This four-part series is offered in response to frequent requests from small business and solopreneurs for a step-by-step guide to building a strong brand. If it is a subject of interest to you, please START at the beginning. You won’t get far if you jump in here at Step Seven. But, if you have read Part 1 of this series, and completed the tasks therein, you’re more than halfway done setting up your brand strategy. You’ve been learning how your clients think about your business and you’ve been examining it from their point of view. That changes now.
STEP SEVEN You are now ready to write your mission statement. You can stop living in your client’s head and start writing with your own voice. The mission statement is your declaration of how you intend to fulfill your purpose, which you identified in Step Six. If the purpose statement says you exist to make your customers feel empowered, then the mission statement describes how you intend to make your clients feel empowered. Don’t fall in love with your first draft. Try it on for size and rewrite as necessary.
STEP EIGHT How do your values match up with those of your market? This is a delicate matter but all organizations have values. In small businesses, the company’s values tend to be a direct reflection of owner’s personal values. But the success of the business is dictated by the values of its market. Sea World eliminated their live orca performances because their market gradually came to disapprove of these shows. As their market’s values changed, Sea World had to change with them. Look at your market’s values and determine whether you are in alignment and can evolve with them over time. People, markets, want to support businesses that match up with their own values.
STEP NINE There’s a famous story told of a piano manufacturer that couldn’t describe the difference between his piano and any other brand of piano. They all had the same parts, the same manufacturing processes, the same level of craftsmanship, etc. Any differences in sound were purely subjective. After a long and arduous, comparative study they found the only differentiator they could really point to was the fact they used a heavier Capo d’Astro bar. That’s an internal part that prevents warping over the life of the piano. Because of this, they could show their piano was a superior, long-term investment. They changed their messaging to emphasize the financial aspects of piano-buying and soon there was a six-year waiting list to get one of their pianos. So what is your Capo d’Astro bar? What is your one, unique differentiator? It can be difficult to identify but it is key to your brand positioning. It’s your true competitive advantage. When you sleuth it out, write it down.
STEP BACK Let’s take a moment to review where you’re at. With the benefit of your constituent interviews, your market survey and your internal deliberations, you have accumulated quite a knowledge base:
1 – You know your market and can define it’s constituencies.
2 – You understand your market’s need(s).
3 – You know what you mean to your market, that is, you know your purpose. And, with luck, your purpose is one that fits into one of the five, rapid-growth purpose categories.
4 – You know what you have to do – you know your mission.
5 – You’re comfortable that your values match up with those of your market and that you can evolve with your market over time.
6 – You’ve identified your Capo d’Astro bar – your true competitive advantage.
Think of your brand as the platform from which all your future marketing efforts are launched. The above six points are planks in your brand platform. You need only one more plank – one more step to complete your brand strategy. You need to write your positioning statement. We’ll address that in Part 3 of this series. Be sure you don’t miss it. Subscribe to Brandtalk here.
Best Branding Reads – Week of March 13, 2017
The Story of ‘The Fearless Girl,’ From the Women at McCann Who Made Her
If you wondered how that statue of the little girl just appeared during the International Women’s Day march, here’s the story.
Brands Need A Creative Renaissance
We wholeheartedly concur with the author’s thesis, brands are ready to think big again.
How great brands rebound: Ford’s remarkable turnaround
How Alan Mulally simplified Ford's brand promise and rededicated the whole company to deliver on it.
Defining Your Audio Brand Strategy
Important article. The digital age means most brands are underutilizing audio as a touchpoint.
New Logo for City of Kraków
Very nice modern logo for a very old city, Kraków. Well done.
6 Bad Brand Names in China: Lessons from Intertextuality
Some of these names are just unbelievably bad … and hilarious.
Research: Outbrain Releases The Global State of Content Marketing
Interesting report – One fascinating take-away: mobile is already king in many parts of the world.