Have you heard the term brand strategy, but not really sure what all the fuss is about? Did you skip building brands actually and go straight to the visual design? In today’s episode I’ll be revealing why brand strategy is so important. The five elements that should be included in yours. Leave her feeling confident and well informed to get started and build your own brand strategy from the comfort of your home. Welcome to the BrandMade shownotes. If your push for time listen to this episode on >>Apple Podcast<<
STRATEGY BEFORE BRAND DESIGN
We’ve all at one time or another jumped the gun. Maybe this is true within your brand. Design visuals are usually the place we all want to start. It’s exciting to think about what our brands could look like. And of course, visual design is a must. But before we obviously get carried away and caught up pinning swoonworthy designs and ideas on Pinterest, let’s take a second and gain some important and much needed clarity and perspective on what it is that you and your brand actually needs. So let’s stop coasting on visuals. And just take that first step by exiting out of your beloved Pinterest brand boards and save you from spending money on design that just won’t last you long term. Pretty visuals can only get you and your brand so far, and your people will have probably become pretty savvy at detecting whether or not your brand has the depth, the meaning and originality behind it.
WHY IS BRAND STRATEGY IMPORTANT ?
Firstly, let’s get on the same page. brands are built for businesses, your business needs customers. Therefore, we build brands for that business’s ideal customers or people so that customers are more likely to choose you over other brands. So where does the strategy fit into all of this? Well, brand strategy bridges that gap between brand and customer. building your brand without strategy is essentially the same as you going to the doctor’s but instead of the doctor having an in depth conversation about your sentence, you go in and you just tell them, I want such and such medication, yet handed the medication you asked for. But a week later, you realise it hasn’t fixed the issue at all. This is essentially building a brand without strategy. The strategy is obviously your list of symptoms and needs and wants even goals. Building without it is sort of like shooting in the dark, you don’t really know what you’re trying to hit. We’re essentially creating boundaries. And this is where solopreneurs sometimes shy away from because it can feel or sound a bit limiting. But there’s definitely still room for growth within a brand. It’s really important especially at the beginning to identify and solidify these boundaries, so we know exactly where best to position. Your brand for success. Strategy also helps designers and clients build a more objective for you. with a focus on the reasons behind why we are positioning and presenting your brand in such a way. This will also be aligned with the shape the look and feel of your brand. But strategy should not be confused with tactics.
COMMON MISCONCEPTION ABOUT BRAND STRATEGY
A pet peeve of mine is people referring the strategy as a questionnaire, a questionnaire offers us information. However, the strategy is how we process that information. What discussions, observations and connections we take from it or a questionnaire is just a method. gathering information is efficient, for sure. And a great way to start off the dialogue. However, it has major flaws, the client usually fills out a questionnaire either on their own and we are more likely to just interpret the questions slightly different from one another. They also might want to answer the question the way you they think you want to hear it or worse, or just super busy that day and just quickly fill it out. This will then offer us only a basic brief overview of your business. And it can lead to much bigger issues later in the development process. So this is definitely a reason why I hold strategy calls to have a free flowing conversation with obviously questions included, but always room for just chatting and getting a good sense of who they are behind their business and as a person.
PILLAR ONE | DEFINE | SELF DISCOVERY STAGE
So I’m going to start breaking down the strategy into five manageable pieces. I kind of like to refer them as five brand pillars these pillars will cover define, differentiate, attract values and message. So let’s start with define. This is where I begin with every client is to get a real sense of their journey personality and business goals. now and in the future. This is sort of a self discovery stage. And it’s just the best place to start. I don’t actually brainstorm I prefer to use post it notes. You can move them independently and kind of capture snapshots rather than the tax. I usually start off with uneasy, general questions just to ease clients into it. And they kind of go along the lines of like interest skills who inspires you any experience like life changing experiences to slight harder questions, long lines of describe what type of brand legacy you want to leave behind? Why did you start the business? What’s your business journey so far has been like? What are your future goals? thinking openly, and just writing all thoughts that come into your head without judgement is best.
The aim here is to use most of the patient notes and create just a personal folder information, thoughts and goals for you to just refer back to and see connections, this is actually a great place to discover sort of your brand story and don’t get too hung up on what to write, just just let it flow. And you’ll be surprised there’s no actually real, right or wrong answer here. So just as long as you’re filling up that whole pad of post it notes, and you should have a very busy wall soon. That is the aim here really.
PILLAR TWO | DIFFERENTIATE | GET TO KNOW YOUR COMPETITOR
Moving on to differentiate. So you’ve all heard, it’s important to stand out from the crowd. But it’s hard to find the space where no one has entered before, in order to find this new ground. Firstly, we need to get obviously a good idea of what already currently exists. And we do this by mapping out what’s already out there. And we look at two different types of competitors. The first group of competitors who should be familiar with and evaluating is the usual other businesses in your field. So that’s businesses that are selling the same or similar products and services. The second type of competitor are businesses that don’t sell the same product and service but are selling to the same people you want to attract. If you’re not 100% sure, right now who your ideal customers are, obviously do come back to this step.
