There is a lot that goes into the process of branding.
BUT, Before we jump into this branding guide, please don’t let the word “BRANDING” get to you. Just remember that your “Brand” is what people think about you & branding is what you do to help them form a positive opinion of you and your business.
“Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, large or small, retail or B2B. An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets. But what exactly does “branding” mean?” ~Entrepreneur.com
Building a successful brand is the ultimate goal. Once you have built a quality brand, your brand starts to dictate not only the amount & quality of your leads/customers but also the rankings and positioning in the different algorithms. In search & social.
This is why I’m starting with the brand. It affects EVERYTHING.
If you jump into advertising or marketing and skip branding as the foundation, just like a property with a poor foundation, it will crumble and could cost you a lot of time and money. I’m here to help you avoid that.
We’re going to start with foundational concepts, and then build upon the ideas.
Branding is not something you’re going to see as a success instantly. It’s not luck. It takes time and ultimately is a practiced art.
Branding is not just a fad or the current buzzword on the internet. It is BUSINESS. And it is the future. Period.
Branding is all about the image of your business. The concept doesn’t only include style, emblems, and logos, but also the image of perceived quality. The perceived image may be of total quality, reliability, and more.
Branding is also about your business and how it’s different from your competitors. The purpose of a brand is to distinguish yourself from your competitors. Once you make a distinguishing impact then your marketing and advertising campaigns will be much more effective.
The success of your business can often be determined by your brand. Branding includes many factors that will help you make your business more successful. These factors may include a website, marketing efforts, and anything that gives your company an “identity”. Clients trust a corporate image wholeheartedly because there is psychology in motivating their purchasing decisions.
All businesses should practice branding. It is common for businesses to fail due to a lack of understanding about the importance and factors of developing a good brand.
Branding ensures professionalism. It seals the deal on the entire package. Even a one-person business with a quality brand looks just as good as large firms and corporations when they practice the right techniques. Building a brand will enhance your confidence as a business owner and it will do the same thing in the clients’ eyes as well. It will prove to them that you really can deliver what you promise.
Branding also offers consistency for your business. It gives direction to both you and your clients, so you know what to expect.
Consistency can be performed through the use of things like business cards, t-shirts, and more. Consistency includes visibility techniques that are professional and will remain in the memory of a client.
One concept that clients often attach to a brand is called brand equity. A brand is often considered to be an asset also.
For example, if you have developed a quality brand that is well known as being the best and you have a competitor with a brand known to not deliver on what was promised, your brand will have a higher perceived value.
If you can successfully develop a brand for yourself and your business, using the right ideas to motivate and excite clients then whenever people need your product/services, they’ll think of your company first!
The ultimate goal is to spark an emotional connection with your client/customer in order to create a positive feeling resulting in loyalty to your business & brand.
Branding & The Three Pillars Of Your Brand
Branding is focused on three different pillars. These are your “Brand Essence”, “Brand Identity”, and then your “Brand Story”.
This will include your “Mission Statement”, “Vision Statement”, “Unique Selling Proposition”, “Tagline/Slogan” and “Core Values”
The mission and vision of your company should uphold excellence in providing quality & thorough home inspections, and delivering a detailed report.
Many clients don’t read your vision or mission statement. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take it seriously.
Your vision and mission are both a part of the branding process because they define what your company is all about. These two statements need to be believed and practiced by you, as well as any future employees and all staff of the company.
One of the bigger parts of creating a successful brand for your business is proving to the clients why you are the best option when buying your products/services.
Determine the benefits of the services you offer compared to your competition.
This is where you truly define what sets you apart from the crowd. This is called your Unique Selling Proposition. This is a major part of the branding process.
Unique Selling Proposition
You will also need to emphasize your Unique Selling Proposition or USP. This is what differentiates you from your competitors and you need to make it clear.
I found an amazing way to look at it as a small infographic that wraps this up completely.
Basically, it is 3 overlapping circles with a question in each.
What Your Brand Does Well – Yes, you offer great products/services. But, what makes you a better choice than your competitors?
