Who else wants to build an empire like Apple?
I’ll let you in on a secret.
I want that pull. I want to be able to command an audience and turn my brand into a lifestyle that people cannot live without.
Think about it.
Apple loyalists own more than one Apple product. They have an iPad, a Macbook, an iPhone, and more than likely an Apple Watch. Apple is integrated in almost every aspect of their lives. They live and breathe Apple. They won’t convert over to Android or Windows unless Apple is going out of business. And I can confidently say that Apple isn’t going out of business anytime soon.
Apple has even managed to convince a hardcore Android and Windows loyalist like myself to invest in the new iPad Pro and an iMac.
Now that’s branding.
And that’s the kind of brand I want to build. Don’t you?
If you are an entrepreneur, a leader, or in a position to influence the direction of your brand, this free course is for you.
You got 7 days of incredible value and a lot of learning ahead. You’re going to take something away from each day and be able to apply it to your business. This course is designed to take this abstract term called ‘branding’ and make it applicable, relatable, and functional for you.
But before we get into all of this, I have to clear some things up.
There’s a lot of misinformation out there. I’m sure you’ve Google’d ‘how to brand my business’ or ‘what is branding?’ before. There’s a lot of information out there, but there’s only a handful of right kind information on branding available.
I’ve studied branding for the last 6 years.
I’ve read some of the best books, took some of the most amazing courses, and asked some of the industry pros how to go about not only defining what a brand is, but how to apply it to us little guys in entrepreneur land. I’ve worked with several clients in the year that I ran this business. And in that time I’ve learned how to take some of these bigger branding concepts and apply them to our small, most of the time solo-ran entrepreneurial businesses.
We aren’t Starbucks. We’re not Apple. But there are fundamental building blocks and stepping stones to build the infrastructure you need that will support the weight of building a brand empire of that magnitude.
So let’s clear out some of the nonsense on our first day and get a comfortable, easily digestible understanding of what branding truly is.
Table of Contents
Understanding the Power and Wonder Branding Has to Offer You
Your Brand Is a Mental Model
Highlights, Quick Wins, and Takeaways:
- Branding is not your logo.
- Branding is not your identity (colors, fonts, etc)
- Your brand is intangible. It is a collection of thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories, experiences, and stories. It’s an essence.
- Your visual identity (also called brand identity), is what makes your brand tangible. It’s what allows us to physically interact with your brand.
Understanding the Power and Wonder Branding Has to Offer You.
Branding is not your logo.
Have you ever said this in the block quote below?
I need branding.
Being an entrepreneur, I’m certain you have. In some capacity we all need it. We all need a visual, cohesive look for our business so we look good and make a lasting impression on potential clients and customers.
But when you asked for branding, I know you meant the logo, the fonts, colors, website, business cards—the whole deal, right?
In a very small way you aren’t wrong. Those things are within the category of branding, but they aren’t branding. If I can use the iceberg metaphor, we’re only touching the very tip of it. It’s just above the water enough to let us know it’s there, but we can’t even imagine to what depths and size this thing is going to go.
And therein lies the issue with saying, “I need branding,” and only meaning the visuals.
Brand is not just the summation of your colors, your logo and fonts. It’s more. So, so much more.
Branding is personal.
This branding gem is given to us by the amazing Yo Santosa and I’m going to break this concept down just a little more for you to understand it at the level I do.
Have you ever walked into one of your favorite stores or interacted with your favorite brand and just felt like you were at home? Or felt like you were in good company?
I’ve had this experience countless times at Spencer’s. When I’m surrounded by other grown 20, 30 and 40-somethings staring in awe at the collection of Power Ranger, Marvel, and DC merchandise, I feel at home. I feel part of this community and in good company. I have this gut feeling this store was created for someone like me.
That’s how branding becomes personal.
When you’re able to make your audience feel as though your brand is present in the room with them and make them believe they’re in good company, you’ve tapped into this level of branding.
Branding is invisible.
There’s something going on with you when you interact with your favorite brands.
You can feel these strings being tugged on between your brain, your heart, and your gut that can’t help but wrap themselves up in what feels like this larger-than-life essence in the room.
This too is given to us by Yo, but branding is also the invisible threading that’s not only pulling us into the brand, but playing this inaudible swan song that gets us to purchase over and over again.
Notice how I haven’t mentioned colors and fonts?
In fact, I won’t be mentioning them after today. They only account for so much when it comes to your brand.
You can think of your visual identity as the icing and sprinkles on the cake. It may look nice, but what does the actual cake taste like? When you bite into it, will it be moist? Will it be flavorful? Will it send off the right mixture of chemical balances to satisfy the need for something sweet and tasteful? And that’s how branding works.
It’s just like that cake. It may look nice, but what lies beneath the surface?
You too have the opportunity to create these invisible threads. They aren’t exclusive to the mega brands. And you do this by intentionally and purposefully designing how your brand speaks, what it represents, what it stands for, what it believes in, how transparent it is and allow it to hinge on some aspect of exceptional quality.
We trust people and companies that believe what we believe.Simon Sinek
In today’s business you have to stand for something. You have to represent something bigger than yourself.
Brands are taking stands with societal and political issues and are becoming more integrated with our culture as the days go by. You have to do the same. And when you have a set of core values and beliefs, and when you start representing something bigger than yourself, your audience will begin feeling as though they belong right there with you.
Luckily for you, I’m going to show you how to do that in this course.
Your Brand Is a Mental Model.
Mental models are images, representations, or schemes of how we perceive and understand the world around us. In terms of branding, mental models are the stories, experiences, memories, thoughts, feelings and emotions of how your brand is perceived by the individual consumer.
Simply put: your brand’s mental model is a set of beliefs about your brand.
That’s why brands tend to have these larger-than-life ‘feelings’ or ‘essences’ because they aren’t something we can directly interact with at first.
You have to define what your brand’s mental model is. If your brand’s mental model goes undefined or unrecognizable it prevents someone like me from wanting to not only further learn about your business, but wanting to interact with it altogether.
Your brand’s mental model is a set of beliefs about your brand.
When I walk into Starbucks I expect a smile. When I walk into an Apple store (with a friend for clarification—as of this moment I own no Apple products) I expect it to be clean and for representatives to know what they’re doing. When I walk into McDonald’s (the one time a year I may go), I’m not expecting a 5-star level burger.
These are mental models.
When I walk into Spencer’s I feel at home.
When I walk into Nordstrom’s I want to run for the hills. Not because of anything negative, but my beliefs don’t align with Nordstrom’s and their pricing models don’t always align with my wallet.
My behavior, attitude and opinions are influenced by these mental models too. See how powerful this is? This is why you have to define what it is. It’s a collection of many things, but you can start defining your’s by answering the following:
- What benefits do I deliver to consumers?
- How does my brand stay relevant?
- Is my brand’s pricing strategy consistent with the consumer’s perception of value?
- How is my brand positioned within my market and industry?
- Has my brand messaging been consistent?
- What does my brand’s portfolio look like? (ie Apple — iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch; Google — Google Android, Gmail, YouTube, Google Play, Google Books, Google Maps, etc)
If you’re just starting out these will take time to answer.
But if you’ve been in the game for a little over a year you should have enough material, information and data available to you to answer the questions.
Told you this course was going to be intense. It’s for people like you who want to get into the business of dominating.
You ready to blow it out the water and learn?
Good. Let’s get down to business then and understand your target audience…