The day you understood brand strategy.
How do we know if your brand is a purposeful one? Well ask yourself, do you solve problems? If so, what are they? To evaluate the true intrinsic value of your business, you need to look at how you solve problems. Whether or not they are, quenching a thirst on a hot summers day, sourcing the cheapest tickets to the latest ballet events, changing a at tyre, a lack of knowledge in a particular skill set. What ever it may be; if you’re in business, you’re solving problems. Let’s dive deep into into ways in which we can illustrate that more effectively.
VISIONARY COMPANIES – WHO OPERATED FROM A DEFINED CORE IDEOLOGY, OUTPERFORMED THE MARKET 15X OVER A 70 YEAR PERIOD. - From book, 'Built to last’ Jim collins.
Like cause and effect, positive emotions are evoked as this pain point is relieved. Diving deeper into those positive emotions will reveal the purpose driven attributes your business holds. Your core values and your purpose, if properly conceived, remain fixed. Everything else, your practices, your strategies, your structures, your systems, your policies, and your procedures should be open for change. This conversation around purpose is less about profit and more about impact to the consumer and society at large.
Having a 3, 5, 7 year business plan is one thing. Envisioning it, is another. Casting your net to wider far reaching aspirations and goals is essential for continuous systemic growth of any project or business. We all know day to day business can be grey and unglamorous at times, but repeating positive visions of growing your company to where you want it to be, settles the nerves and supports the unconscious drives to preserver through difficulty.
YOUR COMPANY’S VALUES AND BELIEFS ARE A GUIDING SET OF PRINCIPLES THAT DEFINE YOUR EXISTENCE AND LEAD YOUR ORGANISATION. THEY’RE THE ESSENTIAL TENANTS OF YOUR COMPANY WHICH REQUIRE NO EXTERNAL JUSTIFICATION, ARE VALUED BY YOUR PEOPLE, AND CAN SERVE AS A COMPASS FOR STRATEGIC DECISIONS.
What does your company look like in 5 years? Do you have an office in that trendy, gentrified neighbourhood you have had your eye on? How many employees do you need to fulfil that goal? What is your expansion plan? Imagine it, create stories, paint a picture in your mind and repeat it, regularly.
Dream big, however make it plausible. Your vision needs to feel achievable so your senior staff members believe it too. They are the ones who will disperse your dreams to every employee in your company.
There is a group of people that personify your brand or service. You need to go deeper into their psyche and discover how they operate.
Your ‘tribe’ don't just want to know what you're about, they want to believe it. Authenticity is more prevalent than ever, and transparency is a prerequisite. Who are your ‘tribe’. What do they think, how do they feel and what values do they deem important. Who do they interact with, and in what manner. Creating detailed persona’s can be one of the most useful tasks anyone can do for their business.
EXERCISE: NEXT TIME YOU’RE IN PUBLIC, ACTIVELY SEEK OUT YOUR TARGET MARKET AND OBSERVE THEIR BEHAVIOR. IMMERSE YOURSELF INTO THEIR WORLD AND START REALLY THINKING WHAT THEY THINK. YOU WILL NATURALLY DEVELOP INSIGHTS IN WAYS YOUR BRAND CAN COMMUNICATE WITH THEM MORE AUTHENTICALLY.
Once you have established your audience’s pain points and the way they behave and think, only then can you position yourself in a unique way.
Having the realisation that your competitors are serving your intended audience can be daunting and disheartening. However, being the new kid on the block can be very advantageous. Finding your unique selling proposition (USP) can be an exciting task. Every well established brands will have their strengths and weaknesses. It’s your job to uncover what those are, and find ways to position yourself accordingly.
ARE YOU A CHALLENGER BRAND, OR DO YOU DRAW ON TRADITION AND TRUST WITHIN THE MARKETPLACE? IS THE SERVICE YOU OFFER MORE FLEXIBLE? DO YOU OFFER SUPREME CUSTOMER SERVICE? OR DOES YOUR UNIQUE POSITIONING SIT SOMEWHERE IN-BETWEEN.
