The first thing I say to the clients I meet is that building a brand is like laying the foundations of a new house. Sure, it's exciting to think about the rooms you'll build, how you'll use decorate them and what furnishings you'll add. But without a great builder laying rock solid foundations, the rooms will only last for so long before your beautiful decor will start to be spoiled by cracks.
The cracks will deepen and they might start to expose other issues, so you'll start thinking about selling the house but it will be difficult to convince buyers that it's a quality house worth investing in.
Your sales pitch will lack credibility and before you know it, you're stuck; stuck with a house that you planned with such vision and excitement and yet somehow is failing to turn into the lifelong home you'd envisaged.
This is also the story of your business.
When launching (or relaunching) a business, most business owners tend to put all their time and energy into what the business is, what it does and the logistics of how it will operate. It's a common misconception to think that figuring out the nuts and bolts equals creating a brand. A brand is more than a name, a logo and a well planned out colour palette.
Your how and why
Your brand is the how and why behind your business. It's your reason for being. It's the bigger story that gives your business its unique personality and enables you to form emotional connections with your clients or customers, encouraging them to buy from you over your competition.
Have a think about it; when you sit down with your gin and tonic; are you pouring Tanqueray or Sipsmith? Schweppes or Fever Tree? Perhaps you're teetotal, in which case is it Tetley's or Twinings; Coke or Pepsi? The choices we make might seem unconscious but they're not. Something about the brands you choose has led you to them.
A strong and well conceived brand conveys the most important qualities and values of your business and has the power to carry it through the years, making it easy to evolve your message as your business grows or adapts to market changes. If you're looking to build a long lasting and successful business, then don't skip the part that's going to hold it up.