How Brand Clarity Will Help Your Business Grow
Having a brand is one thing, but knowing its value and communicating that value, that’s quite another.
Understanding the value of your brand is the number one most critical part of building a relentlessly relevant, successful brand. Additionally, your brand vision needs to be consistently communicated within your company as well as to your audience.
Let’s drop into an example.
Ten years ago, you open a breakfast cafe. Business kicked off to a great start, but over the last five years, walk-in traffic has fizzled, and you have downsized your staff quite a bit. While you have always supporting your community by serving locally-sourced, high-quality food, some of those initiatives have been pulled to save money.
The community holds a large piece of your heart, and you’ve always wanted to prioritize participating in community events. But where’s the time? You’re in survival mode and have completely lost sight of your ultimate goal: to provide apprenticeships for students who dream of starting their own restaurant.
Local is at your core–it’s the single most important value your brand possesses. It’s something that you know your audience will care about, something that will build customers into loyal brand followers. The only problem is that you’ve lost track of this value to keep the business afloat, and customers just aren’t getting it. Most customers don’t know your food is locally-sourced, let alone your dreams to teach the next generation of restaurateurs.
So yes, you have a brand, and you have a substantial value too, but how do you properly define and communicate that value so that your brand can reap its benefits? With brand clarity.
Does Your Brand Have Clarity?
Think about your brand for a moment, and see if you can answer the following questions:
- Do you know why your brand sells certain products or conducts customer service the way it does?
- If your brand walked into a room, what would people notice first? Are you happy about what they would notice? Are there aspects you wish they would fall in love with? Aspects you wish they would ignore?
Oftentimes we talk to our clients about brand clarity and they assume it means knowing what type of filter to use on their Instagram photos or the color palette they need to stick to in order to stay on-brand. While those design choices are certainly part of brand communication, they’re really a byproduct of deeper brand work–the psychological, brand “soul searching” work.
The pieces that make up your brand (brand story, content creation, content marketing strategy, partnerships, color palette, social media captions, ad spend, logo, etc.) are all underpinned by your brand’s direction and value. When you understand that, every brand decision that’s made in the future will become clear, even obvious, too.
What is Brand Clarity?
Your brand is going somewhere, which is great for transformation, growth, and success. But in the midst of change and moving parts, you have to keep in mind that your business might be moving without you in the driver’s seat. You may not even be in the car. Yikes.
Brand clarity will put you in the driver’s seat and help you understand where your brand is heading, and whether that’s the right direction.
The Stages of Brand Clarity
The process of gaining brand clarity isn’t black and white. We’re all at different stages, but the goal is to have complete brand clarity. We often sit down with business owners who feel completely out of touch with their brand direction, but after an hour of hashing it out, they discover they actually have a clear vision. It’s just been jumbled in their brain among payroll and ad spend and faulty promo codes.
On the other end, we have spoken with business owners who feel like they have it all figured out. In some areas of their business, they do. But in the areas that really matter, they have laser focused on a “how” that isn’t attached to the “why.” Like rebuilding the website, or promoting a storewide 50% off sale, or committing to a new business partner. We’ve seen it all.
If any of this sounds like you, or you don’t know where you stand with brand clarity, not to worry. We follow a simple guideline for understanding brand clarity. We have broken it up into 4 stages: The Why Stage, The What Stage, The Who Stage, and The How Stage.
The Why is at the base of the stages. Without it, you have nothing of substance. On the other end of the spectrum, there’s The How Stage–you have a detailed plan but it’s not anchored in meaning and purpose that transcends transactional value. It’s empty. The goal is to start with The Why Stage and work your way to The How Stage. These stages build off one another., so if you’re at The How Stage, then you better make sure those other stages have been addressed and clarified.
The Why Stage
Without the why, nothing else matters. This is the meat of your brand’s value–the shining star of why you exist. When you understand your “why”, the “what”, “who” and “how” are much easier to see and execute.
Ask yourself these questions to help determine your why:
- How would the world be different if your brand didn’t exist?
- Why did you start your business in the first place?
- What does success mean for your brand? How do you achieve it?