I suggest you do this because it provides you with a broader lens. Usually other businesses in your area are probably doing a lot of the similar things. You want to find a new perspective and widen your mind to how you could be different and better for your customers. Remember, though, it’s not trying to be different for different sake, if it doesn’t really help your brand or your product or offer. So do keep that in mind. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, but to find the gaps within what’s already exist or what’s been already made. So do grab your laptop and start researching those two groups of competitors.
PILLAR THREE | ATTRACT | HOW TO CREATE YOUR IDEAL PEOPLE
The third pillar is attract and you probably already guess it’s about your ideal customers. This is the time to sit down and create your ideal customer profile. You’ve probably already been previously told to create sort of a Facebook profile. But I recommend digging deeper, I think it should be a mixture of like Facebook, Pinterest personality tests within there and a diary. Facebook is what other people want you to see in and to know. But when you’re coming to look at your ideal customer, you need to know the ins and outs not just the not just scraping the surface level. You want to know the lives that they live daily and what they do in their spare time. What are they reading? What are they watching? And especially what are their internal goals and fears wants out of life? What weaknesses and strengths do they harbour and what things are they really struggling with? That’s definitely an important one. A conventional Facebook profile, your ideal client just won’t give you that sort of information. So you do need to be creating a profile that’s very in depth.
PILLAR FOUR | BRAND VALUES | HOW TO CHOOSE THEM
Next up, we have brand values. You might have heard about brand rallies before but you haven’t really been taught how to choose them or select them. Firstly, they’re important because they act as your brand’s core personality traits. And you won’t ever deviate away from them, not in three years, or even 50 years from now. So once you selected them, they really have to stand the test of time. A value is what you promise yourself, your ideal customers and how your behave, how you’re different from others, it’s the perfect time to sort of review the information you’ve already gathered. So I always suggest to select 123 so first how not to do this is by finding a brown value list and just randomly selecting anything, any three you feel like that day because chances are you won’t, you won’t remember your forget your pick or go off them the next day. So we are picking with intention here and don’t go for the generic value such as honesty, teamwork, dry and be more individualistic because obviously every brand wants to be seen as honest and to positive, so we want to go less generic and more individualistic. So get another pack of post it notes, if you have them and write down a list of values or a value on each post it note, try and start thinking once off the top of your head. And then when you run out there can you can find a prompt list online to select ones that resonate with, you only pick the ones that also that you’re drawn to. But once you roughly have around, say 25 to 30 values is then time to evaluate and find your three from within. And we do this through questioning their strength.
So I’m going to give you some questions you can ask each value. And when you ask these questions, if there’s ever a time when you answer it, no, then that value is not strong enough to stand the test of time. So what you’re going to do is you’re going to take it off your wall a bunch of paper and just throw it away. And keep doing this with every one answering all the questions. As soon as you answer no to any of them. Take it off, throw it away. Okay, so these are the questions. First one is, Will your ideal customers care about this value? Is it going to be just as important today as it is in five years? Is it powerful enough to evoke change? Can your brand actually live by it? Are you 100% prepared to defend it. And once you’ve gone through all 30 values, hopefully you’ll have thrown quite a few values away and you’re left with your three on the wall.
PILLAR FIVE | MESSAGE | WRITING YOUR MISSION, PURPOSE AND VISION STATEMENTS
Awesome, final pillar and that is message. This one includes your purpose, vision and mission. These statements still to this day, kind of make my head spin. And I always suggest writing them out separately. And I don’t think there’s any issue with blending the segment’s together, however you see works and what sounds best. But I always say start off by simplifying getting clarity on each. And I’m going to just run through you which the reason why we have each of these statements. And the first one is your purpose. And this is the reason why you exist. It’s the more emotionally charged reason behind your business besides money. And then the next one is mission. And this is the more actionable statement. It should cover what you do, how you do it, and who you do it for. Then we have vision, which is a far more inspirational. And an easy way to think of this is like the Martin Luther King speech, he shared his future vision. It was the I Have a Dream speech, not the I have a mission or a plan. So when you think about writing your vision statement, you’re going to be thinking about your future goal or reality, what changes would you like to see and are actively pushing towards sort of the bigger picture.
THE REAL REASON WHY I WANTED TO TALK ABOUT BRAND STRATEGY
I wanted to take the time today to go through brand strategy because I see a lot of the time people saying how important it is, which is all well and good but as effective as a teacher telling you how important matters and giving you sort of all the reasons why we use statistics, algebra and potentials, but not providing us with the formulas or tools to find those answers in that is pretty unhelpful. So that’s why it was really important for me to share in this episode, not only the five brand strategy pillars that are that are what I use with my one to one clients, but also the actionable steps to figure out what each should be a mean for your brand.
COMING TO THE END
So some of you by now have probably decorated your office or bridge and walk with a whole lot of post it notes and I really appreciate you for following along. It will provide you with clarity help you make decisions within your business, and just give you a greater sense and understanding of who your brand really is. I know that people get hung up about whether or not they’re building it right and obviously, I can’t stand next to you and tell you yes or no. But I will advise you to just stay focused and honest. Keep building to your vision rather than anyone else’s and align your brand with the people you want to attract and what your business goals are. And that’s the best place.
Remember to join >>The BrandMade Community<< email list where you’ll get extra branding tips and advice from yours truly!