A blank slate. A fresh start. A new business. If you’re at the starting line for sure-fire success with a new venture, congratulations!

One way to pave the way for that success is to consider the kind of brand image you want to have. Do it today. Right now. Because whether you manage it now or not, the simple truth is that an image will start taking root of your company, product, and service. And, unless you take control of this yourself right from the start, you might not be too happy with what that image is.

When you contemplated starting your new venture, you most likely decided what kind of business you wanted to be relative to the competitive solutions already available to your future customers. Ideally, you can identify several points of distinction between what you offer and your new competitors. Maybe it’s the products. Or the pricing. Or quality. Or service after the sale. Or … whatever.

Take all of this stuff rolling around in your head and spend some time writing it down for each of your planned brands. Then, sit back and craft a vision/values statement for each brand: the irrefutable truth about what your brand unconditionally stands for.

Next, write out your brand value proposition: the basic, functional benefits a customer will derive from using your brand; the emotional/feeling benefits a customer will derive; and, if appropriate, the self-image benefits a customer will derive. Think about the relative role your pricing will play in the benefits equation, too.

Then move on to crafting your brand position. This is what you’ll actively communicate to your prospective customers to demonstrate a distinctive and decisive advantage compared to your competitors.

Finally, map out the various ways you’ll likely interact with prospects and customers throughout the sales process: before, during, and after. The obvious ways, and the not-so obvious ways. Prioritize these relative to their impact on the sale or customer retention. Then, create a plan to proactively manage the delivery of these interactions — your brand touch points — so that they’re in sync with your brand position platform, your brand value proposition, and your brand vision statement.

If you do this, you’ll be in better control of what kind of image your target audiences form about your brand — because you’ve defined what that image should be and have implemented a plan — called the brand identity — to ensure it happens.

Not surprisingly, a strong, positive brand image leads to a strong, positive growth chart for your business. Good luck. And, of course, if you need help with any of this, give us here at 34 North a shout.