Building a great brand
A follow up to On Branding and Greatness
Branding is about the who, what, where, and why.
Why does your brand exist? What problems are solved, and what value is provided?
Who are the people that experience your brand, and benefit from your brand? This can include employees, consumers, and other audiences and stakeholders.
What does your brand offer and how does it help people?
Where does your brand show-up and how do people interact with it?
That being said, why should we care? These are questions that need to be addressed across the business, and are not unique to branding. The value of branding lies in the ability to creatively showcase your company or product’s identity and carve out a unique voice in your market. Branding is about generating awareness, being intentional, building trust and rapport, and connecting with your audience on an emotional level.
Building a brand strategy
Some of the important aspects of your brand strategy include:
Positioning statement: an action-oriented statement that includes your target audience, industry or category, differentiation or USPs, and proven benefits/evidence
Design identity: considerations for a cohesive look and feel across all channels
Brand values and drivers: key values at the core of your company and what drives your mission and vision
Brand voice: the tone and manner of your brand (fun, professional, edgy, etc.)
Brand places and channels: where you present your brand (online and IRL)
Partnership considerations: collaborations, design considerations for partnerships, strategic partnerships
Key messaging: compelling, consistent messaging that ties back to overall strategic positioning
I won’t get into all of the above in this post (although if there’s interest in continuing this series - hit the like button!). Below are a couple of specific exercises for crafting or revisiting your brand strategy.
Building an action-oriented positioning statement
Positioning statements are helpful in the same way documenting any goal, mission, or vision is helpful. A positioning statement is a way to be intentional about your company and your brand, and is also a tool for building internal alignment (and maybe also internal inspiration).
A positioning statement includes the what and why, and is a foundation for action.
Here is an example from HubSpot’s blog:
Alaska Airlines Positioning Statement:
We are creating an airline people love. Each day, we are guided by our core values of “own safety”, “do the right thing”, “be kind-hearted”, “deliver performance”, and “be remarkable at work and in our communities.” Alaska Airlines also fosters a diverse and inclusive culture and is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
This statement includes the what: an airline that people love.
It also includes the why: core values including the drive to deliver and be remarkable.
It’s also actionable. Internal and external stakeholders (agencies etc.) can reference this statement and ask: does this design/copy/ad/project/campaign fit within our core values? Is it remarkable? Does it help us deliver performance, or communicate effectively on how we deliver performance? Does it honor diversity and inclusion?
This statement also includes what the company is striving for and provides a high-level framework for employees to join in on the mission.
The formula outlined below is also a great positioning statement template (source: EquiBrand Consulting).
To [target audience], Product/Company X is the only [category or frame of reference] that [points of differentiation/benefits delivered] because [reasons to believe].
Building a brand benefits ladder
Using the brand benefits ladder as an exercise for positioning or overall strategy can be helpful. Below is a summary of the brand benefits ladder. The bottom of the ladder includes the attributes of your brand, and it builds upwards to the emotional benefit to your customers.
Product/service attributes: defining your product or service
Product/service features: unique selling points and other key functional aspects of your product or service
Customer benefits: the value the product or service provides to the customer
Emotional connection: how the customer feels as a result of the product or service - and how they feel about your brand/company
This is an example of a brand benefits ladder for B2B consulting:
Attributes: expert software consulting services/certified team with many years of industry experience/hundreds of successful client projects completed
Features: streamlined business processes/implementation of modern technology/better customer service/reduction of manual work via automation/easier access to pertinent information
Benefits to customers: saving time and money/increased efficiency/higher employee and customer satisfaction/ increased ROI on company technology investments
Emotional benefits: sense of accomplishment/peace of mind/pride in work/confidence in strategy and providing value to the business
I hope there was something helpful in the above for anyone reading. As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m a brand believer. Branding is an avenue for uniting the who, what, where, and why of your company through creative expression that connects with your audience on an emotional level.
Thank you for reading Marketing Mechanics.