Brand Basics for Business Success | Rachel Hahn | Skillshare

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Brand Basics for Business Success

teacher avatar Rachel Hahn, Create / Communicate / Brand

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Why You Should Care About Branding


    • 3.

      What's a Brand?


    • 4.

      What's Branding?


    • 5.

      Business Communication


    • 6.

      The Importance of Consistency


    • 7.

      Class Project


    • 8.



    • 9.

      Blooper Reel


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About This Class

Do you own a small business? Are you a solo-preneur? Or maybe you're in the dream-phase of starting a business? This course is for you. You'll come to understand what branding is and how you can use it to create a successful business.

This class lays out the fundamentals of branding in a way that's specifically relevant to small businesses. It also sets you up with key knowledge for creating your brand book. Don't know what a brand book is? That's ok! You will by the end of this course.

This course is hosted by me, Rachel Hahn. Check out my profile page on Skillshare or visit my website to learn more about what I do.

  • This course is for beginners.
  • Total run time: 24 mins
  • 8 chapters +blooper reel (because I like a good laugh)

Please note: Audio quality of the intro video is lower than the remaining course videos. Rest assured, the audio is much better in chapters 2-9 and I've learned a valuable recording lesson.

"Brand" image created by Simon Giddings

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Rachel Hahn

Create / Communicate / Brand


I help businesses reach their goals by creating, supporting, and strengthening their brands.

My clients range from solopreneurs to global conglomerates. Whether you're starting with just a twinkle of a business idea or hoping to get your successful company to the next level, I can help by sharing my tips and insider knowledge on branding and communication.

My teaching is:

1. Practical

2. Concise (I get to the point!)

3. Casual and professional

I've earned a reputation for being something of a nerd in most circles I run in. I'm proud of that. So be prepared to hear facts, puns, and communication related trivia tidbits.


Some things I've done with my life so far:

