I get asked a lot of questions about branding. For the time being, here’s how I can make your life – and brand – better.

1. OK. What’s a brand?

I’m going to put on my Brand Anthropologist hat to answer that question. A brand is a complex bundle of feelings. It’s how you’d like the people in your world (customers, tribe, clients) to feel about you and your business. Imagine a brand infused with an irresistible luster: It’s going to make your customers’ hearts beat a little faster, right? If they’re confused or baffled by your brand, they’re not to going to buy. (Confused minds never buy.) So zero in on that scintillating spark in your business and bundle it up. (Hello, brand!)

Your brand is what sets you and your business apart. You make a promise? You deliver on that promise. It’s never just a logo, name, word or tagline. Your brand has a real and distinct personality, attitude, character, behavior, value system, code of ethics –the lot. It reflects who you are (ie the Brand Guardian), what you believe in, what you offer and why you do what you do and of course, why it matters to people and the planet.

It also happens to be the way companies distinguish their products or services from the rest of the pack. Remember, we’re living in a highly overcrowded and competitive marketplace. Successful brands show up and stand out in the biggest, boldest and most provocative way. They’re fearless, and do whatever it takes. (Q: So how big and bold does your brand appear on the competitive landscape?)

2. Why do you keep going on about putting on the ‘Brand Guardian’ hat?

Imagine you’re the captain of a ship. You’re the one who has to hold on the wheel and steer into a safe port, right? Well, guess what the Brand Guardian has to do for their brand? The Brand Guardian is 100% responsible for everything that’s going on. You’re it. No way you can pass the buck here. (Remember, I’m a Dutch sea captain’s daughter.)

You’re the Master of your Business. You’re steering (and overseeing) everything from graphics (online and offline), the way you answer your phone, the uniforms your staff wear, the environment in which you work, the way you greet your clients, the way you talk, pour the coffee, (yes, even choosing sugar cubes, or not), the lot. See why your role as Brand Guardian is so powerful, influential and vital? It informs your world. It gives them clues about who you are.

What’s more, as the Brand Guardian, you get to make a stand in your business. You get to find, choose and articulate a distinctive and real voice for your brand so your message gets heard out there. That’s called brand communication. Important stuff if you want to land a spot on the new brand landscape for the 21C.

PS People can always hear when you’re not being real. Make sure your brand voice is passionate and speaks from the heart. Got that?

3. So why is my brand’s behavior so important today?

Because your clients out there are paying a lot of attention. They’re watching what you’re doing, what your competitors are doing, how you’re all expressing yourselves in your business, and what kind of innovative business thinking is top of mind, particularly in this lousy economy. That’s the reality, and it’s how your clients are making careful decisions about how they want to work, and particularly, with whom.

So if your brand behaves or misbehaves, it’s going be noticed and more importantly, it’s going to impact your business. So pay close attention to what your brand is doing at all times. Be clear about what your brand is communicating to your market, make sure it’s serving your best interests – not shooting you in the foot.

Be mindful and set the boundaries for good brand behavior. It’s going to pay off. Trust me.

4. What do you do as a Master Brand Provocateur?

Here’s one scenario. Let’s assume you want to grow your biz. You are already well on your way but suddenly, you wake up one day and realize you’ve never paid much attention to your brand.

You’ve biz savvy and so that means you know (intellectually) that your brand is your major asset. It’s the basic building block in your business. And the stronger the brand, the faster your biz will grow. (That’s a fact.)

So what I do – as Provocateur and Interpreter of Clues? I help you grow your biz by creating a more powerful and emotional brand. I help you tap into who you are, what you stand for, what’s holding you back, what you’re really doing in your business and what kind of communication message you want to get out to the people in your target market. Simple, right?

Dubbed Brand Therapist, I can read your brand’s mind. I know what makes your brand tick. So I get to diagnose your branding and marketing communication, make sure it’s consistent and congruent with what makes you unique. The key here is to interpreting your energy and passion and translating it into a powerful and bold brand message. It’s one of the best ways to attract more like-minded clients, get known as an expert, get high visibility, make a difference in the world and have a lot of fun along the way.  What could be better than that?

5. Why do I keep hearing that the way of doing biz today is changing?

We’re living in a critical time of transition. There is, for sure, a new way of doing business and it demands a different mindset, curiosity, clarity, willingness and – yes, the desire to represent yourself and your business in a totally bolder and more provocative way. I call it Business Unusual = Brand Unusual.

