Are You Ready for Digital Marketing? Lets Start With Your Branding!
‘A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.’ – Jeff Bezos, founder, Amazon.com
Branding is a blend of science and art. A well-calculated game of positioning where every move is well thought out and consequences are considered. Sometimes you’ll need to go big and risk it all, other times you’ll need to be reserved and hold back. This is where you will need something to fall back on: a list of characteristics for your brand to hold yourself accountable to and which define the path you walk and the moves you make.
What is a brand?
There are many elements that make up a successful brand and not all are the same for every business. What is consistent however is that you, the business owner/leader, have a clear idea of what your brand stands for and why and how you’re going to reach out to your audience with that message. You must become part of your audience’s world and develop that relationship like no other.
It is more than a logo, a campaign or just a company name. It is the total and consistent message linked to your company, service or product that elicits a response from your target market. A brand is the spoken and unspoken promise that you make to your consumer and the outward personality of your company, service or product.
Why does branding matter?
Each exposure to your brand is called a ‘touch point’. The more of these the better in terms of deepening awareness of your brand. Each touch point should be congruent with your branding vision so that as a consumer they feel like they are starting to know you, recognize you. By giving thought to who you are and what you stand for, the end goal of building positive awareness that results in profitable customer actions becomes more formulaic than hit and miss.
You are telling the market who YOU think you are. If you’ve done your homework well your message should match the values and identity of your target market. Researching your target(s) and competitors will save you time, money and potential embarrassment in the end.
This worksheet will help you capture your vision for the project:
1. Why does company and brand name exist? What is its essential purpose?
2. What motivates and inspires your employees to work for and remain loyal to your organization?
3. What is your organization striving to become?
4. To challenge and engage your entire team, what is the most important long term goal?
1. What are the fundamental beliefs and principles that stand the test of time and guide your organizations behaviour?
1. What business are you in?
2. What is the business concept or rationale behind your company and brand name? Why is this important?
3. What is your overriding mission?
4. Why do you think you’re a player in the business you’re in?
1. What is the one thing that makes your organization unique?
2. How do you separate yourself from the pack?
3. What words or attributes would you use to describe your organization? Rank them in order of importance.
4. In which category are you first or would like to be first?
5. If you could own one exclusive word in your customer’s mind, what would it be?
6. What words or attributes do your customers use to describe your organization? Rank them in order of importance.
7. What words or attributes do your competitors use to define your organization? Which ones have the most sticking power?
8. Are there any misconceptions you’d like to see changed?
9. Who are your main competitors? Rank them in order of market importance/influence.
10. What are their respective core strengths?
11. What words or attributes do you think your competitors own in the prospect’s mind?
12. Are your competitors positioning themselves in a particular way? What claims are they making?
13. What are your competitors’ core weaknesses? In what ways are they vulnerable?
1. What solution do you sell?
2. What problem do you solve?
3. What do you promise and deliver on?
1. What are your organization’s core strengths and advantages? Rank them in order of importance.
2. How do you define quality?
3. What are the benefits of doing business with your organization? Which benefit is most important? Why?
4. What are the benefits of your product? Which benefit is most important? Why?
5. Are any of these benefits unique to your organization and product?
6. Do you stress any attributes or benefits that your competitors do not?
7. What are your company’s core weaknesses? What are you doing to address or overcome them?
1. Who “purchases” your product? Describe them.
2. What motivates them to buy your product?
3. What are their main concerns or hot buttons?
4. What are their main objections to your product?
5. Who doesn’t buy your product, and why?
6. Are there other gatekeepers and influencers in the decision making process? Describe them.
7. What are their main concerns and hot buttons?
8. Who are the “users” of your product? Describe them.
9. What are your users main concerns or hot buttons?
10. What motivates them to use your product?
11. How does your product help users do their job faster, easier and more cost effectively?
12. What are users absolutely tired of or frustrated by? Why do they need your product now?
13. Is there a need or problem users don’t even realize they have?
14. What are your users main objections to your product?
15. Who doesn’t use your product, and why? Describe them.
1. What is your strategy for retaining customers?
2. What is your strategy for rewarding loyal customers?
3. What is your customer product philosophy?
4. What is your customer pledge or guarantee?
5. How do you define a superior product?
6. How do you evaluate and measure customer satisfaction?
Marketing Channels Website
1. Who is coming to your website?
2. What are people using your website for? What will they want to do there?
3. Does your website adequately represent your brand?
4. Is it SEO friendly?
5. Does it have trackable features (such as Google Analytics) to collect valuable data?
6. Are there any sites you like the look of? Why?
Social Media & Content
1. What is your unique story?
2. What is your brand’s ‘voice’ and ‘tone’?
3. Are you blogging?
4. Are you publishing case studies/white papers?
5. Do you have an e-newsletter?
6. What social media platforms are you using?
7. What sort of PR are you engaged in on a regular basis? (is there anything really unique to your story/people/brand that might attract media attention?)
1. Are you advertising in industry publications?
2. Do you use outdoor advertising?
3. Do you have printed collateral?
4. Are any of these more important than others?
5. Which ones have traditionally worked best for you?
1. When would you like to start?
2. When does it need to be completed by?
3. What is your specific reason for these dates? (eg, trade show, product launch, new CFO joining)
1. What is your measure of success for a (re)branding exercise?
2. What are you hoping to achieve? (ie, 20% increase in sales, increase traffic to website by 50%, community engagement around the new product)
So whether it’s a new business, a redefined brand or a sub-brand, the more information you supply, the clearer the picture and better the result. It can be helpful to complete this worksheet with a number of stakeholders so as not to miss any important aspects. But be mindful – too many cooks can spoil the broth!
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