5 steps to building a brand people want

"In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action." Michael Angelo

Michael Angelo’s “David” – photo by D H Wright

Michael Angelo once said: “In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.

Many entrepreneurs have a similar vision. They see the opportunity where others don’t. Like a sculptor, they are willing to chip away obstacles to bring their idea to life.

Here are 5 steps to turning that brand vision into a brand that people want:

  • Know what you are making – Just like Michael Angelo knew what to chip away at in order to reveal the sculpture, you need to know what you are building and why. Go beyond features and benefits and get to the heart of what your brand stands for. Simon Sinek’s TED presentation does an excellent job of explaining why you’ll want to start with answering the question “why.”
  • Know who you’re making it for – Sculptures aren’t for everyone. And that’s okay. Just like an artist recognizes that s/he doesnt have to be all things to all people, so should you. Once you’ve decided why your brand exists, identify the people you want your brand to connect with. Look at their demographics, psychographics and culturegraphics. Identify the size of your potential market and uncover actionable insights about what makes them tick. Doing so will help you craft the messages you need to deliver to cut through the clutter.
  • Use the right tools – Be it sculpting, woodworking, branding or marketing, there are always more tools and communications channels than you likely need to get the job done. Figure out what channels make the most sense to reach your audience. Then coordinate the use of those channels – email, social media networking sites, direct mail, etc.  Like the authors of “Marketing in the Round” explain, sync all messaging, strategies, and tactics and optimize every medium and platform to deliver the right targeted messages in an integrated manner.
  • Converse – Like great art, building a brand is about creating a conversation between the brand and a community. Using media channels to simply disseminate information is only one-way. Use your brand to elicit discussion about what matters to your audience. Create shareable content, respond to questions, provoke discussion, and listen.
  • Find out if they like it and what they like about it – The only way we’ll know if we’re delivering something that the people we care about actually want is if we observe and ask. Identify your key performance indicators for your business and for your communications efforts. Set benchmarks and then actively engage in the analytics. Google evangelist Avinash Kaushik suggests 4 social media metrics that will get you thinking about what you need to measure, and why.

There’s only one Michael Angelo. But then again, there’s also only one you. Use these steps to bring your vision to life and build a brand that people want.

If you have any other suggestions, please chime in!