Internal vs External Branding and what comes first

By May 14, 2020July 6th, 2020Blog, Branding, Podcast

When we think about branding, it is tempting to imagine all those pretty visuals and get excited about the colours and logo, but there is a lot of groundwork before that.

In this episode we will talk about the difference between internal and external branding, we also will discuss what comes first and why it is important.

My intention with this podcast episode is clarity. Clarity on your Branding means more confidence, better first impression and more the right-fit customers. That is why I want you to feel crystal clear about Internal and External branding. You really need to get a difference.

When you do this right you have a business that creates opportunities, opens doors and takes you to places you could dream of. One that gives you choice, freedom and respect.

Branding is all about managing what people expect from you, the experience, the journey you are bringing them to. What are the things people remember about your business, what sticks in their mind? It all makes sense to go deep.

Let’s talk about the difference between internal and external branding.

Internal branding is your foundation.
It is your origin story, your values, purpose, it is your brand personality, your vibe, the emotions you bring up with your brand. Within internal branding we define your positioning, manifesto statement, tagline and also create a word bank. Picking your niche and defining your ideal client also comes under your internal branding.

When you work on your internal branding, you need to ask yourself 8 key questions that will help you to define the basics of your brand. Be really honest, truly think over your answers and write them down. I promise – it will make a huge difference in your business. Let’s start:

  • What is the big idea?
    What is your vision for your business? What do you want to be known for? This totally is the sort of question you could create a mood board for or get big on journaling. You can go totally crazy about it. I know that you probably already have dreamed about your business in a lot of different ways. But think about it on a bigger scale – how do you see your business after 3, 5, or 10 years?
  • Who are you? Can you summarise in a sentence or two exactly what it is that you do? What are you selling? And I am not talking about the product or service, I am asking about the end result. Where is the value in your business? What are you really selling? Is it confidence? Is it better health? Is it a happier life? Think about it. Do not confuse method, tool or way with the actual value, the end goal your client is looking for.
  • What magic do you bring to the party?
    What makes your business unique? And why is your business the only possible choice for your client?
  • What makes you the person they choose?
    What makes you credible to work with your client? Why are you brilliant at what you do? What experiences you have, qualifications? What do you find easy that others find more challenging? Maybe it is your approach, your process, personality?
  • What is your story?
    Why do you do what you do and why does it matter? What makes you wake up in the morning and go forward? How did you get there? In other words – what is your origin story? Yet include only elements of your story that will resonate most with your clients and will make you relatable to them, leave outside parts that don’t really matter for your business.
  • What would you change?
    Is there anything you would change about how people see your business? Do you get recommended for the right reasons? Or is there confusion and you get tagged to things which are not what you actually do?
  • What is your vibe and personality?
    What kind of emotions does your brand bring to the table? For example, people can see your brand as nice, positive and inspiring or energising and passionate, or confident but not arrogant. Think about what emotions you would like to be the ones that your clients associate with your brand.
  • Who is your ideal client?
    This is a BIG one. Because when you really know to whom you are selling and doing all your business for, everything becomes clear. It becomes easy to create content, it becomes easy to talk with your clients. Because you know exactly what they are going through, what their problems are and what are solutions.

And now let’s talk about external branding.

External branding is your visuals – your logo, mood board, colours, typography, patterns and textures, icons and illustrations. Everything you put out there is visual, that is your external branding.

The part everyone can see. And it is very important that it always comes after you have clearly defined the internal part. If you just make pretty visuals, without the foundations and clearly knowing what will attract your ideal client, you might get disappointed. You need not only pretty, but you also want your visuals to work, that they are selling, that they attract clients you want to work with and keep away those you don’t want to engage. That is why just putting together things you like does not always work. It’s also not true that you don’t need logos, that visuals do not matter. Visuals work if you know how to make them work.

The other thing you need to remember – it is not about you. It is not about if you like your visuals (of course, it is a small part too, it wouldn’t be cool if you would hate your brand’s visuals). But the most important is that your ideal client is compelled by your external branding. That they like what they see and they are magnified by your brand. That’s your goal.

If you are just starting out, you might want to start very simple, make your mood board, have your colours and fonts and be consistent with it. Do not change your visuals every time you see some prettier colour or fonts that attracts you. Audiences will be confused why your visuals change every second month or they won’t recognize you as the same brand.

Ok, so let’s recap!

Internal branding is your origin story, your values, purpose, it is your brand personality, your vibe, the emotions you bring up with your brand. Within internal branding, we also define your positioning, manifesto statement, tagline and also create a word bank. Picking your niche and defining your ideal client also comes under your internal branding.

And your external branding is your visuals – your logo, mood board, colours, typography, patterns and textures, icons and illustrations.

Answer those 8 questions, get clarity about your internal branding and then go for appropriate, worthy and well-grounded external branding.

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