How to get your head out of your hole when creating your brand
Punxsutawny Phil recently decided it's not going to be spring for a while. He woke up, took a peak at the world, and ran back home. At least that explains the 6 more weeks of winter thing, which seems counter-intuitive to me. I mean, if its sunny outside, we humans tend to think spring is on its way.
If a ground hog appears and no one is there to see it, is there even a shadow? Sometimes we are afraid of our own shadows, and we run and hide. My cat sometimes chases its own shadow. A better move, I think, than running from our shadows. But we humans, unlike Phil, take facts and create all sorts of nonsense interpreting our environment. Take it from me, I'm a copywriter so I'm in the business of making meaning.
So, here's my point: Many of us are afraid to be creative with our brand and business story, because we don't really understand how our customers see us. What do you do better than your competitors? If your business is so unique as to not have competition (yet), what is it that draws customers to you? What problem do you solve, or unique benefit do you provide, from your customers point of view? If you have a car wash, for example, do your customers come because your superior service in making their car sparkling clean...or because you're dirt cheap?
Once you've written out a brief sketch of who you're talking to, and what and who your business is, and your brand "promise", write down or brainstorm with coworkers or friends some metaphors and similes. For example, if you pride yourself on quick service, terms such as "lightning fast" "cheetah" and "fast cars" come to mind. If the qualities of your business are more abstract, simply jot down the words that describe those qualities -- for example, "organized", "responsive" and "dedicated". You can use the terms you come up with to do image searches. Since one image is worth a thousand words, you'll save yourself both time and money by finding the image that best resonates with your brand.
Looking through images this way can help you with your branding exercise, which leads to better branding images -- whether your doing business cards, ads, banners or what have you.