What The Consumer Wants – It’s easier to think about what the consumer or “client” wants by thinking about your target market and the Client Compass. At the core, you need to look at your services and/or products, along with your brand, from the point of view of the customer/client.
What Your Competitor Does Well – How can you stand out without knowing what is making your competition stand out? Knowing what your competitor does well helps you see what you can improve on & if you keep an eye on their reviews, you can see what their clients like about using them.
You want to only focus on delivering 2 of these items. You obviously don’t want to say I know you want to buy my products/services & my competitor treats his clients amazingly. You also do not want to try and compare yourself to your competitor because this is YOUR BUSINESS!
So the main two items you should focus on when thinking about your USP are… (What Your Brand Does Well) and (What The Client Wants) … If you are good at what you do then this should be basically the same thing.
The last part of your Brand Essence is your “Core Values”. I like to reference the US Navy’s core values, “Honor, Courage, and Commitment”.
These are the values that you are building your business and brand around so don’t take this lightly.
The final part of the branding process “Brand Essence” is your “Tagline” or “Slogan. There are a lot of different directions you can go with this. You can go with something simple, or something unique and/or funny.
Sidenote: Do a Google search and make sure you do not use a tagline or slogan that is overused. You also may want to do a quick trademark search to be sure you’re not getting stuck with any legal issues.
This is built around the visuals of your business.
These are things like your business name, logo, website, and business cards.
I’m not going to cover a lot on these here as we’ll have individual pieces of training for each of them in the future.
Inside the “Brand Identity,” there are a few steps that most people don’t think about. To be honest, some steps we’re covering here today are almost never covered. Especially with freelancers and smaller marketing firms.
While we will be going into each of the different steps and items inside of your brand individually, there is one specific thing you should be aware of for now.
That is “Color Psychology”. This is a huge step that is often overlooked when building out your brand identity. The colors you use in your logo, website, and marketing materials can be the difference between someone clicking on your links and not.
It may sound weird but colors have meanings and can affect your potential clients without them even knowing it. There are colors that make people feel certain ways. There are colors that should not be used together and there are colors that accent other colors perfectly.
Believe it or not, there are books and full courses taught just on this subject. So obviously, I’m not going to be able to really dig into this here. But, if you want more information on color psychology, I’ll cover it more in detail in a while.
Another overlooked piece to the puzzle is the “Fonts”.
What font are you going to use in your logo or on your website?
While you may like the look of a certain font, that doesn’t always mean that it is good for your brand.
A prime example is the font “PAPYRUS”. It has rough edges and kind of a “grunge” feel to it. Because it’s one of the default fonts on most computers and about the only default font that is a little different, a lot of people like to use it. The problem is that font is not always easy to read and if used in a poor design, it could leave your potential clients feeling a bit on edge.
The key in picking the right font for your brand as a home inspector is simply remembering to keep it “CLEAN” and make sure it’s easy to read. Stay professional most of the time. From time to time, you may want to use a font that has a decent amount of design to it. If that happens it’s fine. Just don’t use it for everything.
A quick example of this may be a fun font with hearts in it for a Valentine’s Day post or a font that looks like it’s dripping with a dark red font that may look like blood for a spooky Halloween post.
As you can see the “Brand Identity” is a bit more than just a cool logo. But what merges your brand essence and brand identity is your “Brand Story”.
Why does your “Brand” exist?
What led you to start your business?
As we’ve discussed, in building a relationship with both our potential and actual clients, telling your story can help build the foundation of that relationship.
When you tell your story, DO NOT BE SCARED OF THE TRUTH!
If you’re a new business, say that you’re a new business.
Don’t let the fear of what your clients might think of you make you feel like you have to lie.
I only say this because I’ve spoken to probably hundreds of business owners over the years who told me that they’ve “stretched the truth” when potential clients ask about their experience.
Regardless of who your client is, they had a “first day” at a job and most will understand that you have to start somewhere. So don’t stress that part of your story.
Just be honest and tell your story.
I hope this branding guide helps.