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BRAND PREP 101: The Basic Steps You Can Take RIGHT NOW To Avoid Destroying Your Brand And Start Developing It

Copyright Š 2011 by MIYO STUDIOS LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, faxing, emailing, posting online or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the Publisher.

INTRODUCTION Historically, the word “branding” has meant to make

that results from exploring the purpose and goals of

a mark, identifying a herd of cattle or a piece of

oneʼs business. Thus, Brand Prep 101 is an

property. Today, though, the term has an entirely

attempt to share some of the key elements behind

new definition as business owners and

the development of a brand.

manufacturers seek to “brand” their products and services as unique offerings in the marketplace.

These few pages wonʼt replace the value of partnering with a consultant. But, you will establish

However, once an exclusive practice available only

an important foundation that will help you

to large companies with deep pockets, the

understand what you need to think about from the

corporate branding process is now accessible to

day you start your business.

organizations of any size. I hope you find this guide and the accompanying For many small business owners, the ability to

worksheets useful in helping you think through your

distinguish their business from competitors can be

business from multiple perspectives.

the difference between merely surviving, and thriving. As a designer who works with this

Camille Friend, Designer + Owner

community, I understand—and value—the clarity


TABLE OF CONTENTS I. Section One – page 4

III. SUMMARY – page 45

The Purpose of Brand Prep 101 Who Should Read This Guide (Hint: YOU) & Why How to Use The Guide Common Terms Defined Yes, Branding Is for You: A Note About “Parity”

IV. WORKSHEETS – page 48 01 Company Info + Competitive Landscape 02 Defining Target Markets + Their Needs 03 Desired Image + Key Messages 04 Brand Ideas + Brand Promise

II. Section TWO – page 19 Brand Prep Scenario + Questions Answered 01 Do I really need a “brand”? 02 Whatʼs the minimum I should do?

05 Messaging Communication Channels 06 Brand Management + Challenges 07 Ideal Consultant Characteristics 08 Important Lessons + Notes

03 How can I avoid destroying my brand? 04 The top 5 things to manage with my “do-it-yourself” brand development. 05 Iʼm ready to hire someone—what now?



I. Section One THE PURPOSE OF THIS GUIDE The terms “brand” and “branding” are used somewhat liberally these days. The average person who is busy running a business (rather than reading books about branding) is likely a bit confused about what these terms actually mean, and how one goes about using them in real life. Our objective here is to illuminate the process of defining and designing your brand.

The information included in this document is intended to shed light on the things you should think about in the course of developing the essence and aesthetic of your company. You will gain a more complete understanding of the branding process and how itʼs relevant to your business.

The hope is that this knowledge will reinforce the importance of actively guiding your brand from day one.



Ultimately, this information will help you simplify your message, maintain consistency in your communications and prepare to invest in your long-term brand. 5 | BRAND PREP 101 MIYO STUDIOS |

WHO SHOULD READ THIS GUIDE (Hint: YOU) & WHY To get straight to the point: anyone can benefit from the information and exercises included here. There is one characteristic that applies to every business owner at every level of success, and that is:

No one reading these words has the time or money to waste on re-doing work or re-inventing the wheel every time a decision is to be made. Thus, the goal here is to help you avoid these pitfalls by giving you the tools you need to steward your business brand in the right direction, right away. So, no matter how you would describe your current circumstances, rest assured that the efforts you make today will continue to pay dividends for the life of your business.

So, who are YOU?



One of Two Types of Professionals:

A. YOU Will Hire a Consultant in 3 to 12 Months YOU are an entrepreneur or business leader interested in taking preliminary “do-it-yourself” steps toward creating a long-term brand, 3 to 12 months before hiring a professional consultant.

As anyone who begins a new business understands, thoughtful planning can be the difference between strategy and happenstance. Taking the time now to think through the relationship between your business goals and your brand is similarly important.

Whether your intent is to hire a designer in 3 months or 12, you want to make sure that the things you do—or say—in the interim will not have a negative effect on your overall brand.



