Building Out Your Clear Plan

I hope you feel proud of yourself today.

By completing the steps thus far, you should now have a foundation for a clear plan. And that’s important.

Now, let’s build on that foundation…

Branding. I know, what the heck is it…really? Here is what you need to know in plain terms.

  • You have one, no matter what.
  • It’s important for every organization (not just global corporations).
  • Branding may feel mysterious, but it’s not hard to grasp.
  • Your “logo” is not your brand, but it is an important ingredient.

Your brand is akin to a first impression and reputation. Your brand is what comes to mind when your audience interacts with your organization. Your brand is what your audience feels about you. Most importantly, your brand is what you make your audience feel about themselves.

Step 3 to Creating a Successful Plan

You’ve pinpointed how you help your audience (step 1) and built a message to share it (step 2). Here’s how to make your brand work for you.

Design a brand that carries your message along and primarily appeals to your audience, not you.

Our theme of ‘serving others over self’ continues. This is why branding is Step 3, and not Step 1. How you help your audience and what you say about it must shape your brand. That’s why you never start with, “I need a logo.” Instead, follow these guidelines to build your brand. 

  • Describe your primary audience.
  • Write down what you want your audience to experience from their relationship with your organization.
  • How do you want them to feel about themselves?
  • What main colors help you communicate that (i.e. blues communicate trust, black&white says refined, pink is for love and ladies, etc.)
  • Define the ideal vibe for your audience (hipster, fun, minimal, traditional).
  • Choose a great designer who understands the importance and role of your brand.
  • Ensure your designer provides a ‘Branding Style Guide’. If they don’t know what you’re talking about, they don’t know what they’re talking about.

Resist oversimplifying branding to just a logo. This is a critical step usually requiring some outside expertise to get going. Design your brand as an expression of your message. Aim it at your ideal audience. And once you define it, stick to it religiously.

Branding may may seem too cumbersome or pricey to deal with. But consider this, ho-hum branding is costly. It costs you potential impact. You’ll also find it harder fixing a boring brand than building an engaging brand. Brands are not like bedsheets—you can’t throw a fresh set on in three minutes. Do it right, now!…and reap the rewards over the long haul.

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