If your brand was a magazine, your name and logo would be at the top of the cover, your services or products would be featured as well with nice, big promises to match. Your colour palette would dominate the cover as would the image(s) you’ve chosen. But what would the reader find inside the magazine? Do you know what articles the magazine might run? And what about your readership? Who are they? Perhaps that’s one of the first things you need to find out (actually, probably should have a good idea of them even before you design the front cover). You with me so far on the whole magazine analogy?
Which shelf is it on?
Imagine your magazine is displayed in a news agent’s shop. Which shelf is it on? What magazines are placed next to it? Do they make some of the same claims as you? What makes your magazine different? Your magazine caught her eye, she could see there was something about you - she’s just not sure what it is yet. You need to tell her exactly what makes you different to the rest.
What’s in the table of contents?
So, the potential reader has now picked up your magazine. She liked the look of it and bought into some of the claims it made on the front page. Naturally, she would question these claims and wonder if the magazine would live up to them. When she then opens the magazine what would she be met with? Would the editor’s note perhaps say something about the purpose of this magazine and what its mission is in “life”?
How about the table of contents on the next page - what articles would the reader find interesting? One thing is for sure, she doesn’t want it to be ads on every other page, she wants substance and meaning and a reason why she should keep turning the page.
Which articles does it feature?
Magazines tell stories. Each article is a story in it’s own right. And there is no doubt that the reader wants to know your story of how your business came to be, what came before, why you decided to start it and where you think it might go in the future. Was there a turning point for you that made you decide to start your business? Did you have a “lightbulb moment”? What event or series of events led you to start your business?
Another article she will definitely want to read is the one that tells her why you do what you do. She is not interested in flexibility, working hours or your ability to spend time with your family. To her, that’s a given - she’s probably the same in that she wants that too. No, she wants to know the reason behind why you do what you do, the “real” reason why! Why does she want to know this? Because she wants to know if this is the magazine for her. If she feels a genuine connection with the person featured in the article, then she is much more likely to buy the magazine again.
What does the magazine stand for?
Another important aspect of the magazine is its values. Through the stories in the magazines, through the images and the feel of the magazine, the reader gets a sense of the values behind the magazine. Do they align with what she thinks is important in her life? If they shine through on every page, then she will be able to quickly assess if they are her kind of values too. The shared values create trust, add meaning and give consistency to the content of your magazine.
The tone of the articles is equally important. She will feel a connection if she feels that she is important, that the articles are talking to her in her kind of language, using the sort of words she would use.
Do you want her to subscribe?
Finally, if you want her to subscribe to your magazine you will have to let her know what’s in it for her. What’s the benefit to her when she subscribes, what’s your promise to her?
Why the magazine analogy?
Well, I thought it would be an easy way of getting back to basics. What is brand vs. branding? The difference is that brand is the overall impression the reader is left with once she’s read the magazine and what she then goes off and tells her friends and peers about the magazine. Branding is what you write in the magazine. What you write can influence what stories she tells everyone about you. If you don’t fill the magazine with these stories, then she doesn’t know what to believe, she has no stories to tell her friends (or she just makes them up) and she has no reason to buy your magazine again.
So, you see, you have the power to influence your brand. The way you do it, is by answering your ideal client’s questions about you, telling your story and living up to your promise.
If you have any questions regarding brand/branding or specifically related to your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch, either via the contact form here on my website or through a DM on instagram.