I was recently asked about how to create a brand.
The answers to that are many and wide and deep. In branding, we have to, from scratch, create a relatable, associative personality for an intangible, non-human thing - a business.
It sounded like they were at the very beginning stage of this process, so I said they needed to figure out what things they value and then put those values out into the world. Show them, write about them, talk to people about them.
From there, they will figure out what they actually value AND what connects with other people. I think this step is important because it creates an experimental group - refining thoughts and messages while at the same time being able to see what clicks with other people.
This process creates a very specific audience - people want to connect with other people who are on the same page - and if your message says "LISTEN TO ME, I WANT TO BE ON EVERYBODY'S PAGES" no one will be attracted because by valuing everything, you're valuing nothing.
For me, this decision of value, initial rough-cut and honing of message, and gathering of audience is the start of branding.
I know people love to quote Steve Jobs as a way to prove what they're saying in true, so if you'll allow me...
"Modern marketing is about matching up with the worldview of your ideal customer. Outside of a monopoly, there is no such thing as marketing that appeals to everyone, and yet, companies still try and routinely fail."