WHAT IS A BRAND?

Yeah! It’s the world reknown
Internationally connected
Locally accepted
Roc-A-Fella Records
Don’t get it confused (“Roc, baby”)
Doin’ what we do (“It’s The Roc, baby”)
B. Sig., Rell, Peedi Crakk, Free, Young H-O, Bleek (“You understand”)
Introducin’

– -JAY-Z

When you hear the brands Nike, McDonalds, Apple, Coca-Cola, Elon Musk, Roc-A-Fella Records or Sean “Diddy” Combs; You think sneakers, fast-food services, hamburgers, i-Phone X, Cola, electric cars, Jay-Z, Circoc … the list could go on, the point is you think brand name and about products he brands delivery.

I’ve been complimented on my brands style for over a decade. GQ style expert, etc; I enjoy my accolades, I’ve worked extremely hard on building myself into the ultimate example of my brand. Consistency is key, I never stop working on myself and what I have to offer.

I’m here to share with you the key points that I’ve learned through branding myself to help you in your journey.

Remember, Imitation is undoubtedly one of the purest forms of flattery, however, it’s a bad idea to copy someone else’s brand. Here is why; it’s also never going to work as well for the imitators as well as it did the original — because the brand isn’t true to them, it’s not their dream. Also, depending on what tactics and merchandise is copied, info they c We’ve all heard someones story told by a 3rd party, it doesn’t have that same authentic blood, sweat, tears, and passion behind it, as it would coming from the person who’s living the words used to articulate the story. You must walk a fine line between copying and strategically utilizing inspiration.

Perfect example, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. Two all star basketball players both greatly recognized globally for their accomplishments in the NBA. Michael Jordan paved the way and broke records by becoming the best basketball player of all time. Kobe Bryant recognized Michael Jordan’s accolades and made his own lane to become one of the best basketball players of all time. Kobe did not attempt to recreate or embody Michael Jordan. He was inspired by Micheal Jordan however Kobe put effort & hard work so he could be a household name just like Michael Jordan. Kobe didn’t shave his head bald & start wearing a gold earring to resemble Michael Jordan. Kobe worked hard, he set his goals and competed against himself. He branded himself in the same niche in his own lane it his way just as you should. Be inspired by Michael Jordan but find your own playbook like Kobe Bryant.

“Mike never tried to rap like Pac
Pac never tried to sing like Mike”
-Drake

Caution: New business owners often make the mistake of hiring creative professionals to develop logos, websites, and/or custom content, before they’ve done work to define their brand/style. Individually these pieces are high quality, works of art your audience will love but they aren’t likely to work well together as a whole. And, even more disappointingly, the business is likely to “outgrow” that brand quickly as the owner gets more clarity around the message he wants to convey.

Action: The best way I’ve found to go about building your brand online when you feel like you need a website, a logo, a social media presence yesterday? Understand, great brands take time, thought, creativity, effort, and consistency to create and maintain. To assist you with developing and defining your brand, I’m offering my Brand Playbook to you for free — click here to download it now! But before you start carving your brand into the history books, let’s talk basics.

What is a brand?

Brand is the “Unique design, sign, symbol, words, or a combination of these, employed in creating an image that identifies a product and differentiates it from its competitors.” –Business Dictionary (Reference)
Brand is more than a logo. Every touchpoint you have with customers makes up the elements of your brand. From, your website and logo, to your email signature, your business cards, your voicemail message, even the clothes/fit you wear and your signature scent. Learn more about developing your Personal Style in my Style Playbook, I’ve made it for you here free — click here to download it now!

Your brand is what people respond to in your business; it’s the appearance of your website, the feel of your voice/tone in your emails/captions – your verbal and written communication, paired with the imagery. Your brand story is perceived through visual content, photos and videos you copy, write and post on social media and websites. Your posts are your online representation. Your captions and blog posts are the conversation of you or your businesses persona. Understand, a brand must be seen and felt to be worthy of following.
It’s all those details strategically utilized collectively that completes the story of your business.

Why is a strong brand important?

Your brand is the most important part of your business. If your brand lacks clear definition, it in turn lacks direction. You dream to rise to the top of your category, as a leader, you’ll need to define your brands identity in order to build a tribe (community). It won’t be a cake walk. The time you will put in researching, creating, and networking will make you strong and in turn your brand will flourish.

Studies show that it takes less than two-tenths of a second for a viewer to form an impression of your brand online. In addition, 80% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand they already know. A customers first impression of you, It sets up expectations for you, your products, and services. It makes you instantly recognizable anywhere someone might come into contact with your brand — from an ad, Instagram or Facebook, to Pinterest. You want your brand to leave a positive first impression and be easily recognizable online and in REAL LIFE.

Building a strong brand is an important step to taking your business to the next level. It immediately makes you look more professional and helps potential customers and partners alike take you more seriously. For me, having a strong, tailored, consistent brand has been an important way to differentiate myself in my markets. The classic gentlemen’s look and feel is not only a reflection of my values and tastes, but also a reflection of what people can expect from my products. That’s why you must work so hard to keep your brand consistent across every touch point. People will count on your brand to be as crisp as your messaging conveys.

Brand Secret Sauce

There are as many types of brands as there are products, but the best brands have one main ingredient: consistency.

Every image, tweet, product, and email is clear and concise.

Your goal is for people to recognize your brand wherever they encounter it. It’s the reason you walk down an aisle of Cola products in Publix to pick up a Coca-Cola or Pepsi. They’ve spent millions of dollars on consistent marketing and advertising in their brand messaging, imagery, and colors – that you unconsciously look for it when spending your hard earned dollars in on their product. Through consistency they’ve gained your trust. You trust that their brand tastes better – so much so you don’t even think to try another.

“GREAT” brands use the exact same colors, fonts, photography styles, logos, language, etc. across every touch point. They are easy to recognize wherever you encounter them.
Take a look at any one of your favorite brands, and you’ll find that they are extremely consistent in everything they do. The fonts they use, the colors, the photos and images, even the words they use to describe themselves and their products all follow a set of rules.

Branding is a process, and you certainly don’t want to have a hodgepodge of different colors, fonts and images when you’re creating your logo. That’s why it’s vital to keep things simple, be consistent, and keep a record of your brand choices.

In my experience, consistency is also one area of branding where new and small businesses struggle.

Strong brands achieve consistency — whether they have teams large or small — by creating and employing what I call a Playbook.

A Playbook is an outline of documents that define and list all the details of your brand, from colors and fonts to word choices and photography styles.

The power of a Playbook lies in both the creation of it, because it forces you to get serious about defining what elements make up your brand and the execution. It helps you and any team members stay consistent and on-point.
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The key here is that these branding decisions must come first — before you design the logo, hire the photographer, or even pick out those killer shoes you want to wear. When you make decisions about the overall look and feel you want to convey first, you can create all the brand elements with consistency built-in.

This creates the feeling of a much more expensive brand, whether you’re hiring a big team or doing everything yourself.

It’s vital to start with your brand book — and you can start to do so by downloading our Build Your Own Brand Book Workbook right now. This workbook is part of a training inside Business Class, so if you get stuck filling out any of the sections, you may want to become a Business Class VIP so you can access the entire training!

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