The next step to building a powerful brand is self-evaluation. We have determined the customers, but who is the company? Every company has an internal culture, the way it conducts business and views itself. Understanding who you are is the first step in communicating with others.

Branding is a way of simplifying communication. Rather than illustrate every feature of a calorie-free, caramel-colored, caffeinated, carbonated beverage we just call it “Diet Coke.” Managers worked hard to define what “Coke” is and where it fits in the market; the diet version requires less energy because it builds on the existing Coke brand. But, and there is always a “but,” even the Coke brand had to start somewhere.

Here is a quick exercise:

In 10 words, describe your business. Don’t waste time explaining what you think your company does; explain who your company is. Are you “a group of people who want to change the world?” Or are you “business school graduates with too much time on your hands?” Maybe you are “recent retirees looking for low-risk, high-return commodity investment opportunities.” This exercise might seem a bit silly, but it helps immensely in the branding process.

Knowing who you are helps you understand how your customers will see you. Your 10-word description is your first brand. Any company name or logo you have will be seen as an abbreviation of this description. The real challenge is aligning your business goals with your business image.

What 10 words describe your business?