“Branding is how other people feel about your business. It is what people say about you when you are not in the room,” according to a branding builder Thursday.
“Every business has a brand,” Ricardo McRae, the co-founder and chief artistic officer of Wedge15, said. “Whether you created one or not, everyone leaves everyone that they encounter with an experience. So your company’s brand is the feeling that you leave your customers with.”
Wedge15 was founded in 2008 by Ricardo McRae and his wife Gloria Roheim McRae. Their Toronto company consists of brand builders who strategize with businesses through digital strategy, project management, design development, branding, marketing and online training.
Branding experts at Wedge15 lead entrepreneurs through online training programs and “BrandStorming” exercises to help companies to define, discern and then demonstrate their brand value.
“Our strategists first begin with asking business owners why they started their company and what their motivations are,” McRae said. “We then discover what their customers need and then from there, we are able to begin creating their brand as a business.”
McRae advised both startup companies and existing business experts to follow a three-step process in order to build your brand.
Define Your Brand
“You must first ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing rather than what you do,” McRae said. “You need to understand your motivations, what gets you out of bed in the morning, and why your business even matters. You must truly define why you are running your specific business.”
Design Your Brand
“You must consider who your target customer is, what they need, and how to solve their problems,” McRae said. “Once you become specific about who your clients are, you are able to design a brand that can pull people in. So it is a pull strategy rather than a push strategy because you can create good content for that specific target customer.”
Socialize Your Brand
“You must advertise and use social media to draw customers in,” McRae said. “Your content must engage people so they will like it, comment on it, or share it because you have designed it for them. You will then have their attention and they will be interested in engaging in a business relationship.”
Business owners must acknowledge that there are a cost and a price for branding, McRae said.
“The price of branding is how much you want to spend to build your brand,” McRae said. “You can go online and pay for training programs but ultimately you get what you pay for.”
However, the cost of what you buy to brand your business is the residual return on that investment, McRae said.
McRae also admits that branding will not make or break your business but it will make the entire experience easier.
“You must put your company’s name out there on social media,” McRae said. “You are the brand and everything you do must be in line with that image people have of you as a business.”
Also, watch Ricardo and Gloria Roheim McRae’s TEDxUW.