Branding. You may have heard this term before when researching how to grow and market your equestrian business and brand. You may have heard it tossed around by a marketing friend or someone online. What is it though? Why do you need it?
We’re breaking it down for you.
According to Google search, we get these definitions.
the action of marking with a branding iron.
"regulations concerning the branding, movement, and sale of cattle"
the promotion of a particular product or company by means of advertising and distinctive design.
"The process of branding should be considered in global terms"
No, we aren’t referring to branding irons or cattle (although you technically could put your logo on a branding iron), we are talking about branding for your business. This definition still isn’t very helpful though, so let me explain further.
Branding is the process of ensuring your company is the first business someone thinks of when they think about a product or service.
For example, when you think of running shoes, who do you instantly think of? For me and many others, it’s Nike. I don’t even like Nike shoes, but I love their branding and it resonates with me. Their whole campaign for “Just Do It”, has turned into an incredible message over the past few years and they have been able to apply that messaging to so many of their marketing campaigns. It’s truly brilliant what they have been able to do.
Another example is Ariat. When you think of riding boots, most people first think of Ariat. They have done a pretty incredible job of branding themselves.
Starting to make sense?
So why is it important?
Let me ask you something. Do you ever struggle with knowing what to post? If so, you don’t have a clear brand. Clarifying and really solidifying your brand will only help with your overall marketing messaging. It will also impact things such as product design. When you design your products, they will revolve around your brand. It will also help you clarify who your audience is.
Branding is important because you want your target audience (the people you want to be your customers) to think of your business FIRST when thinking about your types of products or services. You want to stand out from your competitors.
How do you do it?
Honestly, there are college courses and entire books around creating a brand, but to get started, you need a brand persona.
A brand persona is a collection of personality traits, attitudes, and values that your brand shares.
Essentially, we need to make your brand feel like a person. People don’t relate to brands or companies, BUT they relate to other people. The more we can make your brand feel like a person, the more you will attract your ideal customer.
You can download the worksheet at the end of this post to help you create your brand persona, but I’ll explain what everything means first.
What is your brand identity?
A brand identity gives your business a face and should appeal to customers’ emotions. This helps them see your company as more than goos and services, and understand why your product fits their lives better than your competitors.
In your worksheet, that you need to download below, answer the questions such as:
What is one word that tells your audience what your brand stands for? An example is a car company that might use the word “safe” or “luxury”. What is the word that best describes your brand and products?
If your brand was a person, how would you describe him or her?
These are questions that will help you identify how you want to represent your company, and therefore, that will impact your marketing strategy and content.
What is your brand authenticity?
Your brand authenticity allows you to make your brand look and feel genuine and trustworthy to your target audience. It allows your business to tell a vivid story about itself and helps build brand loyalty.
In the worksheet, you will develop your vision statement and that will allow you to guide the narrative, benefits, differentiators, and passion in your brand.
Ask yourself what makes your product unique? What makes you different from your competitors? Why should your customers listen to you instead? Then think about how you are going to share that message with your audience.
Lastly, pick a pop culture or TV icon.
I know, this one threw me too at first. It’s actually quite brilliant.
Eventually, you are going to be too busy to do your own marketing. You’re going to have to hire that out once your business gets to that point (That’s a good thing!), this is the easiest way for you to share your brands’ personality with whoever ends up helping you manage your marketing, and it helps you with creating your content.
For instance, let’s say you pick Penny Chenery, the owner of Secretariat. In the movie Secretariat, Penny is a very polite but outspoken woman who doesn’t let the men around her push her around. She is confident in her decisions and has an incredible amount of determination. You will create and post content that feels like Penny Chenery wrote the captions and took the pictures.
I highly recommend you pick a character that you feel like you can relate to. This will make creating and posting content so much easier for you.
After you have filled out the worksheet, you will need to create a style guide with the fonts and colors that match your persona. This is where you typically want to get a graphic designer involved to create your logo and some of them will help you put together a style guide as well.