10 Questions to Help you Identify Your Brand

March 18, 2009 | Branding, Startups

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Branding can be a complex subject. As a designer, I tend to focus on the look & feel of a brand, but there is much more to it than that. Creating a unique and memorable brand will make you (your company or product) stand out. However figuring who you are, can be a difficult job. And it’s essential to do this work before developing any graphic systems.

The process involves both introspection as well as a keen view of the competition. This list of questions focuses on you and your company’s identity. Check back shortly for additional questions to help you identify your position within the marketplace.

Introspective questions:

  1. If you were a celebrity who would you be? Oprah, Will Ferrell, Tiger Woods, George Clooney, etc. Each of these names brings to mind a certain set of characteristics.
  2. If you were an article of clothing, what would it be? Sweat pants, faded blue jeans, stiletto heels, perfectly tailored black suit. Each is worn at different times, and serves different functions.
  3. If you were a store, which one would you be? Brooks Brothers, Home Depot, Whole Foods, Trader Joes: each has it’s own purpose, it’s own products, it’s own clientele.
  4. If you were a food, what would you be? Sushi, banana, filet mignon. Are you a special treat or an everyday dish? A whole meal or just a snack?
  5. Are you branding yourself or something bigger? Many firms start with one person and rely on his or her experience. But is this your end goal? Think about where you want to be long term.
  6. What are 10 adjectives or phrases you’d use to describe your entity? Attentive to detail, out-going, science-based, etc.
  7. How do those characteristics manifest themselves? For example a person who’s out-going smiles and says “hi” to everyone. Someone who’s scientific is likely to refer to carefully tabulated data to make a point.
  8. What position or reputation do you already hold? This is especially true for businesses getting started based on the experience of just one or two key people. How do your colleagues, friends, family, potential or current clients view you?
  9. Who are you trying to reach? Who will be your customers, what are their demographics, what are they like?
  10. What are your core values? While you may think of such things as “honesty” or “frugality” as  too abstract for your brand. They’re not. While they may not become a central theme they cannot be contradictory to what you’re developing or you will always struggle with your branding.

This list can help you identify potential strengths and unique traits for your brand. It will also help you avoid (or address) your weaknesses. You should continually use your answers here as a way to evaluate the development of your branding elements. Do the materials jibe with what you’ve articulated here?

Read the next 10 questions to help you identify your position within the marketplace.

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