Only a very small number of companies ever find their true brand position, which is why in most markets there are only ever a small number of long term winners.
The first thing to stress is that brand is not your logo, strap line or colour scheme. It’s what you actually do. It’s what you stand for and it’s everything that comes to mind when people think of you. For some useful definitions of brand, check this out.
Your brand will define:
– Your pricing
– Your culture
– Your website
– Your social media activity
– Every other encounter that people have with you
To define your brand you need to dig into the following questions:
– What are you selling? Is it just a product or a lifestyle? Is it a sense of community and belonging? Is it education? Is it entertainment? Is it the promise of greater happiness?
– Who are you? What are the founders/directors like as people and what kind of employees do you hire? What are your shared personality traits, values and passions? What are your goals and ambitions?
– Who is your audience? Where are they, how old are they, what do they care about, how often do they use your product? What are their goals, motivations and fears?
– Who is your competition? How are they similar? How are they different? Who is growing the fastest and how? Who don’t you like in the market and why not? Who has the best digital presence and what can you learn from it?
You will have a lot of information at this stage. What you’re now going to start looking for among all this detail is one simple truth. The one thing that:
– You have the expertise and experience to produce
– You are deeply passionate about
– The market is crying out for
– You can deliver better than anyone else in the market
The intersection of these four factors determines where your brand is positioned in the market
3. Brand values:
It is one thing to understand your brand’s positioning, but you now need to identify what your brand stands for. What values can a client, supplier, employee, shareholder or any other stakeholder expect to experience when they come into contact with your brand?
The process of identifying a brand’s “values” can result in all sorts of vague and unhelpful words being thrown around – “people”, “service”, “quality” and “integrity” being some common offenders. Okay, it’s perfectly possible that those words might describe you, but more likely they’re just the values that you think you should have. To reveal your true values (and I would usually suggest identifying between 3 and 10, each accompanied by a more detailed narrative) you need to get under the the personalities behind the company. What words would clients use to describe you:
– Are you professional and formal or friendly and approachable?
– Are you generous and supportive or commercial and uncompromising?
– Are you safe and traditional or exciting and cutting edge?
None of these words are right or wrong. In fact all of them probably sound good in the right context, but they won’t all be true, and among the sea of adjectives will be a small number that account for 95% of what you’re really about. Finding this small number (and the fewer the better) is one of the most difficult and most valuable processes you’ll ever go through.
Important note – to do this effectively you must involve the whole of the leadership team, ideally the entire company. It will ensure a more accurate reflection of reality and help you get buy in from the team, without which this is an entirely pointless exercise.
4. Decide what this actually means for your business day to day
Now that you are clear on your brand’s positioning and values, you can begin to decide what this means for the day to day brand experience. What does it mean for:
– How you answer the phone?
– How you communicate with colleagues?
– The content you distribute via social media?
– The design and messaging within your website?
– The layout of your office?
And yes, it will also help define your logo 🙂