Build These 5 Things to Grow Your Business

Download Marketing Checklist
SDco's sans serif wordmark

10 Questions to Kick Off Refining Your Brand

We use the 10 questions in this worksheet at the start of every branding project. Whether you're building, refreshing or simply refining your brand, these questions set the foundation for the process and help guide the creative to its full potential. Use this worksheet as a tool to inform your internal team, your agency or design firm partner, or to gain a deeper understanding of your brand's landscape.

Brand Worksheet Download

Build These 5 Things to Grow Your Business

If you need to attract more leads and close more sales, then you need a sales funnel. A sales funnel is another way of saying marketing plan, and it works regardless of the type or size of your business, or what you sell. This strategy will engage customers, capture their attention, and compel them to buy. Download the Marketing Checklist and get started growing your business today.

Marketing Checklist Download

How to Create Your Brand’s Personality

How to Create Your Brand’s Personality

How to create your brand’s personality
Question #10 When Considering a Brand Refresh

If you’re considering designing a new brand or refreshing your existing brand, and you’re like many marketing leaders I talk with, you may be unsure how to get started. To help make the first step more manageable, we created a worksheet with the ten questions we use to start every branding project. Using this tool will inform you, your internal team, or your agency/design firm partner and will help you gain a deeper understanding of your brand’s landscape as you get started. You can download the free Sussner Brand Worksheet here:

For a look into questions 1-9, please reference our previous blogs. This post dives into the final question to wrap up this series – which happens to be my favorite – as it transitions from the discovery to the creative phase.


“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” – Dr. Suess.
To stand out, your brand needs to look and sound different – and better – than your competition – and attractive to your target audience. To do this effectively, the question we ask is, what aspirational qualities do you want your customers to associate with you, your business, and your products? In other words, how do you want people to think of you?


To help answer this questions, let’s look at this in three parts.

How do you want your brand to be perceived? 
Let’s look at this in three parts:
1-When was your brand created? How long has it been since you last refreshed your brand?
In looking at historical trends and nationally recognized brands, seven years is a good benchmark. If it’s been longer than seven years since you refreshed your brand identity (or if your website is over five years old), then it’s time to review the state of your branding.

2-List 5 characteristics that describe the personality of your brand as it is currently perceived
How do people describe your branding as it is today? If you’re unsure, then list what words would you or members of your team use to describe your brand? We don’t ask this question to criticize, but rather as a mini-SWOT analysis to help identify opportunities to strengthen your brand.

3-List 5 characteristics that describe how you would like people to think of your brand
We refer to these as Desired Brand Attributes. In the previous post, we looked at your Core Values. While core values are the traits that describe the critical characteristics of successful team members – they represent what you are – desired brand Attributes, by comparison, are words that describe how you want your brand to be perceived. 


Desired Brand Attributes 
DBA’s are a short list of adjectives that, when combined, describe the aspirational state of your brand’s personality and differentiate your brand from the competition. These words do not represent your industry, product, or service—but instead, help determine a voice and a face that sets the foundation in developing a standout brand identity.


Branding Pro Tips
• Your brand is not your logo – your brand is what people think of you. As you work on your list of attributes, think of your brand as your business’s reputation.
• Consider what your customers want and the problems they face. What characteristics will help reinforce that you can help them?
• Choose aspirational words. Don’t get stuck on how your brand is currently perceived if that is not how you want it to be in the future.


Creative Inspiration
• It can help you think about how you want your brand to be perceived by looking at a category of products and what you might associate with your brand.
◦ One of my favorites is vehicles. What type of car do you most associate with the future state of your brand? Think form and function. What color? Environmentally friendly? Room for lots of cargo? Sporty and fast? Luxury? What does the interior look like? Is it safe?
◦ For additional inspiration in relatable brands and products that you can associate the desired state of your brand, in addition to vehicles, other great categories are beverages, food, or type of footwear.


What are you wearing?
When you get dressed today, I will bet you considered what was on your calendar for the day, who you were meeting with, and where you were meeting. You were intentional in your decision about how you’d look, so you would give the perception that you wanted to for the people you are going to meet. It would help if you gave the same consideration to your brand.


Next Steps
Completing this worksheet will help you set the foundation for the future steps of the branding process for your business. The information and insight gathered will inspire your creative partner and guide the creative to its full potential. So you look and sound different and better than your competition and attractive to your consumers. And so you stand out!

I’m sharing these insights to help you and your brand take a meaningful step so you can stop getting lost in the crowd – and losing sales, customers, or opportunities. Instead, whether you’re trying to level the playing field or tip the arena in your favor, make sure your brand helps you compete, outmaneuver, and win.

If you would like to grab a cup of coffee and review your Brand Worksheet together, contact me at or 612-339-2886.

Here’s to making sure your brand stands out from the crowd!
Derek Sussner
Executive Creative Director, StoryBrand Certified Guide

P.S. Download the Sussner Brand Worksheet here for free: