Branding. Do we need it? How do we find ours? What is it actually good for?
All of these are great questions to ask yourself. When it comes to Leadership, stepping into your brand is a great way to shout out to the world, and to your team that you are ready, capable, and willing to lead them to success. Even so you might thing the logos and websites and all that jazz are important (and they are) they don't even slightly hold a candle to the powerful statement that comes with branding. This statement that says,"I am a Leader, this is what I represent, this is what I have to offer you.
Before you get to the fun stuff, you need to get thinking about what it is that you want. What do you want your brand to convey? What kinds of leaders do you want to be on your team? What kind of team culture do you want to have? With my own brand, I wanted something that conveyed instant fun and laughter. When people find out my business name, it's very rare that I don't get a good chuckle out of them. So you have to think about the emotional impact you want to have with your brand.
STEP 1: FIND YOUR WORDS
In thinking about the feelings or emotions you want to create with your brand, make a list of words you would want to use to describe it to someone. I was working witha leader on my team recently and she was looking for a brand that conveyed fearlessness, strength and building a powerful organization. These words evoke a specific emotion and cater exactly to the kind of leaders they desire.
Who do you want to work with? Do you want to work specifically with moms? Think about the words that you would use to describe the type of moms you would want on your team. Here are some examples:
Be sure that the words also describe how YOU want to be viewed. With the brand I created, I play at the stigma of being a crazy oil lady, and validate that they probably think I'm a weirdo right off the bat. Whatever it is you are looking to create, you have got to find the words. Once you have them all picked out, then you can start playing around with them, and figure out if you want to add in oil related words.Try to put together at least 4 or 5 options that you really like. Once you have done that, it's time to move on to your second step in creating your brand name.
STEP 2: FIND YOUR DOMAIN
No matter what name you decide on, you have to look it up online to see if the domain name (ex. www.yourbrandname.com) is actually available. If it is NOT available, you've gotta work with some of your other choices. What if you don't want to have your own external website right now? That's totally ok, BUT, if you want that brand identity, absolutely 100% purchase the domain, even if you plan on sitting on it for some time.
If you are even at all thinking about reaching the rank of Diamond and beyond, you will definitely thank me when you know that your brand name website is ready to go for you, and someone else isn't utilizing your brand because you didn't buy the domain. The worst case scenario here is if you decide to change your brand (not advised) and you have to dump the url down the road.
This also includes all social media outlets, you want to be able to use your brand name as consistently as possible. Some platforms are messy since they only allow a certain amount of characters, in that case, have fun getting creative with it, and try to come as close as you can to your true brand name.
STEP 3: LET IT GROW AND EVOLVE
Over time, things will shift and change. Maybe you wanted your colors to be one way and a year from now it just doesn't feel like it fits anymore. Or maybe you feel like your slogan isn't serving you the way you'd like so you switch that up.
I can tell you that in the last 3 years, my brand has gone through a couple physical transformations online, while still projecting what I wanted to convey. Now, I feel like I have 100% honed in on the exact words, colors, logos, slogans, and facets I want to cover. It's not something that happens over night.
Welcome the growth and transformation that is going to come with branding. There will be times when you might feel like you are unhappy with your brand, that is when it's time to revisit step one and find new words that will convey whatever it is that is going to set your feelings right. It will still represent you and your brand. Your team will make this journey along with you, and once you hit that sweet spot, (and it will happen) things will click into place.
If you plan on getting serious about your brand, and you plan to take it to the max, consider step four, if and when you are ready for it.
STEP 4: TRADEMARK YOUR BRAND
This is serious. I mean serious, serious. This involves government documents and lawyers and all kinds of legal lingo and shenanigans. The only reason I'm even mentioning this step at all, is if you are serious about your brand and your business. This also protects you if another person is trying to rip off your brand. It does happen.
Having your brand trademarked is also helpful if someone is using it as their social media handle instead of you. This gives the platform a legal way of helping you out, without going nutso on the person, who likely didn't know they were using your brand.
Again, this is only recommended for when you are serious, and your brand is stabilized.
STEP 5: BUILD IT STRONG
You know who you are. You know who you want on your team. You know the kind of atmosphere you want to create... so build it. Build it into your brand. Build it into your brand so strongly that nothing else can touch what you have created. There is no one who can do what you do, or show up the way that you want to. Be the best version of you, and build it into your brand.