The CTFO guide to branding

Right now I’m in the middle of revising, redesigning and re-launching Get It. I first launched Get It back in May 2013 and each year I’ve scheduled time to go right back to the start, review where we’re at, plan and make changes to ensure that what we have still fits with the who, what and why.


Who we are, what we need and why. For both myself, and my customers.


Things will change. As who you are and what you know grows and changes, your business, your brand and your offerings should adapt and change too.


Before you launch or re-launch your products and services, before you start to create any marketing for your offerings, before you set pen to paper and start bringing your campaign ideas to life, you have to get clear on the who, what and why – for both you and your perfect customers.


But first, YOU.


You are always the first step.


Whether your creating your brand identity, or crafting products, services and offerings. It all comes back to YOU, this is your business, your brand and you are at the heart of it, whether you’re the face or it or not!


So as I work though my own brand process for the re launch of Get It I thought I’d share each step with you…


Introducing The CTFO guide to branding …


To make it even easier for you, I created a free guide that you can download, print off or just keep handy for when you’re ready to brand your offerings.




Now if you’ve been around for a while you’ll know that CTFO is one of my all time favourite sayings… Crack the f*** on! You’ll hear me say this a lot. But what it also represents is the 4 part process for creating your brand.


Core. Your who, what and why

Tribe. Your perfects customers who, what and why

Feeling. Your brand vision, the experience you want people to feel when they meet your brand

Offering. Your products, services and offerings that fulfill your brand vision

These are the 4 secrets to creating a clear consistent brand and how to use them to grow your business.


And it all starts with you.


Whether it’s a logo mark, a new product, service, or a sales page, always start with you first. You brand is in everything you do within your business, so each and everything you create for your business must reflect your brand.


That’s why getting your brand right, taking the time to really understand the process and taking time to review and update your branding as your business grows is super important.


Imagine turning up to starbucks one day armed with your laptop ready to relax in the chilled, soft, creative atmosphere with your favourite soya cappuccino sprinkled with cinnamon, because where else do you get to sprinkle coffee with cinnamon! to find instead a brightly coloured array of bean bags and ball pits with toddlers roaming around and no cinnamon to shake on your coffee. That’d totally ruin your brand experience, and most likely your day!


When you’re clear on your CTFO creating a clear consistent brand message becomes a heck of a lot easier.


Here’s the 4 secrets to creating a clear, consistent brand message that connects you with your perfect customers and grows your business.


Step 1. Your Core

It all starts with you. If you’re not sure what you want, what’s important to you, how you want to show up, what you want to be known and remembered for then there’s not a chance your customers are going to know!


Getting clear on exactly who you are, what you stand for and why is the absolute first thing you need to do. And even when you think you know, keep asking, keep digging into these questions, because us people, well, we have a habit of changing our minds, we all get distracted by the shiny new stuff and we can all waddle off track from time to time, but when you know what’s at you core, when you know exactly who, what and why, then making decisions for your brand becomes a whole lot easier.



Grab yourself a big sheet of paper and write your name in the middle, or my personal favourite tool; create a Pinterest board. This is your YOU board. We’re going to use this space to start pinning all the things that make you, YOU.


Things that you love, things that speak to you, things that make you feel all a little bit excited. Anything goes. There is no right or wrong. Try not to over think it, just think of all the things you love, and make a note of words, images, styles, colours, names, places, everything and anything that comes up for you.


Ever play the word association game?


Well think of it like that, except the word is always YOU, every time you think of something note it down, search it and pin it to your board. Repeat until you feel you’ve covered all your best bits.


Ask yourself these 3 questions while pinning…


Who do I want to be ?

What do I want to be known for ?

Why is this important to me ?


Set a timer for 20 minutes, be strict on how long you spend on this. It’s all too easy to get lost in a sea of Pinterest images and 3 hours later you’ve forgotten what you were doing and why but you’ve got a stack of images pinned!


So, set a timer, be strict and get creating your YOU board.


I’ll wait for you here, and if you fancy a peek at mine here ‘tis…


Scrolling though your you board will start to tell a visual story of who you are. This is the core of your personal brand. Take 10 minutes, have a good look through what you have created so far and write down 3 descriptive words that come to mind when you’re looking through your board.






These 3 words are the core of your brand identity. Every decision you make in your business comes back to these 3 words. If what you’re offering, what you’re about to create, that blog post you’re about to put out to the world, if it doesn’t fit with these core words then scrap it.


This is the heart of your brand purpose. Keep these words somewhere you can see them everyday.






Step 2. Your TRIBE

These are the people you love working with and who love you for all the things that make you you. Your perfect customers are the people who already get what you do, who understand and appreciate the value you bring, who already want what you’ve got. These people do not need convincing, the don’t need to be repeatedly told why they need what you’ve got. They know this already, they’re just waiting to buy from you.


These people are out there.

You just need to talk to them, personally, let them know you get them, that you appreciate them and that you’re here for them when they’re ready to buy.


The first time you meet someone, when you know nothing about them, when you haven’t got a clue what they are interested in or whether you’ve got anything in common, that first conversation, it can be a bit awkward right? You don’t really know what to say, you just kind of talk about the weather, or some other generic surface level chatter that does nothing for either of you.


Well that’s what most marketing feels like when you don’t know who your perfect customer is. You’re just dancing around the subject, glossing over the details, keeping everything polite and friendly and all a bit meh.


Meh is not a good place to be. Meh is not what you, your customers or your brand deserves.


