The Four Vs of Micro Business Branding
I have taken you on a micro business branding journey over my past few blog posts!
So, by now, you should be crystal-clear about the meaning of a brand (it’s so much more than a logo!), how to define your brand values, and how to hone in on your target customer.
If you missed out on what went before, here are some handy links so you can play catch-up:
- Branding Basics: So, What Exactly IS a Brand?
- Micro and Side Hustle Business Branding: The Value of Brand Values
- Micro and Side Hustle Business Branding: Who Are Your Customers?
Now you’ve got all the background, it’s time to build consistency and practicality into your micro and side hustle business branding, by bringing all the elements you’ve learned so far together.
Let’s get going with the brand implementation process I created – THE FOUR Vs
Understanding The Four Vs in Micro Business Branding
‘The Four Vs’ is a process I developed; it’s a term I use to describe business brand implementation and consistency practicalities.
The Four Vs are:
- Values – brand values define your core philosophy and personal beliefs, informing all you do in business
- Vocals – what you say, and how you say it
- Visuals – your brand’s look, appearance, and actions
- Verbals – the written aspect of your brand (including the views you express in blog posts, on social media, and in magazine articles)
Why are The Four Vs so Important in Micro Business Branding?
Each “V” is crucial in its own right, because it will help you understand the look, feel and voice of your brand.
It’s also important that all four work together in harmony, so that you can use your brand to establish trust, loyalty, differentiation and recognition with potential customers.
Let’s take an example; let’s look at Innocent.
OK, Innocent Drinks is not a micro business, but it’s nice example of a well-know, easily identifiable brand.
The company promotes itself as friendly and socially responsible with a strong health and ‘green’ ethos. So when Coca Cola took over the business in 2013, it was a risky move (after all, Coca Cola is a huge organisation that isn’t often credited for its healthy products or eco-credentials!)
To combat any confusion, Innocent dedicated a page on their website that fully explains their relationship with Coca Cola, and sets out exactly how they work together.
The language is as chatty and informative as ever, and the story told is completely on-brand. Reading it feels as though you’ve been personally taken into Innocent’s confidence, and that they care not only about the planet, but also the people who buy their drinks.
The result is that, as a customer, that vital sense of trust is not broken, but strengthened.
So let’s look at how The Four Vs can help you build a truly congruent brand.
1. Your Values
We’ve covered this one in detail in a previous blog post – it’s worth a read or a revisit as it’s full of hints and tips, but you will also find a handy exercise to help you define your values if you haven’t done that so far.
Don’t skip this one.
Your values not only underpin all you do, they will also inform the remaining three Vs.
2. Your Vocals
Many of the micro and side hustle business owners I work with are shy about speaking up. But if you’re not talking about your business, I can guarantee others will be talking about theirs, so don’t miss out.
Your vocals cover everything from your elevator pitch, to formal business presentations. If you really are nervous about speaking in public, remember that preparation is the best nerve-beater around!
Crafting a pitch in advance, one that explains what you do rather than what you are, will not only help you avoid being stereotyped, it can even make you look forward to telling people about your business.
As an illustration, consider swapping “I’m an accountant” (what you are), for “I help you pay less tax” (what you do) when introducing yourself to new people. The first sentence is yawn-inducing, while the second is intriguing!
(Note: if you’ve completed the Target Customer Problem-Solving Statement from my last blog post, you’ll have a good head start on this).
3. Your Visuals
This is where your logo – or ‘visual identity’ – comes into play!
Very often, your visual identity is what potential customers will recognise before anything else. I would always recommend asking a professional to design your logo for exactly that reason.
When we consider that it’s common for a single person to be bombarded with over 60,000 different brand identities, there’s even more reason for yours to be memorable.
However, as designers work best with a clear brief, make approaching one the last stop on your branding journey. If you don’t understand your values or haven’t identified your customers your designer may simply work within the confines of what they know (or think they know) about your industry and you will end up with something totally generic; dark blue for accountancy, or earth tones for therapy.
The result? Your brand won’t stand out.
4. Your Verbals
What do you want to say, and how do you want to say it?
Large businesses develop something called a ‘style guide’, to help them keep consistency in their visual AND written communications – even for simple things like using “would not” or “wouldn’t” (what do you notice about the way I write??).
You could consider doing this too, even if your business consists of just you.
A good rule of thumb is never writing anything you wouldn’t be happy to say out loud, in front of a potential client – or in front of your Granny, if you want to take it further!
Along with things like tweets, blogs and social media posts, your strapline is part of your verbals, so make sure yours is informative, as opposed to overly creative. Use it to sum up the ideal mood of your customers when they deal with your brand – think L’Oreal’s ‘Because You’re Worth It’, or Nike’s ‘Just Do It’.
Remember “It Does What it Says on the Tin” (Literally!)
Need more help?BOOK A DISCOVERY CALL To see how I can help you right now!