This month B2C Ace Artist, Aaron Kelderhouse, takes his first crack as a guest columnist.
It's your identity. It's your way of sharing yourself with the world - who you are, what you do, why you do it. It sets you apart from everyone else and brings you to the forefront of their mind every time they come across it. It's your brand and whether you realize or not you do have one. Question is, are you controlling it or does it control you?
Often when someone thinks of "branding" they think of a logo... colors... a style of font. The truth is, while that may be where your branding begins, everything you do, or don't do, contributes to your brand. How you interact with customers, the type of environment you do your work in, the way you answer the phone, how organized your files are kept... like it or not it is all part of your brand.
A company that has a strong brand not only has a well implemented look and feel to their graphics, but that same look and feel is consistent with how they do business. Maybe someone has a nice, simple, clean logo but every time you interact with them they seem out of control. Or perhaps they have created an ultra-modern image for their company, but all their invoicing is done on a dot matrix printer.
The point is an organization's brand is only as strong as its ability to deliver.
Your brand creates a perception from the inside as well. In the same way that your brand helps others know who you are and what you do, it reminds you and your team who you are. At times in the business of "doing work" it becomes easy to lose sight of your goal and forget what it is you are really trying to accomplish. Your brand should be strong enough to remind you what it is that sets you apart and push you toward continuing to do those things. It should be something that boosts the morale of the people you work with and rallies them toward that common goal.
In the business world there are countless things out of your control. Your brand shouldn't be one of them. As you make decisions be sure they line up with your vision. Treat your customers and partners in ways that are consistent in this vision. Surround yourself with employees that support the overall vision, not with people who frustrate it. And yes... absolutely have a great logo that conveys your image, with colors that compliment it, and a font that reflects your story.