5 CRITICAL ELEMENTS OF A POWERFUL BRAND IMAGE

Right now, you probably have the urge to go to Target and buy a whole bunch of stuff you never needed.

Don't worry you are not alone. (If you're being honest, you probably were thinking about going before you landed on this post...)

Target has bulls eyed its way into the hearts of American consumers.

How?

They have spunk, a whole lot of  personality, and their knack for making the cutest things EVER get us to fill our carts every time we go in.  

Establishing a solid and recognizable image is what will help people think about you, even when they are not in front of your brand. Click through for a free workbook!

Target has built a consistent brand image by not only having what people need but creating a sense of fun. Even though the store is a big box department store, you are able to go in and feel at home. It's kind of genius the way they've created a sense of familiarity in every single location. There have been times I walked into Walmart, and then quickly left to drive 2 more miles to Target.

Even though Target is a large brand, I chose it to analyze so that I could show you that these elements will apply to ANY business size. It is even more critical that you establish these 5 elements as you build your business and brand image ASAP. Even if you have an established business, honing in on your brand image will further solidify your brand's presence.

Establishing a solid and recognizable image is what will help people think about you, even when they are not in front of your brand. Click through for a free workbook!

We're going to dive right in but stick around because there is a FREE Powerful Brand Analysis Workbook at the end.

5 CRITICAL ELEMENTS OF A POWERFUL BRAND IMAGE

Establishing a brand image is a simple as posting crappy mirror selfies of yourself every day at the same time. Whoa! don't be offended, it's not that mirror selfies are not cool...I've seen great, artistically rendered mirror selfies. 

Still, that's not the type of image you want, right?

The focus here is to build a powerful and recognizable brand image that stands out in the midst of the 8000 million other brands like yours.  (yep, I made that number up)

Remember:

No one can coach exactly like you.

No one can give the exact same perspective that you have.

It is your job to focus and direct your brand so that it effectively communicates what you are passionate about.

Building a powerful brand image is a matter of finding your focus and learning a way to build on it. Ever aspect of your brand should work together and feel like they fit. 

Your powerful brand is unique and relatable.

There are five critical of a powerful brand: appearance, personality, interaction, confidence, and consistency. 

You will find that each piece builds on each other. Taking one away is kind of like that one time you accidentally snatched an apple from the middle and all the apples came tumbling down around you as you stood there helpless. 

Each element unfolds a new opportunity to WOW potential clients and readers by providing familiarity just like Target does.

1. APPEARANCE

The overall appearance of your brand includes your personal appearance (clothes, hair, and makeup), your logo and digital branding and your brand's colors. 

Appearance is the first critical element because it is what draws people in – whether the first interaction is in-person or online. The appearance of your overall brand is where you can really amp it up because as  we learned, people really give you about 7 seconds to make an impression. The visual  aspects of your brand is what grabs attention and brings people to you.

Establishing a solid and recognizable image is what will help people think about you, even when they are not in front of your brand.

For example, I often get people sending me photos of colorful walls, or tagging me in their own colorful photos because it "reminded them of me" Having that type of impression is critical for your powerful brand image, because when people do need something that you have, you will be the first to pop into their mind. 

You want to have an influence on a person that is so heavy, a body builder can't even lift it.

BRANDING

Everything about your brand - logo, fonts,  photos, colors, will be the "attraction" to your brand.

Creating an intentional and describable aesthetic is the absolute best way to define your brand. 

For example, you can decide that your brand has a vintage feel, like Jenna Soard. She consistently uses images, and fonts that match the overall aesthitic of her brand.

YOUR STYLE

Entrepreneurs ask me this all the time:

"Why does it matter how I dress?"

We'll get REALLY in-depth and specific about this next week, but you want to have a closet that prepares you to meet with someone on a whim. Even when you appear in webinars, headshots, Periscope - having a wardrobe that matches your brand will help you to solidify your image even more. It's one of those things that you may not notice its power until you implement it. No one is saying "her shirt sucks" before you build a focus around your style – but they are saying "wow I love your shirt!" when you do take care.

I'll say it this way - personal style is something that you want to narrow down so that you look like you belong to your brand. For example, if you were shopping at Target and saw someone at the cash register wearing a blue shirt, you would probably be confused. 

