There’s only one company in the entire world like your company—and you want to own that uniqueness as your brand.
But what exactly is a brand? Our favorite definition comes from Brand is a Four Letter Word: Positioning and The Real Art of Marketing by Austin McGhie.
Brand: A brand is present when the value of what a product, service, or personality means to its audience is greater than the value of what it does for that audience.
Take a minute and let that soak in. You can’t “brand” something. It’s not a verb. You can only earn that designation. It’s a prize that’s awarded to you by your customers and the marketplace.
Here’s how you start to earn that coveted title in 7 steps:
- Dig deep
This is all about soul searching so you can understand where your company is at right now. Get real—very—about your strengths and weaknesses, opportunities, past hiccups, and how you’re perceived in the marketplace. At ROI·DNA, we start this process by conducting confidential one-on-one interviews with key stakeholders inside your company—and a handful of your customers.
- Map your future
Talk about where you want to be in a year, two, five years down the road. Lay out your plans, and any bumps you foresee in the road. Be optimistic, but also realistic.
- Study the competition
Which companies out there are nipping at your heels? What are your competitors doing better than you are? The goal at this point isn’t to solve anything, it’s simply to lay out the competitive landscape and understand where you fit within it.
- Dissect your audiences
Many organizations have multiple audiences. (One of our clients had seventeen!) Understanding at the deepest level who you are talking to—what the members of each audience care about—is critical to having conversations that resonate and spur action.
- Define your company’s voice
What makes you unique? What traits, together, create a true representation of the experience a customer has with your product(s) and service(s)? How do you want to sound in the market? The goal is to create an ownable voice that will set you apart, yet seem organic and believable coming from your company. You’ll really need to push here. The results of doing so will be very worth it.
- Position yourself
To successfully attain brand status, you first must nail your positioning. This single, strategic statement speaks to your place in the market and the uniqueness of whatever it is you’re selling. It does not need to sound clever. It does have to be strategically sound, jaw-droppingly powerful, and meaningful to your audiences. It’s the front door that invites customers in so you can show them around.
- Create a roadmap
This is where all the introspection and hard work comes together. A great roadmap is deceptively succinct and easy to digest. It pulls together the above in a way that’s easy for anyone in your organization to understand and, more importantly, use when making decisions for your company. Your roadmap should be your guide when considering products, partnerships, pivots, personnel—and, of course, marketing—decisions.
A rock-solid brand roadmap:
- Captures who you are today
- Articulates who you want to be tomorrow
- Breaks down your completion
- Defines your target audiences
- Presents your positioning statement
Obviously, claiming your brand is a process. We’ve just touched on some of the key milestones we use in our approach with clients to help you learn more about the ROI way.
Have questions? Curious to learn more? Get ahold of us at firstname.lastname@example.org