Are you setting boundaries for your brand? Boundaries are just as important for your brand as they are for business/client relationships or your personal work/life balance.
Established boundaries help clearly communicate expectations, roles, responsibilities and rules – all which lead to respect. Respect for your time, talents, resources, and you individually.
Why set boundaries?
- Your business is pulled in too many directions, resulting in confusion and frustrations.
- Your clients expect responses outside of business hours and scope creep happens regularly.
- Your business spends too much time on the small stuff rather than the priorities.
- Your business says yes to everything.
- There is a sense of resentfulness towards the demands on your time.
- Your business is exhausted from being pulled in too many directions and trying to be all things to all people.
Do these sound familiar? Probably. All of these impact us individually, just like they do business. Setting boundaries is a benefit to achieving goals and forward momentum.
Without boundaries in place, what’s at risk? The reputation of your brand. The credibility of your brand. The authority of your brand. And as those start to falter, so does the confidence your audience and employees have in the brand. And as this starts to erode, what is going to happen to your business? The long-term viability of your business – your brand – is in question.
Where do you start setting boundaries for your brand?
When you truly know your brand – and I mean the mission/vision/values, positioning, brand promise, etc (for the details of all the key brand elements, check out A brand is more than a logo and download the complimentary worksheet) – All these things provide the framework for boundaries around the decisions made and therefore have a direct relationship the perception of your business and have influence on your brand.
Here are some examples of boundaries set to support your brand.
- Brand standards or guidelines outline the use of the business name, logo, colors, tagline, voice, fonts, sizing, logo variations… this list could go on and on and is probably the most well-known of brand boundaries.
- Your ideal target audience also forms a boundary. A breach of this boundary will result in confusion, a curiosity about who you are talking to and potentially lost customers.
- The brand’s purpose, mission, vision and values provide boundaries around a number of decisions made within your business. If you define mission as what you do and vision as where you go with values as how you get there – boundaries become clear.
- All brands make a promise to their customers, vendors, shareholders, and employees. If an action fails to meet the promise, it has broken through the established boundaries.
- If the brand is positioned as a premium product in the minds of their customers, rolling out a product or a service that is anything but premium is an example of overstepping the boundary of the positioning of your brand. It is a disconnect and likely won’t appeal to your ideal target audience.
- If your brand is known as being honest, approachable and easy-going, a decision that is perceived as being underhanded or dishonest falls outside of the boundaries of what drives the brand.
As we move into a more hyper-connected society, the boundaries we set for brands are also becoming more hypersensitive. Brands must now consider broader issues including social responsibility, sustainability, and human resource practices. Social media has increased the power of the magnifying glasses consumers can wear when evaluating a business/brand before doing business with them. Businesses must be prepared, know those boundaries, and how to respond if a boundary is overstepped (intentionally or unintentionally).
The better you are at setting guidelines, communicating them and holding true to them, the more your brand in the eyes of others will match what you WANT your brand to be known for.
Benefits of strong brand boundaries
- Empowerment – knowing that your brand is aligned and achieving the mission and vision as it was designed to do.
- A freedom to do more of what the business was started for. It was not started to be all things to all people.
- Strengthened relationships with employees, customers, and partners because everyone knows what to expect
- Saying no to anything that is not aligned with the established priorities
- Confidently make decisions that are in the best interest of your business.
- And there will be less burnout, busyiness and overall fatigue
I’ve said this before – when you know the purpose of your business – the root reason it exists, your brand is built from that and as such it gives you a natural set of boundaries. As your business grows, so does the understanding and implications that come with those boundaries. When you clearly define your brand, your mission, vision and values, setting boundaries and guidelines for your business becomes much easier. The challenge is staying within those boundaries and not falling victim to “shiny object syndrome.”
Resources from this episode:
- Setting boundaries as a solopreneur
- The secret to setting boundaries in business
- 3 boundaries you need in your business
- Establishing brand boundaries
- Branding in a hyperconnected world
- 12 of the best brand promises we’ve seen
- Brand drivers: what are they and how do they shape your brand?
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