Positioning: Understand your market
Finding out where your brand stands or where it doesn’t stand in the market, is a crucial first step. You need to research everything there is to know about your business and the market in which it will compete.
What problems do you solve? What makes you different?
Differentiate between knowledge and assumptions. Ideally you should conduct a fully realised diagnosis of your brand and interview decision makers.
Alternatively, work out where you are and where you could be in the future by making a list of these three things:
The facts. The obstacles. The opportunities.
This simple exercise helps to identify key issues. Keep it focused, just one page. Look at all the possible ways your product or service solves problems for customers, both rationally and emotionally. Make sure the benefits you single out are genuine and tangible.
The aim is to find your USP, that one meaningful thing that makes your business stand out from your competitors. And you want to make that difference obvious and attractive.
Get to know your audience
The most important task in building a brand is to know who your customers are and how to reach them. What do they like and what do they dislike? You need to know their needs and motivators, as well as their overall profile.
What makes them tick?
You know what problems your product or service solves, but to whom does it appeal? Define your target market by researching both existing and prospective customers. Use surveys, focus groups or Google Analytics to understand what your target market needs, why it is or isn’t buying from you, and what you can do to make your offering more appealing.
Bring your customer to life by creating a persona for your ideal customer.
Try to describe a person you know. It could be a friend or a famous person. You’ll find it’s much easier to connect with your audience when you have a specific reader in mind. Here’s a few questions to get started:
Put yourself in their shoes every time you create content. If you are able to connect in a way that she or he believes, you will be able to create marketing campaigns that resonates.
Your brand personality
Consumers will most often decide if they like or dislike a brand based on the brand’s personality characteristics and the way the brand communicates. They are more likely to like and engage with a brand if they feel it is relatable to them in some way or another.
Assess the personality of your business as if it were a person. Just as you may define a certain friend as ‘witty’ or a colleague as ‘enthusiastic’. What words would you use to describe your brand’s image? What attributes and/or emotions do you want associated with your brand and what do you not want associated with your brand? It often helps to combine what a brand is with what it is not. (Professional but not dry and corporate. Casual, but not lazy and messy.)
One way of assessing this is by asking these questions: If the brand were to come alive as a person:
If you need some help to get going you might find Aaker’s “Big Five” personality traits useful. It’s a combination of varying traits that makes your brand unique.
Mission statement and value proposition
You want to paint a clear picture of the exact position your brand intends to occupy in the mind of your target audience. And you want to make sure it is saying something truly distinctive.
A mission statement lets the public know the product or service your business provides, how it does it, and who it does it for. A vision statement is a declaration of where your company wants to be in the future. It clearly articulates the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of a brand.
Your values (often referred to as your company culture) let people know that you will act morally and ethically on your way to success.
Your brand purpose is your North Star. Sharing what you stand for will give your brand meaning and added value. However, you want to be 100% sure that your company really wants to do things differently. You have to stay true to the promise you make.
A value proposition is a simple summary of why a customer would choose your product or service.
It communicates the clearest benefit that customers receive by giving you their business. Every value proposition should speak to a customer’s challenge and make the case for your company as the problem-solver.
I quite like this simple formula by Steve Blank: We help (X) do (Y) by doing (Z).
I help SMEs to resonate with their target audiences by designing visual communication.
That's it for Chapter 1. I tried to use as little jargon as possible but I hope it wasn't too simplified? Would love your feedback on this in the comments below. No need to fill in website or email if you do not wish to do so... Thank you!