(Oh yes, if you need to start defining your personal style, you can sign up for the 7 Day Closet Detox here!

How Target Does It

Bright, Fun, Lively

√ Every Target employee has on a red shirt with a name tag on it. The associates are easy to find and you know they are there to help you. 

√ They choose a bulls-eye as their logo. It effectively communicates that they are always "on Target" This causes people to use Target as a go-to or "one stop shop"


 
In this ever-changing society, the most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart. They are real and sustainable. Their foundations are stronger because they are built with the strength of the human spirit, not an ad campaign. The companies that are lasting are those that are authentic.
— Howard Schultz
 

2. PERSONALITY

Your personality is the foundation on which your brand is built. Your brand's personality are the human characteristics that causes people to relate to you.

This is really important. (guys seriously it's crucial)

As an entrepreneur (soloprenuer, infoprenuer, coach) YOU are your brand personality.

It is important that you insert your personality into your brand as soon as you create it.

As a matter of fact, it is important that you brand yourself based on your personality.

I just happened to be up late one night and caught Regina's  (from byRegina.com) Periscope and she was dropping some realness on us:

"I hate jobs because you have to adopt another personality, you're not able to be yourself....

A lot of times you have to do tasks that are not true to who you are. There is a constant of not being able to be yourself."

Powerful words.

Don't create another job for yourself. You want to create something that you love.

Regina further iterated

"Working for yourself allows you to be yourself, so I want to say unto you: Please stop trying to build a business that is not based on who you are. Because you'll be stuck being someone you're not."

All the claps in the world.

As a creative entrepreneur, you are likely the one and only point of contact and the only face for your brand.

This means that if your brand personality and your actual personality don't match, you are already creating a chasm in your brand's identity.  

Right from the start you will want to find a way to connect to people through your personality. Focus on something that is natural to the way that you think, and aligns with how you interact because people will recognize something that is forced.

HOW TARGET DOES IT

√ Target has effective commercials that tie into their appearance of fun. It is part of the reason moms feel like Target is their "vacation time" when they have a chance to go alone.

√ They also have a "helpful" spirit. 


 
Please stop trying to build a business that is not based on who you are, because you’ll be stuck being someone you are not.
— Regina Anaejionu of byRegina.com
 

3. INTERACTION

The way that you interact with current and potential clients can make or break your business. People will purchase emotionally and it is critical that your interactions with them lend to your brand image.  It is amazing how quickly one negative interaction with a brand will tear down a customer's trust, loyalty, and business. 

Points of Interaction

– face to face

– phone

– email + social media

Depending on your brand, you may have one point of interaction that is more frequently used. ALWAYS remember that interactions with your clients should be three things: 

– helpful

– relatable

– accurate

People want to buy from people, not robots.

Every single day I encounter customers who were upset about how they were treated, or the fact that they were not greeted, or that they did not feel welcome.

People want to feel that you are a friend who cares about them, not Ms. Money Bags, waiting to take all their money. 

Build a consistent method of effectively communicating the intention of your brand. 

Stick to that method until you find out it does not work. 

HOW TARGET DOES IT

√ They always greet you.

√ They ALWAYS resolve issues courteously 

4. CONFIDENCE

You ARE amazing.

That doesn't mean a thing if you don't believe it yourself.

If you don't believe it, your potential clients won't either. 

They might take their business to someone whose value is not as high as yours simply because they had more confidence.

Confidence is something that is built over time and in your business there are 3 components of confidence:

KNOWLEDGE

Super important, guys. 

Building a brand on something you know nothing about is not going to pan out.

There are two options: learn about it, or pick a different topic.

I did this for years. I was trying to build a cool "lifestyle brand" with expertise on fashion, beauty and travel. I only have expertise in one of those areas. I finally decided to dive deep into what I love and have a vast knowledge of.

That is how my brand became what it is now. I have a degree in Fashion and Retail studies, focused on the effects and influence of branding in retail. I then coupled that with my 10+ years of working in service with my borderline weird obsession with how people react in certain situations. I'm so serious about this. Sometimes I lurk in retail stores just to analyze the service and the customer's reaction. I'm such a weirdo.  

