Before you even think about what your brand will look like, it's important to prepare properly. It's no good cutting corners here, you want a brand that works and will continue to work beyond next Tuesday, so give it some thought. There are many questions to ask which will help you to define your brand - here are just six of them.

1. What does your business do?

I'm sure you know the answer to this question – but does your audience? What do you DO? How would you explain this to a child? Before you start creating your brand it's really important to get clear on what you do for your clients. Ie, what the benefits of your business are to the people who buy from you. For example, you don't sell washing machines, you sell clean clothes.

2. Who is your ideal client?

Get as specific as possible on this. Think about age/ gender/ occupation/ their likes and dislikes/ what they read/ how much money they make/ what problems you can fix/ where they spend their time. This will really help you as you can then target everything to "Jane" or "Peter" and attract your ideal client rather than any old person! This doesn't mean that you're going to exclude people who don't fit into this client profile, just that you are more likely to get the people that you want if you already know who they are.

3. What are you brilliant at?

Spend some time thinking about all the things that you do in your business – what is your business (or you, if you are your business) really good at? These are the top things that you'll be focusing on in your branding because these are the thing's you're best at. These are the things that people will love you to do for them, the things that will solve people's problems and provide you with some fantastic testimonials.

4. What are your business values?

These are the BELIEFS of your brand. Brand values are important because they are the key messages to be reflected by your brand. They are your belief system.

It's important to choose the values that you already have - so that you will have no problem conveying these values in your business. It's much harder to work with brand values that just aren't the right fit.

Pick five values and stick to them - these are the values that your branding will represent. Over time your values might change, and that's OK.

Examples are: Courage, Individuality, Health, Intellect, Influence, Guidance, Resourcefulness, Expertise

5. What's your brand personality?

This is what you ARE and stems from your values. Are you a bit bonkers, very serious, down to earth, creative or commercial? Is your business masculine or feminine? Old fashioned or contemporary? Pick a few of these that absolutely define what your business personality is.

6. What's your business vision?

When you're creating your branding, you want it to last don't you? It's no good creating something for the here and now that won't work in the future. That would be a waste of time, effort and money. So have a think about what the future holds for your business, what the changes will be. Think about the next 3, 5, 10, 20+ years and what you'd like to achieve in that time. Knowing this will help you to create a brand with longevity and purpose.

Article by Amy Purdie of Whiteacres Design.

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