You can ruin a brand image the same way you can ruin a road trip: overplanning.

A good road trip should have the right crew, a destination, and a loose plan to get there. They also have a mind of their own; with a plan that allows the road to take the reins once the trip has started.

Crafting your brand image, or brand identity, is the same way. You should know your target audience, know the channels your customers prefer, and have a loose plan for what to say when you start talking.

Like a road trip, don’t overthink your brand image. You know your business, and you have the confidence to let it grow into whatever brand it needs to be to speak to your customers.

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Who do you want to talk with every day?

A good business interacts with their customers, building relationships instead of transactions or revenue. If you love your products, and could speak about your products for hours, find the customers that want to talk for hours about your products with you.

If you haven’t started selling anything yet, write down the characteristics of your dream customer. Be as specific as possible. What do they like, what don’t they like, what problems do they have, and how do they spend their time? If you have customers, talk to them. Find out why they purchased from your business or like your products. Chances are, your ideal customers may think a lot like you.

Where are you going to go with these customers?

Your ideal audience is somewhere on the internet, having conversations. Your goal is to find out where most customers are talking, and where they’re looking for solutions to their problems. Your products are the solution, so you need to start involving yourself in these conversations to help customers solve their problem faster.  

There’s a good chance your customers are spending a majority of their time online reading blogs, or on social media. Secure a professional domain and build a website to house content that helps customers solve their problems. Build social media profiles and start talking to potential customers. Keep the focus off your business, and on helping your customer.

Speak to your target audience like a friend

The most common hang up about reaching out to customers, or starting a blog and writing content, is the fear of what to say once you get there. It depends on your target audience. Be respectful, inviting, and when possible, let the customer do most of the talking. It’s alright for your business to stand for something, and if it does have a perspective, share it.

If you want to dial up the personality, then match it to your audience. If your business is serious and no-nonsense, like a law firm, speak in a more academic tone. If you’re designing craft brews or brewing high-end artisanal coffee, you can take a more creative approach. When using humor, make sure to keep it respectful and helpful. Be yourself and let it come naturally.

Focus on your customer, not your brand image

Like letting the road take control, your brand image can develop naturally as you focus on helping your customers. Once you have the right target audience for your business, and you’re using the right channels to speak to those customers, the rest is about the customer.

No matter what kind of brand image you’re creating, trust is the most important metric. Trust is what turns website visitors into customers, and customers into loyal, repeat customers. A trusted brand means the audience knows you’re there to help them with their problems, and not focused on yourself. A high level of trust can even lead to a higher frequency of referrals, spreading your business across the internet without any extra work, or budget, on your part.

Where we’re going we don’t need roads

You could map out an exact brand image that attempts to present your business as the perfect solution to your customer problems. There’s only one problem: nobody’s perfect. Instead, plan ahead so you know the target audience, the channels to use, and an idea of what to say, but stay focused on helping your customers. If your main focus is helping your customers, your brand builds trust – naturally.


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