I keep seeing ads and postings that talk about the quick path to building a business and how it can happen in just a few easy steps. When I see them I always remember the line from Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own - "If it were easy, everyone would do it. It's the hard that makes it great."
The fundamentals of building a business, or a brand, start with that very first idea and then consists of building blocks (the execution of the idea) that occur over time. Depending on your tempo and resources, the amount of time it takes can vary, but you cannot shortchange the process of putting brick on top of brick. Doing so opens you up to the risk of a shaky foundation that cannot hold what you are creating. There are great companies that have grown incredibly quickly that had the right foundation, but just as many have fallen due to a lack of a strong base.
The process of building a brand is very similar. You have to create a solid foundation with your mission and vision, set it into action with tone and voice and amplify it with strong creative and solid channel development. There is no doubt your brand will change over time but that core that you create through the multiple life cycles of your brand creates the story you need to tell the market and delivers value over the course of time. The key to creating a brand that lasts is starting strong and keeping it going.
It is also important to take stock of this at regular intervals helps you reflect on where you've been and where you are headed if you stay on the current. This gives you the chance to make smaller course corrections that keep you on the right path. It's much easier to turn a ship one or two degrees rather than 180 if you've gone too far down the wrong road.
Never lose sight of the fact that everything you do goes into building your brand. Each interaction and each transaction has an impact on how your brand is perceived and gives you insight into where it can go. It will be hard but at the end of the day it's the hard that makes it great.