Copywriter for multiple international brands

Brand ... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Intro: What's the one type of business problem you can't solve? It's the one you don't know about. Let's put it this way. You've got a bucket of water and the water level is dropping. What do you have to do? First, you have to find the whole before you can fix the leak. Now, why am I talking about holes and buckets? Well, it's because in my years of working with small businesses and solo preneurs, I've come to learn that the type of people who choose that path for themselves they tend to be very dedicated, very passionate and very skilled in a specific area to create a product offering a service to the market. But what they often don't have is experience with marketing and branding, and that becomes the hole in their bucket. It can be an obstacle to their success. If that sounds like you. If you're someone with a passion, maybe you've started a business or you have a dream business you'd like to begin. Then you've come to the right place. My name is Rachel Han, and I've been working with marketing and communication for many years, both with small businesses and multinational corporations. The beauty of branding is that the rules are the same, no matter how big or small your business is. And in this course I will be sharing my insider knowledge and tips with a specific focus on how a small business can use that information to create an environment of success for themselves. Now, this is my first course on skill share, so I would really appreciate any feedback or reviews you leave on this page. You can also come by my profile page and say hi, and I also encourage everyone in this course to complete their project and post it to the Project Gallery, because the nature of the project is that we'll learn from each other. So it would be really great if you participate in that now. In this course, I said, we're gonna cover brand basics, and there are a few chapters will go through. We're gonna look at while you should care about Brandon. What a brand is what branding is business, communication and, finally, the importance of consistency. So if you're ready to potentially plug that leak in your buckets and create an environment of success for your business, then let's go ahead and jump into branding basics 2. Why You Should Care About Branding: In 2015 Google announced it was going to be restructuring. Today we know that they created alphabet apparent company. But at the time of the announcement, all anyone really knew was that the move was supposed to create more transparency and more opportunities for research and development. Well, within a day of that announcement, Google stock prices rose 6% and that was equivalent to adding $17 billion to their market valuation. That basically means that just by Google at that time, saying they intended to do something that was potentially positive, the price tag for buying their company increased by 17 billion U. S. Dollars. No, what happened there? And what does it have to do with branding? Good question, especially for this course. The reason I like this analogy is because the stock market and brands have something in common. They're both controlled by perception. Now we're going to talk a little bit more about perception later on in the course, but for now we're going to stay with the Google example so we can learn a few more things in 2015. People's opinion of Google was so high that when they made this announcement. They instantly created value. Google's reputation literally translated into money you could take to the bank. Just cash out your shares and this word reputation that I used. I used it on purpose because in some ways the word reputation is a synonym for brand. And that's why you should really care about branding. Your business's reputation can both create value and obliterate it. It can create opportunities, Or it can alienate consumers and reputations, just like brands exist, whether you're paying attention to yours or not. So you can go around not thinking about your brand and try to achieve your business goals, and everything might go perfectly fine. But it may become the hole in your bucket, one that you don't see now that we've learned how a brand can create tangible value, and we spent a little time talking about why you should really be carrying about your brand , we're gonna go ahead and jump into what a brand actually is 3. What's a Brand?: name of Brand I'll wait. Here's a list I came up with. McDonald's, Google, Nike, Go Daddy Kim Kardashian, Apple Craft, Air Canada Zip Recruiter Squarespace, The New York Times Cool Frosted Flakes Sharp NPR. United Nations Is Graham. Do we name any of the same ones now? You might be asking Now why did I just put a list of companies and not maybe put a little more effort in and make it look nicer by putting a bunch of logos up on the screen? Well, it's not that I'm lazy. I actually did that on purpose because I want to address a misconception, which is that a logo is a brand it is not. This is a common misconception for a few reasons. One of the reasons is that the word brand can also be used to mean a mark that you put on something like cattle ranchers dio. The other reason is that logos are really good at their job. They are such a strong visual representation of a brand that we generally just automatically associated with the brand, and they become like the same thing in the way that we feel. But a logo in the terms of how it represents a brand is on Lee, the tip of the iceberg. It's representing just a little bit, and what the brand truly is is a lot more underneath. So a logo, though it is important and powerful, is not. Ah, brand. I think I've made my point. So let's move on. What I've done is list a bunch of brands, but I can't really show you brands because ah brand exists in the minds of other people. My definition of a brand is the collective consumer markets idea of a company. Now, of course, today there's a lot of talk about personal branding, and you can take my definition and swap out the word company for the word person. And that'll work, too. And when you dio, you see even more so how closely related the word reputation and brand can be. Now is a good time to mention that not everyone agrees on exactly what a brand is what that definition is. Of course, there's a dictionary definition, but I think that it's more helpful to look at experts in the industry to see what they think. Here are a few of my favorite definitions brand is the image people have of your company or product is who people think you are. Ah, brand is a reason to choose. I really like Cheryl's definition because it talks about the influence a brand can have on consumers, and we are going to cover that more later in the course. But for now, let's review what we've learned. We've learned that your brand has a powerful, tangible financial impact on your business, and we've also learned that it exists in the minds of other people. That's an intimidating combination, but never fear. I have not led you down a path of hopelessness and despair. In the next part of this course, we're going to look at how we can reconcile these two things. 