What is the essence of your business? I'm not asking what you look like or what colors you use. I'm asking, "what does your organization embody?"
If you surveyed any business owner and asked them that question then you might see responses like a slogan, or an abstract idea formed from an emblem or logo. In fact, many are tempted to create a logo and then do little to develop their brand afterward.
When approaching the idea of branding it's useful to look through a personal lens to see how you understand yourself. Many individuals ask the question, "who am I?"
It's a loaded question, and certainly, one worth asking.
The best approach to figuring out your identity is to ask:
What do I know about myself?
How do I perceive what I know about myself?
How is my perception informed by how others perceive me?
This approach to identity is very similar to branding. In fact, you could ask yourself the same questions regarding your organization:
What do I know about my group?
What do we perceive our goals to be?
How does that inform how our group participates in its community?
These questions are a great place to start when beginning the process of branding. The answers to such questions in light of the past and what your organization desires to be in the future is literally the jumping-off point of establishing the essence of your group.