B. YOU are 90 Days or Less From Hiring a Consultant YOU are preparing to work with a professional consultant within the next 90 days. As a result, this guide is a good way to facilitate the process of evaluating your company.

Before embarking upon a design or brand development project, your consultant will want to understand your business and strategic goals, as well as the big-picture ideas that make you unique among your competitors.

The process of working through this guide will help you articulate these things for yourself. Subsequently...

The more information and insight you can share with your consultant, the more engaging and effective (and fun) the project process will be.



HOW TO USE BRAND PREP 101 Before you go much further, you may want to print out this guide, if you havenʼt already. Then, take a look at the set of worksheets at the end of the document. Doing so will help you understand the type of information you should be thinking about with regards to your business.

After skimming the worksheets, though, read through the rest of the Brand Prep document more carefully (especially Section Two).

Once youʼve got a good handle on the ideas presented, return to the worksheets. The important thing is to make sure you understand why each question is included and what itʼs asking. If itʼs helpful, you may want to fill out the worksheets as you go— thatʼs up to you.

In addition, it would benefit you to include your business partner(s) and/or essential employees in this exercise. Each 9 | BRAND PREP 101 MIYO STUDIOS |


of you should fill out the worksheets and then come together to discuss your answers.

You may find that your team is on the same page regarding the key ideas driving your business and, subsequently, your brand. If so, great. If not, however, youʼll want to discuss the reasons why.

Your basic goal is to determine the concise and consistent message you want to convey to the world—both inside and outside your organization. 10 | BRAND PREP 101 MIYO STUDIOS |

COMMON TERMS DEFINED Before moving forward in greater detail, itʼs important that we proceed with a common understanding of a few key terms you are probably familiar with.

The list below contains only the essential terms for our purposes, however, itʼs a good foundation upon which to build a deeper level of knowledge. Understanding these basics will help illuminate the long-term objectives you are trying to achieve in the development of your overall brand and messaging.

As you review each of these terms, think about what they mean for your business—now and in the future.



Brand Prep 101 Essential Terms:

BRAND A brand exists in the mind. It is shaped by both the tangible (i.e. product packaging) and intangible (i.e. product performance) associations that the consumer connects with a product or service.

Key Point: This is what your customers think and feel when they hear your (company) name. BRANDING The process of developing, selecting, and mixing the various elements that can be used to differentiate your product or service from competitors.

Key Point: The key word is process. Itʼs not a quick fix. Itʼs not one-size-fits-all. 12 | BRAND PREP 101 MIYO STUDIOS |


BRAND ELEMENTS These include visual components, such as logos, packaging, imagery and color, in addition to experiential characteristics (i.e. the speed and handling of a Porsche) that can be associated with a brand.

Key Point: These elements are the vocabulary used to communicate your brand to the outside world. POSITIONING The process of establishing a brand in a distinct “location” in the minds of consumers, differentiated from competitors.

Key Point: The better you differentiate yourself, the stronger your position in the market.



CORPORATE IDENTITY The visual identity of a corporation (logo, stationary, signage, etc.) intended to help differentiate it from competitors.

Key Point: The elements included in your corporate identity suite must be aligned with your unique message. BRAND EQUITY The value of a brand to consumers, measured by their commitment to, and demand for, the products and/or services of the brand.

Key Point: Earning strong brand equity among your customers is your ultimate goal.



What All of This Means... The process of developing a brand is not a cookie-cutter task. In order to achieve the ultimate goal of establishing strong brand equity with your audience, itʼs imperative to build upon a solid foundation.

That means you must define your overall business strategy— including your target market, desired image, future goals, etc.— before you begin the branding process.

Your logo, on itʼs own, is not the totality of your brand. Nor is your

The visual elements you use to represent your company are not your brand, per se. These things are simply tools to be used in communicating the essence of your business to your audience.

As you begin to define each of the parts and pieces of your company brand, you will soon see how they work together to deliver a singular message.


website. Or your tagline...

Brand Prep 101: The Basic Steps You Can Take To Avoid Destroying Your Brand And Start Developing It  

Despite the long title, Brand Prep 101 is a straight-forward, informative guide to making your business brand the best it can be. From day o...

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