If you work with us here at Cambridge Web Studio, before we start doing any concrete work on design or building out a website we will be doing a brand analysis for you. We find that most of our clients are unsure about what that is, and why it will benefit their company. Even if your company is just you and an Instagram feed right now, you have a brand. Let’s go over some of the basics.
What is a brand?
Your brand is not your logo, your website, or your hashtags although those do all contribute to it. If I had to distill it down to it’s simplest essence, your brand is the feeling that people get when they hear your name. Let’s take Nike for example, what sorts of feelings and images do you get when you hear that name? You might think ‘athlete’, ‘determination’, or ‘courage’. As an exercise come up with some other major brand names and brainstorm what you associate with them.
If you’re thinking to yourself ‘That’s all well and good for giant companies but I’m just one person’ well then think of Oprah, Martha Stewart, or Tony Robbins. Those are all brands built around a single person, and you have a very clear idea of what they are about and what they do. You don’t need to be famous or have a million followers on social media to have a brand, in fact I would argue that it’s important to get very clear on what your brand should be when you are very small and just starting out. It will give you a clear roadmap of where you want the business to go and make decisions much easier. Does this action align with your brand or not?
How does a brand analysis work?
Sometimes also called a brand audit, a brand analysis takes a look at your current marketing materials, who your customers are, what their pain points are, and how your brand is currently addressing those pain points. If you are new and don’t have any marketing or customers yet we can look at what you want those to be. Generally this is accomplished by listing out the traits that would currently be associated with your brand, or what they might be if you are just starting out. There may be graphics included as well, but this is not about creating a new logo. What we really are looking to build is a document that can be used as a jumping off point for discussion and brainstorming about your brand and marketing. The other thing to keep in mind is that your brand is not static, nor should it be. It’s a living breathing thing, always changing and evolving.
What are the benefits of doing a brand analysis?
If you have a strong brand that aligns well with what your company actually does, then it will handle a lot of the sales process for you. You will get referrals from happy customers, and people will seek you out because they want to work with you. Now there are good sales people out there, they do a great job of bringing in the right customers for you in a way that aligns with the values of the company. But there are also a lot who are not great at their jobs: pushy, annoying, and will say anything to get a sale regardless of whether the customer is a good fit or not. Think of your brand as one of the better sales people. I’m not saying that having a strong brand replaces a sales person or team, but it definitely makes their jobs easier. Even if the ‘sales team’ is just you, wouldn’t it be nice to have a strong brand that helps you clearly identify the ideal customer and then bring them on board?
The other benefit of doing a brand analysis is it can bring to light marketing ideas and opportunities that you may never have thought of before. You might identify pain points that your customers are experiencing that you are currently not addressing. You might discover a whole new group of potential customers, or a new service that you could offer. There could also be some great insights into new ways to promote your business. This can translate into tangible benefits like an increased customer reach and increased sales. If you are bringing in the customers that you are best able to serve as a business, then you will likely retain those customers.
Can’t I just perform a brand analysis myself?
I understand, you are a small business or solopreneur. You don’t have a giant marketing budget, maybe you could save some money by doing the brand analysis yourself. And you absolutely can, there is no reason why not. The advantage to having a third party do it is that they are not as deeply entrenched in your business as you are and can see things that you may be missing. While you might think something is very obvious in your branding or marketing, it could be completely invisible to outsiders and therefore potential customers. Through their experience working with other businesses, they may also have ideas for market segments or branding ideas that you would never have thought of.
In our opinion it’s really helpful to have an arms-length person take a look at your brand. The insights that you get from it will return in dividends for your business.
Okay I’m sold, how do we get started on a brand analysis?
Fantastic, all you have to do is get in touch with our team via the Contact page and one of our staff will get back to you with some more information about us, as well as a short questionnaire for you to gather some more information about you and your business. Just as you are looking for customers that are a good fit for your experience and services, so are we! We look forward to hearing from you.