How can you be found if you do not know who you are?
Branding is a hot term in the modern age. It has many different perspectives of what it is.
Is it a logo?
Does it mean I have to sell something?
I just like being in the outdoors, do I need a brand?
First, let us define what branding is.
Marty Neumeier, author and speaker on all things brand, defines branding this way:
“A brand is not a logo. A brand is not an identity. A brand is not a product. A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organization.”
In his book, Brand Gap, he aligns you to what a brand actually is as opposed to what people say about what a brand is.
Why Do I Need a Brand?
This will be defined by you. If you enjoy the outdoors for the sake of being in the outdoors, then you may not need to develop a personal brand around that. The idea behind building a brand is for the sake of communication.
Community is built by those who rally around a shared topic or experience. It is a place to gather and engage in the lifestyle that they enjoy or wish to be a part of. This is a primary motivation of creating a brand. All it will take is a few minutes on Instagram to see that people enjoy being a part of something. If you desire to develop a community around crappie fishing, then you may seek to create a personal brand. If you are looking to become a leader in trout fishing to add value to the industry, you may want to consider creating a brand. Even if you enjoy sharing your outdoors experiences with others as a way to connect and inspire, you may want to consider building a brand.
The answer should come easy to those who are building a product for the industry. Yes, you will have to develop a brand. Yes, you will have to add value to the industry and connect with those who are engaging with you and your product.
Here is the biggest issue with product brands in the outdoors industry:
THERE IS NO BRANDING
Developing a cool product is not enough anymore. Showing people how your product works alone is not enough to get people to click the Buy button. If you are selling a product to the outdoors industry, you have to communicate.
How Do I Communicate?
If you recall, branding is not what YOU say you are, it is what THEY say you are. And if you are not a part of the conversation then you cannot know what is being said.
There are many avenues that you as a brand are able to connect and communicate with those who have chosen to be a part of the community you have built.
Social Media, YouTube, blogging, and email are all “touch-points” that will ensure you are part of the conversation. You, as a brand, are able to guide the conversation through everything you do that is seen, heard, or read.
People can smell if you are only trying to sell them something and do not consider them or their lifestyle. Without developing a brand around who you are as a person, community, or business you will lose momentum and the conversation can turn on you overnight.
Developing a Brand Guide is the best way to align your personal brand or business to know who you are, what you stand for, how you are valuable, and why people should care. The Brand Guide allows for you to develop your design aesthetic as well. What your logo will look like. How you will use your typography on your website and graphic designs. What colors people will see and recognize with you.
The above image is a guide to how to view Branding in relation to the rest of your business strategy and execution.
This is just a taste into the world of branding, but we have good news!