Before diving in to a branding exercise it is important to take a step back and ask yourself some basic questions. In doing so you will define a clear understanding of what you can expect as an outcome and therefore improve the result of the exercise.
1. What is my brand?
A very common misconception that businesses make is that their brand is their logo. This is not the case. Your logo is one element of your visual identity, your brand is made up of so much more than that. The most important part and starting point is your verbal identity – what you are saying about your business. This often includes, vision, mission, values, positioning, a proposition statement and brand concept or strapline. Only once these elements have been defined should work on the visual identity (logo, colours, fonts, image style, design motifs) begin as a means to help communicate the verbal identity.
2. Why do we need to address it?
Before any work begins you need to understand why you are embarking on the exercise. It could be a for a variety of reasons; a change of business strategy, responding to shift in the market, a desire to make your brand more relevant to the changing needs of your customers or to support the development of a new product category. Whatever your reason, by understanding why you’re addressing your brand you will be able to measure the result against the objective.
3. Who is our target audience and what do they really want/need?
Only by understanding your target audience and their needs can you build a brand that is aligned to servicing those needs. Take the time to listen to your customers, understand what they like and dislike about your business as well as their aspirations so you can adapt your brand to match their needs both now and in the future. With this insight you can build personas that describe the various customer segments and define their individual needs and wants so you can align your future communications to them.
4. Who are our competitors and how are we different?
Understanding the competitor landscape is crucial to ensuring you can define your uniqueness and create differentiation. It is important to note that being different for the sake of it won’t deliver the success you’re looking for. You need to create differentiation with meaning and purpose that resonates with your audience, aligns to their needs and is a promise to them that you can continually deliver against.
5. What is our real value to our customers?
Most businesses communicate everything they do up front not wanting to overlook anything or undersell themselves. However, this approach can actually have a negative effect on your business. Rather than talk about you and all of the services you offer, think hard about what need you address for your customers and what challenge you help them overcome. By doing this you can define your uniqueness and can start to stand for something that customers can relate to on an emotional level rather than competing on product features alone.
If you’re looking to start a branding project or feel your business has more it could achieve but are unsure of where to start, please don’t hesitate to get in touch to see how we can support you to take your business to the next level.