PS The best place to start is by taking a closer look at your brand: Make sure it reflects everything about who you are and what you offer and then, create a powerful and unique message that is going to communicate clearly to your target market.

Remember, this is a totally over-crowded, over-saturated marketplace, and the game rules are changing on a daily basis. If you’re not creating and building a powerful and provocative brand that stands out – and demands attention – you’re not going to be visible. It’s that simple. Brand building is, without doubt, the basic foundation for all marketing efforts.

6. What’s this Zing thing all about?

It’s playing smart in business. It’s another way of looking and thinking about your brand and understanding that in order to move forward and step into your future – and your business success – you’re going to have to look through a different kind of 21C lens when it comes to marketing your business.

The focus here is on spotting the hidden brand clues that are holding you back (Brand Zingventory Audit), examining your core essence and energy (Business DNA), extracting and revitalizing your unique business story (Brand Story) and then, in order to create a more provocative business presence that is going to attract more visibility and clients, we revitalize your brand image and identity, and help you create your very own WOW Factor signature and road map (Design Identity) for your business success.

P.S. All you need is to have the willingness, curiosity and desire to think differently about your business. Ready for that?

7. Tell us a little more about this Zing Factor, please?

Everyone has their very own unique and innate coda or signature, whether they know it or not. It’s that inner creative geek or genius. Some people work out how to express it beautifully in their business – and they live out loud and achieve astounding success. On the other hand, there are others who find it more problematic to access that part of themselves or, when they get the chance, they’re so terrified that they scuttle back to a place that is familiar, safe, bland and comfortable.

(Nothing worse than a bland brand.)

As the brand anthropologist, I help people access their irresistible signature (or Zing Factor) because it’s a powerful step in creating a compelling brand. It’s about tapping into the true essence of who you are – and then incorporating that into the core of your business. It’s brave stuff and exciting, for sure.

8. If we work together, what kind of results can I expect?

You can expect to uncover aspects around you and your business that may not have been uncovered before. It’s an exhilarating process, an exceptional journey and a highly valuable experience, I promise you. You can expect to see a big shift in the way you think about your business, and you will end up with a revitalized and stronger brand, a more exciting business presence that will turn heads. If you have a big, open heart and a willingness to be bold, provocative and to show up in their business big time, more than ever before, you’re prime and ready.

9. What if I haven’t started my business yet?

Ah ha. This is one of the best times to work with a master brand provocateur because I know the ropes. I can give you big picture and a step-by-step system so things fall into place. PS It will help you sleep at night, too.

If you need a behind-the-scenes branding maven to bounce around business ideas, brainstorm or do some serious problem solving, you’ve come to the right place. Plus I work fast. Hey, it’s what I do best.

10. How can I get a sense of whether you’re a good match for me, or not?

No problem. Let’s get on the phone because I offer a free 15-minute Brand Discovery call so we can see if we’re a good match. This is important stuff, I know. Here, email me van@anewbrandlandscape.com, suggest some times and I’ll get back to you asap. How does that sound?

11. So what’s your final word on branding?

Ok. I believe 100% in the following:

Every business wants the whole world to be head-over-heels in love with their brand, right? OK. Think of your brand as a living dynamic organism. Imagine it has a pumping pulse, and when it’s showing strong, vital signs, you can see a spike in your bottom line. Just remember when you’re not nurturing your brand, your business is going to fall into that trap of Dead Brand Walking. Listless, lacking luster. No one’s home. My best advice? Keep your brand plugged into your own power grid. Then watch what happens.

PS All good brands get to land a spot on the new brand landscape for the 21C. Why? It’s simply a matter of survival. More importantly? It’s the best way to get your business to stand out, stake out your territory, make a stand, soar, and catapult to new levels. The best part of it all? It’s going to affect your bottom line, your visibility, the people you attract, how you feel about the world you live in, and the kind of difference you’ll be making.

How that’s for starters?

Now it’s my turn. Here’s some questions for you: Where’s your brand today? What’s it up to right now and how does it make you feel? Are you having fun developing your brand for a big business success and, if not, what are you prepared to do about it? Finally what kind of difference do you want your brand to make in the world, anyway?

More questions? OK. Get in touch sooner than later  van@zingyourbrand.com