Creating a brand isn’t all about research, analytics and strategy. In fact, defining your brand is a lot like creating a persona or character. This can be a daunting task if you let it, but it can also be a satisfying process—and it might even be fun. The most important aspect to keep in mind is that your brand has to be a three-dimensional, complex character with a fully developed personality. No one likes one-note characters, no matter how attractive the note. Once you’ve identified the characteristics of your brand, it makes the process of promoting your business and expanding brand awareness that much easier.

Here are some helpful characterization notes for brand development:

  • Own all strengths and weaknesses. You won’t do your brand any justice if you only identify positive traits and pretend it has zero flaws. No company, product or service is perfect—and trying to sell yours as such can come off as static or insincere to an impartial audience. Acknowledging flaws is also the only way to improve upon areas of weakness before your brand hits the market. Only by fully exploring all of your brand’s good and bad traits internally can you create outgoing campaigns that truly do your brand justice and highlight its assets. Over time, you will learn new flaws and eliminate others—this process signifies your brand’s maturation, which is easier to identify and accomplish if you start out by admitting your brand’s complete character.

  • Stand out from the competition. Another important set of traits are those that set your brand apart—what makes your brand unique. Even if they aren’t the most important facts you’d like to convey about your product or service, they may be the most compelling. Qualities that make your brand special are the very things that will catch audience attention and leave a lasting impression. Most companies are not offering a completely novel concept or product, but instead are tasked with demonstrating why their option is a better choice than all alternatives. The best way to make this argument is by including—if not featuring—all interesting and unusual facts when promoting your brand.

  • Put together a spec sheet. Once you’ve identified all of the strengths and weaknesses and special qualities of your brand, characteristics should be organized in an easy-to-reference fact sheet. One of the most important aspects of advertising is maintaining a consistent image for your brand, and an organized fact sheet will help you keep tabs on key messaging over time. Much like a ‘cheat sheet’ this chart will allow current and future promoters of your brand to get a quick, clear overview at a glance. If you’ve successfully created a comprehensive brand, there will be many different ways to interpret and expose different aspects through creative campaigns—and this chart will serve as a concise and complete foundation. It can also be modified in the future as the brand grows and matures.