small business brand messaging

12 Questions to get you started on branding your business.

It’s not always easy to know what your brand should say. Or maybe you think it doesn’t matter. Who wants all that extra work anyway, right? I’m here to tell you that if your business is important to you, like mine is to me, then it matters.

Maybe you don’t mind generic, thoughtless brand messaging. Many people purchase mindlessly, without any thought of the person behind the business or what they stand for. It’s not judgement, it’s just a fact. I’ve equally as guilty of just buying what I need without thinking about who’s selling it to me or what their values are. I can tell you that it happens a lot less often now that I run my own business.

I’ve hijacked twelve questions from my Brand Creation Questionnaire that will help you on the road to focusing your brand messaging. You get the whole shebang when you schedule a branding consultation with me.

Think about your message.

What is your positioning statement?

Similar to a mission, but more specific to your offerings. My positioning statement might be something like …

“I offer the best value in brand development and digital marketing for micro and small businesses.”

What is your benefit statement?

What is the benefit you offer your customers? Does your service or product save them money? Increase ROI? How are you helping your target audience?

What is the biggest statement you want to make to your audience?

Your positioning and benefit statements are more for you and your internal peeps. It’s how you stay consistent in your messaging.

This is what you would say directly to your customers. Pretend you’re speaking directly to a small group of people who are your exact, perfect customers. What do you want them to know about your brand that sets you apart or makes you the perfect solution to their problem. HINT: This should be uber simple and personal.

Think about your brand’s personality.

What are five brand attributes?

These can be anything, but in my questionnaire I’ve targeted twelve very specific attributes. A few of these are sporty vs elegant, abstract vs literal and friendly vs authoritative. Think of a couple more similar comparisons and see which apply to your brand.

How would you describe your brand if it were a car or a food or a person?

I’m not kidding. Try describing your brand as if it were alive or had very specific personality traits or qualities. For example, you might pick sumptuous and flirty for a luxury lingerie brand.

Think about who you’re talking to.

Who are your customers?

Not just the usual demographics like age, salary and level of education. Think about what they love to do in their free time. How do they spend quality time with the people they love? If you want more help with this you can download my Customer Avatar Workbook to get really in depth.

How do you improve their lives?

Simple. Think about how your product or service makes their life easier. What problem does it solve? What does it allow them to do that others might not?

Plan ahead.

What are the biggest challenges your brand faces today?

Maybe you’re just starting out and your cash flow is a little on the tight side. Or you’re growing a bit and are a bit scared to take the next step. What ever it is, identifying it is the first step in solving it. Solving your biggest challenges can also help you identify with your customer base as human.

Where do you see your brand in five years?

If you define these goals today, it can help you decide whether the brand direction you’re taking is going to be sustainable five years down the road.

How much do you realistically have to spend on marketing?

I work with businesses and organizations that have dedicated marketing budgets and I work with sole proprietors who are pinching pennies well into their fifth year. Knowing where you’re at financially can help you focus on what parts of branding are most important. If you don’t have lots of funds then maybe you have to scale your branding rather than buying into a huge package deal.

Think about the next year.

Are you planning on representing your brand at any large events?

Trade shows, speaking engagements, etc. All of this requires identity pieces and literature.

What collateral will you need to effectively market your brand there?

At trade shows you will want business cards, email collection sheets, information pamphlets / brochures and probably some fun promotional goodies. Will you have a store front where you’ll have informational brochures and promos out for customers to pick up? Do you need head shots to pass out with your contact info at speaking engagements?

Take some time to put it all together and find a partner.

Once you’ve answered all of these questions you might wonder what the hell you’re supposed to do with all that information. First, put it away. Take a day or so to let it settle. When you go back you can have a look with fresh eyes.

Finding a marketing consultant (a.k.a. someone like me) can also help you sort it out and organize it into actionable tasks. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I always offer my first brand consultation free of charge and commitment. Like I said, your business is important to you and I get it because mine is important to me.