4. What's Branding?: like the term brand. Branding is defined differently by different people in the industry, but we're gonna look at one of my favorite definitions by the marketing master Jay Bear. Branding is the art of aligning what you want people to think about your company with what people actually do. Think about your company. I like this definition because it's simple, but it doesn't simplify what branding is in fact, by recognizing it as an art. It says that it's not a formula that you can just plug in the same values on one end and get the same results out of the other every single time. It recognizes the fact that convincing people to think what you want them to think is actually something that requires constant care and attention to all of these fluctuating variables, like help people feel what the weather is and what your business is doing. Really, it says that branding is relationship management, and that's no small task. Now, to the best of my knowledge, there's no mind control machine that you can use to make people think what you want them to think about your business, and that's a good thing. Free will is at the top of the list of human rights, and we're glad about that. But how do you ethically convince people to think what you want them to think about your business? Another way to ask that question is, how do you create a meaningful relationship with your consumers? And the answer to both is you put care and attention into how you communicate with, um, In other words, the art of branding is the purposeful practice of communicating with your consumers. So your business communication is how you create and sculpt your brand. So without further ado, let's go ahead and talk about business communication. 5. Business Communication: I'm going to communicate to you that I think you're awesome. Ready? I think you're awesome. Are you getting my point? We often when we first think of communication. We think about conversation or words that are said, We just need a little encouragement to realize that we know communication is body language . It's facial expressions. It's so much more than just the things that we say. And that's important to keep in mind when we're talking about business communication because the same applies business. Communication is more than the memos you send out or exactly what you say to consumers, and we're gonna look at some examples of business communication later in this chapter. But first, I want to talk about what business communication is made up of In marketing we call those touchpoints. A touch point is a point of contact or interaction, especially between a business and its customers or consumers. Let's look at different touchpoints that exist. You've got product packaging website. It can be a catalogue, any kind of advertisement, an interview that a CEO gives to a newspaper. Perhaps your storefront is a touch point. A coupon on invoice noticed something I didn't put on that list is logo. Now. I don't want to be seen as beating up on logo because I think logos are fantastic. But I do want to be clear about what it is and what it isn't. And a logo is not a touch point. It's a visual representation of a brand, and you'll see it on lots of touch points, which is great. But it's not a touch point itself. Here's another way to think about touch points to visualize the way that your business is communicating with consumers. This graphic is from a Nielsen Consumer Report on successful new products. It breaks up the media landscape into three categories, each with a list of different touch points. The first category is made up of touchpoints that a business buys or pays for themselves. The third category, all the way on the right, is touch points that the business owns, like a website or store, and the category in the middle is the one I want to talk a little bit more about. It's the one that's been growing the most over recent years in terms of influence on consumers. This category in the middle is really important it's called earned media, and all the touch points in there are what we sometimes call more organic touchpoints because they basically are a little bit farther from your control. They lean much more towards being something like word of mouth or having a word of mouth status. So all of these touchpoints come together as your business communication and a whole package to wrap this up a little bit. I want to revisit the dictionary definition we looked at earlier. This sample sentence is fantastically relevant for what we're learning. It is every touch point must reflect, reinforce and reiterate your core brand strategy. And really, that's the goal. Every touch point between a business and a consumer should boost should strengthen a brand , and every touch point is on opportunity to do that and also an opportunity to lose consumer confidence. So because consistency is so key to this communication success, we're gonna go ahead and talk a little bit more about it in the next chapter. 6. The Importance of Consistency: you've met someone at a party, you have a few things in common, Some shared interests. You laugh little over a joke, and at some point in the conversation, they tell you an anecdote about how much they hate broccoli, that just the smell of it makes their stomach flip upside down. Okay, fun fact. You have a nice time, and you feel like maybe you're making a new friend later on in that party. You noticed that this new potential friend is hovering over the snack table and they're popping homis covered broccoli florets into their mouth. What gifts do you feel instantly betrayed? Or maybe you get a little angry. You're definitely confused. There's an inconsistency there between what you were told and what you saw. Now what does this look like when we're talking about a business? Let's say you go to a restaurant called Happy Family Time, and when you go to sit down, you ask for a high chair for your toddler. But the restaurant host says we don't have high chairs, strange or let's say your on instagram, and you see a company posting about its dedication to sustainability. So you go on to buy their product. And when it arrives at your house, it's this total tragedy of over packaging. There's an inconsistency there in what a company is saying to you. A lack of consistency creates a lack of trust. It can create feelings of alienation. And this is particularly important for new and small businesses to understand, because consumers are inclined to trust and buy from brands they already know. This means that the unknown brand needs to establish ah, higher level of trust in order to convince consumers to buy