Extract your USP
If your brand was a personality, how would he/she behave? What would he/she look like and what would be his/her name be? Build this persona in detail. Your target audience is, or wants to be this person. Paint a clear picture of your brand through the variety of touch points that mean the most to your audience. Its a chance to elevate your product/service from an innate ‘thing', into a story people can connect with. People connect with feeling, not features.
You can look at your brand’s personality as if it’s the first initial meeting, once they like you, they will start to invest into the narrative that forms your brand. Like getting to know anyone, there are instinctual hoops one needs to go through and brand personality is the first of many.
THE CUSTOMER’S RELATIONSHIP WITH THIS FICTITIOUS BRAND PERSONA SHOULD BE THE DRIVER TO MANY MARKETING DECISIONS.
A BRAND IS A VOICE AND A PRODUCT IS A SOUVENIR. - Lisa Gansky
Tone of voice & imagery
We all tailor the way we talk to different people in our lives. You wouldn't speak to your Grandmother like you would speak to your best friend. Your brand needs to align itself to the same methodology. The subtlety of language is very perceivable and we all get affected differently, weather we like it or not. Harness the power of language and imagery to speak to whom matter most to your brand. Create a communications bible. The do’s and don’t. The way your brand communicates is the bridge that hold the road to success.
Developing a brand identity system isn’t an exercise hoping for the best. It’s a formulated thought process that draws inspiration from all of the previous steps listed above. Developing visual insights requires hours of trial and error to come up with a recipe for that secret sauce. The most robust, emotive branding systems are scalable and strong. You could apply them to different scenarios and the essence of the brand would still speak volumes.
In a way, data is the missing piece of the puzzle many marketers have been seeking for the last 50 years. As we move towards a digital world, the observations of human behavioural patterns have moved with it. Where you extract that data depends on your marketing goals. Reports on data trends and market movements are great for top-line brand analysis. Conversely, Google analytics and campaign data are vital in making micro adjustments to creative executions. Traditionally, insights were either drawn upon gut feelings and qualitative observations, but now, with raw data at our fingertips, we can make multifaceted informed decisions. You might be thinking, ‘how does this affect my small-medium sized business?’, well it does. Being agile to macro/micro trends is the most important tool in your arsenal. Embrace data.
LOOK THROUGH YOUR WEBSITE ANALYTICS, SHOPIFY DATA, CLICK THROUGH RATES OF YOUR MEDIA SPEND (CTR), SOCIAL LISTENING, CAC (CUSTOMER ACQUISITION COST), CLV (CUSTOMER LIFE TIME VALUE) ETC, AND ASSEMBLE THEM INTO A DOCUMENT WITH YOUR BRAND STRATEGY.
ONCE YOU HAVE BUILT OUT YOUR BRAND STRATEGY, ONLY THEN CAN YOU START CREATING PURPOSE DRIVEN STATEMENTS FOR EACH OF THESE SECTIONS. AS YOU SCRAPE OFF THE OUTER LAYER OF THE ONION AND WORK YOUR WAY INTO THE CORE; EACH LAYER SHOULD REVEAL MORE AND MORE EMOTION. WRITING THESE STATEMENTS SHOULD BE WRITTEN IN THE MANNER THAT REFLEX THE BRAND PERSONA.
People won’t see it, until they believe what they see. Creating an aura around your brand will make or break your business. The competition is rife and you need to differentiate yourself. Forming your brand’s identity heaps your sales people communicate the emotion behind your product/service. This will set you apart from the pack. Once you have your ‘tribes’ attention, how do you develop systems for long term retention. This in the ongoing conversation you need to develop within your marketing efforts. It’s a balance of art and science, the most interesting dance of them all.
IN A CROWDED MARKETPLACE, FITTING IN IS A FAILURE. IN A BUSY MARKETPLACE, NOT STANDING OUT IS THE SAME AS BEING INVISIBLE. - Seth Godin
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