Instead you want those deep and meaningful conversations like the ones you have with the people who really get you, who you know, warts ‘n’ all, where you can just dive right in and get to the meat of it and even if you cock up, which you will do, we all do, they stick around, and love you even more for it.


Those are the kind of customers you want.


And the only way to get to that level of love is to get to know your perfect customer. Who they are, what they respond to, what they like, dislike, how they interact, the environment, experience they enjoy.


We’re not building an avatar here; you’re not making this up.

We’re talking about real people.



Picture someone you know, someone who is your perfect customer, a real person, warts ‘n’ all, your perfect customer isn’t some picture of perfection, they are real, they have problems, issues, things that they hate, and that’s what you want to know, you want to get to understand as much about this person as possible.


Think about your perfect customer. Write their name down and start to look at life through their eyes. Take a peek on facebook, have a look in the groups they interact with, pay attention to what they say, do and how they interact and get to know them. Walk through your business as them. Feel how they would feel, react as they would react, and pay attention to places where you can make improvements to appeal directly to your perfect customer.


Now when it comes to creating visuals, messaging or offerings for your business picture your perfect customer, speak directly to them, as though you are having a 1 to 1 conversation, that what you are creating is for this one person only. It might seem that by doing this you are ignoring all the other potential customers but your perfect customer is part of a tribe and it’s this tribe you want to connect with, picturing and speaking directly to your perfect customer will allow your tribe to feel connected to your brand.


Knowing your perfect customer and speaking directly with them also means a heck of a lot less marketing to make the sale.


When any interaction with your business feels like a personal conversation, when your tribe feel like they know you without ever having met you. That’s when you know you’ve got your brand right.



Step 3. Brand FEELING

What people think and feel about your brand is totally up to you. You can of course leave this to chance and hope that people will get what it is you want them to remember about you. Or you can carefully construct a brand experience that gets people to feel what you want them to.


We tend to get a bit funny over the use of the word feeling, the word itself comes with its own set of feelings, words, images, colours, all create an emotional reaction in us, depending on who we are this reaction with spark a different kind of feeling. Knowing who you are, who your customers are and what kind of feeling you want them to have will determine the words, colours, images you use in your brand. These verbal and visual elements define your brand experience.


And it’s this brand experience that turns people into customers and ultimately determines how much they’re willing to spend with you.


Think about a few of your favourite big brands. How do they make you feel? When you interact with them what emotions come up for you, what story are they telling and how do they make you feel? Becoming aware of these feelings when you interact with your favourite brands will help you to inspire how people feel when they interact with your business.


Take for example one of my favourite brands, Starbucks, their business is all about the in store experience, and when I’m there I feel at ease, welcomed, comfortable and inspired. There’s a sense of creativity and focus that comes from my experience with their brand. And this feeling is enhanced by the main brand touchpoint, their in store experience, so much so that even when out of the store the feeling is still carried.


Your brand experience is created out of the touchpoints you use in your business. They are the places where people interact with your business, either directly or indirectly. The touchpoints you create for your business will determine the brand experience for your customers, they help communicate who you are, what you do and why.


Think of one of your favorite brands what touchpoints did they use that made you fall in love with their brand?



Visual identity; logo mark, icons, photos, images, colors, fonts

Verbal identity; business name, tagline, copy, tone

Printed; business cards, brochures, flyers, postcards

Environment; decor, colors, scents, seating

Offerings; packaging, value, price,

Online; website, social media, apps, email, blogs, videos

Service; phone, email, voice

Marketing; offers, adverts, partners



How does your current brand experience fit into your bigger brand vision? How do you want people to feel when they interact with your business today, next year, 3 years from now, what feelings do you want your brand to inspire, what lasting memory do you want people to have when interacting with your brand?




What are 3 touchpoints you can update right now to inspire these feelings?









Step 4. Business OFFERINGS

Now you know the who, what and why of you and your perfect customers, you know exactly how you want people to feel when they interact with your brand and you know what touchpoints are going to help you create your brand experience, now it’s time to create your business offerings.


These are the products, services and tools you offer in your business that reflect your brand vision. Say for example your brand vision is one that holds creativity at it’s core, that teaches your tribe to do it for themselves, that feels fun, inspiring and easy to manage, is affordable and builds a long term ongoing relationship. Then the type of offering your business should create would be a low cost monthly product, a training product that teaches creativity on a monthly basis.


You can see how each step here builds on the last and helps define your business offerings.


Who you are, what you love, why you do what you do, combined with a loyal tribe of perfect customers that get you, that value what you do and want to buy from you, plus that feeling you want people to remember you for, the experience you want to create, these all come together to help form your business offerings.



Looking back though your answers at each stage, how do these steps combine for your business? What Business OFFERINGS can you create that reflect Your CORE, which speak to Your TRIBE and inspire the Brand FEELING you desire?



The four steps outlined in this guide are the foundation for building a successful brand. Whether you’re a consultant, speaker, mentor, or you’re selling beautiful leather handbags working through these steps and applying this thinking to your brand will quickly change the way people see you and help you discover new ways to grow your business.



I hope you enjoyed The CTFO guide to branding and you’ve noted down some ways in which you can use the CTFO process to build your brand. For more DIY brand, design and marketing resources, templates and tools join us for the Get It re launch, click here to get on the pre launch list and get your hands on The CTFO guide to branding in a handy download save and print format.


Done with DIY? Want someone to do it for you, apply for your CTFO with Dee session and let’s make that happen.



Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.