With millions of businesses looking to compete for sales, having a strong and authentic brand is absolutely critical for businesses to differentiate themselves.
From the beginning of time, we have been storytellers. Stories draw people in, provoking real emotion and taking them on a journey. Storytelling uses fact and narrative to communicate a message to your audience.
Our world is filled to the brim with different marketing strategies. Wherever you turn, there is noise; another company telling you that their product is the best. But marketing should be more than “buy this, it’s the best” – it should convince us and make us truly believe in the product/service/company. Show customers WHO you are, HOW you work, and WHY you are someone they should remember.
Brand Identity Blueprinting
When blueprinting your brand, your brand identity roadmap should consist of ten key areas of focus:
Make your goals, ambitions and capabilities clear
- What do you want to be and are you really that now?
- If you aren’t that yet, how do you become that?
- If you are that, how do you get the message out to customers?
Understand your customers and what drives purchasing in your category and the segment you are targeting
If you don’t have the time and money to actually survey customers, instead
- talk to your sales director
- talk to the person who sells on the floor
- talk to the those who deal with the customers… but in the end – get to know what the customer needs!
Assess the good and the bad
You have an aspirational view of what the brand wants to achieve. Now consider the following:
- Where are your gaps?
- What are the issues in relation to you delivering on your goals?
Analyse your target market and key competitors
- Understand what competitors are currently offering and how they are pitching their products and services.
- Find something that differentiates you and your brand – what is your point of difference?
- Find a spot you can own and which is going to be profitable
- Make sure you’re offering the customer something they will value
Once you have found an area you want to target as a brand, create a narrative that makes sense
- Your story needs to start with the promise: What is the essence of your brand?
- Back this up with the facts behind your promise.
Deliver on your promises
- Once you have the story you want to take to market, you must ensure you will be able to deliver it on every level. For example, if you are positioning yourself as having the highest levels of service, are your staff trained well enough? Do your stores have the exceptional customer service?
- You must be ruthless in evaluating whether you can deliver. It’s not about making a promise, it’s about living the promise!
Ensure operations can support delivery of the story
- Reinforce things that support your story
- Drop those things that don’t
- Bring in aspects that are missing
Remember, it’s not JUST about the product
Bring the brand story to life in everything you do, including:
- the product/service
- price and packaging
- your people
- your stores and distribution methods
- your communications.
Be in it and be present
- Your brand must be sustained and nurtured (this is critical in the social media age because of its multiplier effect)
- Ensure your brand can scale with your business
- Be vigilant and be in there, monitoring your own story, seeing how people respond to it, actively responding to any issues and multiplying the good things
Don’t try to be all things to all people
- Have a position and stand for something – be willing to accept that having a strong brand sometimes means people won’t like your product.
- The most successful brands intimately understand and target a distinct audience, thus do not appeal to everyone.
- These successful brands tend to each have a group that is as equally against them, as their customers are for them. Apple is a great example.
Your brand identity will play the most significant part of your business. This is why it is so important to put research and thought into it – do not rush it! You want both the name and logo to stand the test of time, so that your brand establishes strength and trust with its audience.