Honestly, the things that you are weirdly obsessed over are the things that will build your brand. 

I now blog about branding from an appearance and client interaction standpoint. I've literally (for real, for real) experienced EVERY type of interaction from negative to positive to ridiculous. I have a comprehensive understanding of how consumers think and voraciously try to find out more about the topic.

That is the type of thought process you want to have as you build your brand. You will want to draw on the knowledge that you have including education, experience, and the things that come naturally to you.  If someone asked me: 

"How would you respond if a client said XYZ" I would have a response without hesitation. 

Ask yourself:

"What do I have education and/or experience in?" 

BELIEF

Next, you must believe in the thing you have knowledge in to convey that to others. For example, I could learn everything I wanted about any religion. I could become well versed in whatever texts and teachings, and learn the prominent figures of the religion. 

Technically I could teach it.

But no matter what, I am a Christian, so it wouldn't make any sense for me to attempt to teach something I don't believe. 

The same thing goes for your business. If your knowledge is all about Pyramid sales, but you don't believe people should purchase this way, then don't get involved in this type of business! 

PASSION

Last, your business must be founded on something that you are passionate about. There is no way that you will convince me of anything unless you love it.

I have a friend who scouts for the Blue Jackets. 

He LOVES the game of hockey.

When he talks about it, his face lights up and he gets super excited about the strategy and the players

His passion was enough to convince me that just maybe, hockey is kind of cool.

Then I went to a game.

Everything that he said about it was true, and I was so intrigued, I could not stop trying to find where the puck went.

He convinced me to be a hockey fan.

THAT is what it's all about.

Be so dedicated, people will have no choice but to believe in you.


 
"KNOWLEDGE + BELIEF + PASSION = CONFIDENCE"
 

Establishing a solid and recognizable image is what will help people think about you, even when they are not in front of your brand. Click through for a free workbook!

5. CONSISTENCY

Consistency is the constant implementation of the aforementioned elements. Consistency in your brand image is the key to a powerful and lasting brand.

You want to make sure that when you appear in front of clients your image is recognizable every single time.

Example: 

Earlier this year, I worked with Death to Stock Photo for one of their awesome monthly stock photo packs. 

Here is one of the images:

Establishing a solid and recognizable image is what will help people think about you, even when they are not in front of your brand. Click through for a free workbook!

When someone comments on people's Instagram photo utilizing the image, Someone usually tags me

"Hey @tiffanyima, is this you!"

Or

"@tiffanyima I thought that was you!"

It makes me feel awesome.

It feels even better because my face is not in this image. It simply matches my Instagram branding because I work really hard to make sure that my feed constantly exhibits the overall appearance +personality of my brand.

The consistently bright images and jumping photos that I post is what caused Death to Stock to reach out and the reason why so many people recognized me in the image.

It is important to lay out exactly what you want your brand to be – YOU define your client, find them, and show them how awesome you are!

How Target Does it

√ When you walk into any Target, you will find a familiar traffic flow that is easy to navigate.

√ There is always an aisle with cheap seasonal items

√ They do their markdowns on the same days each week

Every single thing Target puts out there is a culmination of the 5 critical elements of a powerful brand image. For proof watch this commercial.

Appearance? check

Target is based on the fact that you can "expect more and pay less" This commercial pulls that together by showcasing the variety of things they offer.

By the end of this commercial, Target wanted you to feel like you could come in and find, clothes for mom, dad, and kid. Heck they even threw in the dog. 

Then they went even further to say "Hey, we can make your house look pretty sweet too!"

Personality? Check

Happy vibes, cheerful music, cozy family? All the personality in the world!

Interaction? Check

Though you are not interacting directly, they are interacting with you by using a family to convey the message that Target feels like home. 

Confidence? Check

This commercial is entitled "Check List, Target Style" 

That tells me "Hey, we've got what you need, I promise. You really don't have to go anywhere but here!"

Consistency? Abso-freakin-lutely! 

They rolled every single element of a powerful image into one commercial with ease.

Come to think of it, I need to go to Target.

Now it's your turn!

I created a free workbook to help you analyze your brand image or plan out what you want your image to look like. Download it, print it, and get real specific!

We're going to build your powerful brand image together. 

Tiffany Ima