Last night, Cincinnati Innovates hosted Branding 101 for Entrepreneurs at Taft Center, where I had the opportunity to talk branding to some local start-ups.
Since most can’t commit to a lofty agency budget to create a brand strategy, one of my challenges was to keep the message simple and easy to understand, as well as empower the audience to apply these basics to their business.
So, I went back to the basics, discussing: What is a brand? What is its promise in the marketplace? How is it different from competitors? While these are relatively simple concepts, it does not minimize the very serious challenge of building a viable brand strategy while also managing the day-to-day operations of a fledgling venture.
It was obvious that this dynamic group was eager to apply these ideas to their brands, and gratifying to sense the enthusiasm in the room.
Some summary thoughts to those who attended (and those who did not):
1) Commit. Now that you are armed with the basics, commit to building your brand. Be as determined as you were to build your business—commit to investing in your brand and delivering on your promise to consumers.
2) Define. Take the time to define the strategy. Words matter, so put it on paper.
3) Engage. Now that you have a brand strategy, engage and enroll others on your team. Brainstorm and strengthen what you’ve created. The process will begin to have meaning and purpose.
4) Measure. Hold your team, freelancers and consultants accountable. Remind them of your brand’s promise. Keep a timeline of decisions and track where you are going.
Again, I was privileged to address such core issues—I look forward to keeping tabs on these emerging brands in the marketplace.
If you’re an entrepreneur in the Cincinnati area, visit: www.cincinnatiinnovates.com for more information. LPK is in its third year of committing $10,000 in brand consultancy services to the innovation winner.