their product or service. And trust is based in consistency and how you use your business communication. Rob Lingle is an executive who works with marketing and Big Data Analytics. He summarized what I'm talking about really nicely when he was talking about some research that's been going on, he said. For consumer with limited disposable income, the potential loss from an underperforming product is magnified as a result there, often hesitant to take a risk on a product that might not live up to expectations and are sometimes even willing to pay more for brands they trust. So what Rob is saying is that trust is so important. It's sometimes more important than cost. And he goes on to talk a little bit about how new product launches. If they don't have the benefit of being associated with a strong brand name, there needs to be extra care taken to ensure that the level of value for money is perceived as good. Rob is talking about you. If you're a small business or a solo preneurs whose new to the market, then you need to be extra vigilant about being consistent in your communication so you can build trust. The natural follow up question is, how do you ensure consistency in your communication? The answer is that you have a well documented brand foundation. Now almost every major company has something like this. It's often called a brand book, and what it does is that it outlines the various expressions of a brand. It can give you the details of what a logo is, what colors you use, what font you use. But it also talks about the mission statement, how we speak to our consumers things so that when they all come together they create a collective brand. There are a few reasons why this is important tool one is that it makes your job of communicating easier every time you need to create a touch point. Every time you need to create some business communication, you can just turn to this document and no oh, I use this fund. Oh, I use these colors. Hope. Here's my logo. You don't have to think about it every time, and you can be sure that you're going to be consistent because you're using the same document to guide you each time. Another reason why a brand book is really important is because it helps you share a vision . Now. You might be a single person business now, but perhaps in the future you'll have an employee or you'll hire someone to help you communicate. Or you want to share your brand with a potential stakeholder or investor. If you have a brand book, then you have a document that you can both turn to and understand that this is the brand. If you don't have that, then there is a high risk that you're playing a game of brand telephone. You tell one person what it is and they tell the next person what it is. And somewhere along the way the message gets just fizzled out or the message gets discombobulated. What's the word I want to use? Distorted? Somewhere along the way, the message gets distorted. How do you create this brand book? How do you document your brand? Well, that's actually a task onto itself, and I am going to be creating a course that will walk you through that process. So please do keep an eye on my profile page, and you can check out that course when it's ready for you. In the meantime, know that you're doing something really great, which is your learning the basics that you need to understand in order to create a successful brand book. Now that you have a good grasp on the basics of branding, I want to do an exercise that will help us cement that knowledge 7. Class Project: congratulations. You now understand the basics of branding, and now that you do, I want to cement that knowledge by doing a little exercise. We're gonna look at the real world through this new lens of knowledge that we have about branding. I would like you to think about a brand that you like or a brand that you particularly trust. Now get an image of that brand a visual representation, like a logo or screen grab of a website, and upload that to the project gallery. When you do, please include a description briefly saying Why you like that brand or why you trust that brand doesn't have to be a lot of words, but do try to think about the things that we've learned so far in the course. And the great thing about this exercise is that the more of you who do it, the more were all going toe learn. I'm really excited about seeing maybe new brands I haven't heard about before and reading your ideas about what makes a brand trustworthy. So go ahead and upload your images to the Project Gallery 8. Recap: Let's recap what we've learned. A brand is the collective idea consumers have of a business. Branding is the art of getting consumers to think what you want them to think about your business. The main tool for branding is communication, and we communicate in many, many ways and finally, consistency and how you communicate how you represent your brand is key to trust and ultimately, business success. I can't stress this point enough. If you're a small business, especially if you're a single person business. It's so easy to just assume that you know what your brand is. But if you don't document it, you can't effectively share it with others. You can't consult anything. If you need to make a business decision, you're leaving a big potential hole in your bucket. And yes, I'm back to that analogy because I think it works really well, and I plan on creating a new course in the future that will actually take you through step by step, how to create that brand book for your small business. So please keep your eyes open on my profile page, and for that upcoming course now I've held seminars. I've done workshops and consulting. But as I said, this is my first skill share course. This is my first online course I'm hosting, and I'm really interested in hearing your feedback. So please go ahead and leave a review or started discussion on the discussion board or swing by my profile page. Like I said, I hope to bring you even more courses about branding and marketing in the future. I'm really looking forward to hearing from you. If you have a small business or a business idea, please reach out. I'm interested in what you're up to. For now. Thank you so much for listening and for your attention. 9. Blooper Reel: and we're rolling. Let's do a quick let's do it. Let's do it. Let's do a recap Then you need to be extra villain. Village int vigilant, vigilant. Okay, which, which is might best side Keep your eyes open for my upcoming course, which is brand building for a success. Success successively saying Successful Successfully saying successful Successfully saying Successful First called Brand building Forks. Why can't I say that? This is a vocal warmup exercise I learned in my radio days. I don't remember what I'm supposed to say Next. What is this little here? Blink. I'll let you in on a little secret. I'm wearing sweatpants. The beauty of recording at home I think I did it.