It’s not as fancy as you might think. It takes some time but it’s time well spent. When you have a good brand strategy, the money you spend on messaging makes a lasting impact on your business. It’s not wasted on extinguishing fires along the path of a race to zero. On the contrary – it builds connections with clients and lifts your market position up.
Brand definition is a set of tools we need to be able to construct and maintain the plan. They show where your brand is now in the market, who your clients are and what “language” you need to use to reach them. Tools also outline what your aspirations and goals for growth are, along with how you can be meaningfully different from the competition and create a price premium and customer loyalty.
“Positioning is a fundamental business strategy” (Blair Enns, Win Without Pitching).What you do, for whom and how? – this is your positioning. It defines what a brand is, its benefits and competitive advantages, and what it means to your target market. It tells you where your brand is in the market.
That is the reason most creatives live for! Here is the brave, here is the quirky, here is the unforgettable – all working together to support your claim of unique selling proposition. How are you different from your competition is a question so important, that the right answer for it might blow you into a totally new category, beyond your competition.
You need customers – sure enough! You know where you are (positioning), but you also need to know where your clients (market segment) are, and who they are (customer profile). That is why we work on crafting detailed customer psychographic profiles and plan their journey with your brand.
You know your customers personalities – in order to leverage that, you need to construct a proper personality for your brand, a personality that they understand and trust. Attributes are all that allow people to interact with a brand and identify it. How does your brand speak, look, feel, act? Of course brand attributes come from the best traits your company already has, but it’s also aspirational, pushing you forward.
One thing is to have goals – tangible, measurable points in time and space to be reached. To have a vision is something else. If you were a bus, the vision would be your direction and goals would be stops on your way. Vision must be big, bigger than you, because it provides the purpose necessary for people to become not just customers but fans. Instead of just selling to people, now you are pursuing a higher cause together.
You know where your brand is, where it should be going, what clients you need to take along on your journey and how to talk to them. Now it is a matter of picking your priorities and deciding in what order to do things that need to be done.
The working plan is where all the doing happens. We call it a working plan because it is alive – often updated, tested and revised. It’s not set in stone – mistakes happen, the economy changes – but it keeps you on track. It is always based on brand definition so you know if it works for your brand or not, and you can react quickly and in a way that puts you back on track, not just above the water.