The What Stage
Your brand’s what helps you determine what products, services, experiences, and initiatives are generated from the “why”.
Ask yourself these questions to help determine your what:
- What aspect of your brand do you absolutely love, or what’s the thing most tied to the reason you got into starting your business? What business tasks do you dread doing?
- What makes your brand stand out from competitors?
The Who Stage
The who will let you know who you’re talking to, or who your target audience is. Knowing who you’re attracting (whether that be customers or employees), allows your brand to dive into the details about what those people want to experience and how they want to experience it. BUT, before those can be uncovered, you must also know who you are first.
Ask yourself these questions to help determine your who:
- How are aspects of you (as a person and business owner) represented in your brand?
- This is big for small businesses and solopreneurs.
- Who are your 1,000 true fans? 100? 10? Get to know everything about them.
- How are aspects of you (as a person and business owner) represented in your brand?
The How Stage
Finally to the how. Knowing your brand’s how will define the avenues you take to attract and connect with your people. The how is all about the methods, channels, and platforms you use to get in front of your target audience.
Ask yourself these questions to help determine your how:
- Is your content marketing strategy in line with your B2B or B2C audience?
- Does your brand have a brand messaging strategy to keep your communication consistent?
The Big Benefits of Investing in Brand Clarity
Investing in getting clear on your brand is one of the best things you can do for business. Without an understanding of who you are, the direction you’re taking your business, and the best ways to communicate your value, it’s quite possible that you’ll fall off track.
Here we have six of the greatest benefits that come from diving in and getting to know your brand and how to effectively operate it. Invest in brand clarity to reap the following benefits.
1. Easily Define Brand Personality, Voice, and Identity
Writing content, engaging with your audience on social media, and telling your brand story means nothing if it’s not resonating with the people you’re looking to target.
What you’re saying, and more importantly how you’re saying it, will either attract or deter people from your brand. Looking and speaking on-brand consistently is key, and that all starts with defining your brand’s personality, voice, and identity.
2. Consistently Tell a Killer, Authentic Brand Story
Every brand has a story, and that story should be shared. Consumers want the truth from brands–they want to know their authentic self. So share it! Be real with your audience and share a story that helps them relate to you not only as a company but as a company run by real people.
3. Understand Your Target Audience As Well As You Know Yourself (Or Better)
In order to gain an audience that will be loyal to your brand no matter what, you first have to know how to attract those people. Getting clear on your brand will help you define who your people are, and then from there, you can get to know all things about those people, making it easier to connect with them.
4. Communicate How You’re Different
Whatever it is that makes you different from your competitors is part of your brand’s core value, and it’s something that needs to be communicated to your audience so you stand out from the rest. Tell your audience why you’re the best choice for them and let them know how your products or services can help make their lives easier. What you’re doing is different, that’s why you have a business surrounding it, so let people know.
5. Credibility and Confidence
If you’re clear and confident about what you’re doing as a brand, it makes your audience clear and confident that they can trust you too. Build up your brand credibility and get your audience to have faith in your value by confidently walking the walk and talking the talk. You’re an expert at what you do, it’s time to show it.
6. Easily Share Values
When you can genuinely understand what it is that makes your brand special, it makes it easy to share those values with others. By sharing your brand values with people like your employees, your customers, and your partners, you let them in on what makes you you. And when they know why you’re so special and can trust that it’s true, they will advocate for your brand.
Brand Clarity Once Isn’t Brand Clarity Forever
While it’s crucial to get this work going from the very beginning of your business journey, brand clarity isn’t a one and done job. You have to keep on your brand, pay attention to how it changes as it grows, what suddenly becomes irrelevant as pieces begin to shift, and how your audience interacts with your business after change has happened.
You can easily keep tabs on your brand with an audit, or what we call a Brand Scan. A Brand Scan is a thorough look at your business from the inside out. We analyze your marketing efforts, ad spend, messaging, design, and competition, and get clear on what’s working and what’s not. Then, once a business owner has an apparent understanding of where their brand currently stands, it becomes clear where they should be headed in the future.
Schedule a free 15-minute call with Bareknuckle’s leading brand strategists to get started on the Brand Scan process.
Is Your Brand In Check?