51 - Tip Tuesday - Branding 101 with Dacia Coffey

If you’re anything like me, I thought I knew a little bit about branding, but I really couldn’t tell you what it truly meant.  It seems now days everyone and their mom is a branding expert.  However, I wanted to bring Dacia on to get the lowdown of what it really means to create your brand, and how this can be applied to a new business.

Dacia is a B2B marketing strategist and helps companies make sure their marketing efforts line up with their brand efforts.  So much of the research of businesses is all done online now.  It’s all about how people understand you.  However, that brand needs to move your sales cycle forward.  Your brand has to have a job that at the end of the day means more clients and more money for you.

When it comes to your brand, what does that really mean?  Simply put, your brand is your truth.  It’s what is true about you, about how you interact with your customers and your employees, and about how you deliver your product or service.   People usually get this idea that they can build a façade, but that will crumble.   A shiny logo will never protect you from yourself, so it’s important to know who you are, and put that out there to the world.

The brand is really also not only how you see your truth, but as the world sees your truth.  It’s also seeing how the world describes your truth or company.  Find out how people would describe you when you’re not in the room.  It’s also about what the world perceives you.

What happens if you think your truth is one thing, but when you ask your customers they see you in a completely different light?  Dacia thinks to stay towards the direction of alignment.  There is opportunity for growth, and it can provide some insight of where you might be falling short.  Really listen to what they’re saying and be brave and bold enough to ask more questions.  If you’re talking to those customers, they’re resonanting with you for a reason that’s important to them.  We need to let go of that preconceived notion of ourselves.

Can your truth be vague or does it have to be super detailed?  Dacia always recommends starting with your why.  That will be a significant part with.  Then there’s also a what, what are people resonating with.   You may find that what people are resonating with aren’t what you initially planned on representing your brand.

Dacia discovered people resonated with her passion and excitement.  It surprised her, but then she started to lead with that.  It’s reflected in the little things, like bright colors on her website and in the copy.

So you find those things that describe you and make sure that’s always put forward?  Yes, Dacia recommends to find your adjectives, and let those lead.  Find out how you can add more of that in your marketing.

What’s great about that is your staff can also see your adjectives and help relay those?  It’s so important to migrate to a ‘we’ with your whole team.  So they understand how people engage with your company, and ask people what they see. 

What are some of the biggest branding mistakes people make?  First, that people think that their brand is their logo.  The logo is actually your execution of your truth (brand) to the world.  It also includes your blog, etc, all those that distribute your brand.  Your brand is really about taking your adjectives and make sure your tools all say the same thing. 

The second branding mistake is that people get really comfortable talking about experience, history, and case studies.  They feel like those checks by their name. is what the world is looking for.  However, it’s really about your ability to be able to solve a problem that people are seeking.   You can start by answering a question and serving the world by doing what you do great.  On the top of the brochure, lead with, we help with this problem, by doing such and such instead of listing out your experience. 

Brand is all about you show up and serve the world.

It’s not about experience, but what you can solve?  As Dacia said it’s all about standing inside of your strength, and people will connect with that.   It all takes courage though. 

Along with asking your why and your what, you should add a third question of ‘what problem am I solving?’.  Instead of trying to serve everyone, you should try to really connect with people on a real level.  Be really clear about who your perfect audience and client is.  Then think about what problem you are solving for them, and why you’re uniquely suited to get them out of pain.  So be willing to connect with a specific group of people.   Really lead with a heart of service.  

It's not about being crazy specific, where you only have to help one demographic, you just have to make sure that you're connecting.  

If you're looking for a branding expert what should you be asking?  Find out what kind of discovery process they're going to go through.  They need to be able to do some digging, and they need to be able to hear what you can't hear. The second thing, is ask them about when they present ideas, how they will give you their explanation and rationale. Find out where it's coming from.  Make sure you have a conversation so you can understand later on.  They will be talking to you about why they'll be putting certain ideas forward.  Make it more than just pretty words and pictures. Make sure you're signing up so those pretty words and pretty pictures are telling a much bigger story.

Ask about their process and be clear what their deliverables are.  It can be just strategic and consultative, and then it can also be business cards, letter head, websites, etc, but there's no story behind it.  You have to make sure that the message of what you stand for is clear, and you're also clear on how to move forward with that.

Also, make sure that the person or company is crystal clear on who you're targeting and may challenge you on it and make you get more specific, if you need to be.   

 You can find Dacia at The Marketing Blender.com and also at LinkedIn.

More About Dacia:  Work is not a place and your brand is not your logo. These are two truths upon which Dacia Coffey, CEO and lead strategist, built her marketing agency, Blender (http://themarketingblender. com/). As a brand strategist, she has built a reputation in the business-to-business world for creating marketing brands and strategies that increase revenue. As both a former copywriter and top-tier sales professional, she loves developing the stories and directing the words that connect people to one another at the gut level. She is passionate about bringing the human element back to business communication. Dacia plans to launch a personal-brand consultancy in 2015 named Mojo Brand Builders (http://mojobrandbuilders.com/ ).


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