One of the biggest pitfalls of branding is shooting first and asking questions later. Building your personal or company brand is an exciting process, so it’s easy to get eager and ahead of yourself. You want to get your name out there for the world to see as soon as possible because you know you’re going to be great. Slow down. Anything worth doing is worth doing right.
It’s essential to research and plan around how you position your branding. Getting out there ASAP may leave you backpedaling to figure out why your strategy (or lack thereof) isn’t working. Here are some steps to consider before going active.
Step one: Know Where You’re Going
Big picture stuff is great, but it doesn’t always give you a direct path. What do you want your brand to be? Try to be specific. “The best” doesn’t quite cut it. The best at what? Like we discussed in our post about defining your messaging, you need to take time to define what you stand for and what the ideal version of your company or profile would look like. You can’t hit the bullseye if you don’t even know where the dartboard is.
Step two: Know Where You Are
Be brutally honest with yourself. Try to strip away all of your self-importance for a second and take a good look at the reality of your situation. How does it compare to where you want to go? Once you define these things, you can start to quantify your progress by monitoring tasks and tangible steps towards your goal. If you don’t set up metrics that reflect where you are at the beginning, you’ll find yourself lost and scratching your head when your marketing falls flat. Where did you take a wrong turn? You won’t know because you weren’t on a trail in the first place. Find a trailhead before you set out!
Step three: Research
On the path to your success, research is like your map. You want a map before you get going because you’ll wish you had it when you get lost and have to turn back. Find out the paths of those who went before you. How did they get there, and what was the fastest route? If you thoroughly understand the triumphs and mistakes of others in your space, you will increase ingenuity, hone your best practices, and avoid any obstacles that have tripped up people in the past. Benchmarking and competitor research are great ideas to get started.
Strep four: Strategize
With all of this information, it’s time to plan! Layout timelines and measurable actions would take you to reach your goals. Plan out your roadmap and keep a scoreboard of what you’ve done and have yet to do so you can stay the course. Which channels are best to use for your industry or niche? How do you plan on using those channels? Since you know what was effective for your competitors and how much of this will be needed to advance, you can create a program quarter by quarter to organize your efforts.
Step five: Maintain
It’s vital to make sure you’re delivering on your brand image and promise in every aspect of your experience. Be diligent and don’t let anything slip from your research. Just because you’ve achieved a milestone in one facet of your strategy doesn’t mean it will always stay that way. As you grow and change in your space, you’ll have to scale your efforts to make sure that your brand is being upheld in the face of new consumers expecting a bigger and better you. It’s an ongoing process, so track every bit of it!