements first.
On Monday, I’ll explain how this work shaped up to inform decisions about how I wanted to style my brand.
Join The Conversation
Question: Are you undergoing a re-brand or thinking about starting the process? What's kind of impact would you like to make? I love reading your feedback so please do take a moment to share in the comments box below.
Explore These Additional Resources
Did you miss?
- Welcome To My Website Makeover
- The Story Of How I Started My Business - Part 1
- The Story Of How I Started My Business - Part 2
- 7 Business Lessons From My Years As A CEO
Work With Me
I’m Denyse Whillier, a Sussex and London based business coach and consultant. I work with responsible business leaders to build profitable and successful brands that do good, make money and help to change the world. I draw on Built To Succeed™, my proven success system, developed during my 8 years in the trenches as a CEO, to help my clients to achieve their goals.
I’d love to start a conversation about whether we’re a good fit to work together. Simply use this link to arrange an informal Skype coffee chat. There’s no hard sell. Just solid advice and a straightforward, honest assessment of whether 1:1 business coaching (or business consultancy) would be right for you.