Rather, your brand is a consistent promise of what you will deliver. It sets a customer’s expectations. It defines what you will and won’t be delivering time and time again. It is your claim to something unique, something unlike your competitors. And most importantly, it is the culmination of a customer’s experience with you. From your website, to your packaging, from product to social media – it is a consistent drumbeat of what you promise, what you stand for and what you deliver.
To develop your brand in a way that is sustainable, garners attention, creates resonance, and provides differentiation, you must start by building a solid foundation that begins with strategy.
It begins with defining or redefining three strategic elements: position, promise and personality. These three core tenants will tell you and your stakeholders where and how you will compete; the style, voice and character of your brand; and what you will consistently deliver to your customers that provides value.
And though each strategic element may only consist of two or three sentences, when crafted in an authentic, accurate, and honest way, they will be the building blocks of your brand and your connection to your customer. Let’s tackle each ‘P’ one at a time.
After surveying the competitive landscape and choosing who your competition is, you need to choose where you will compete, and win.
When creating a competitive analysis try taking the two primary competitive drivers for the space and create a quadrant graph. Drivers include product attributes (such as efficacy, sustainability, safety) and/or benefits (such as trust, convenience, balance).
Whether you have one graph or multiple depends on how many competitive drivers you want to factor in. By placing all of the players in their appropriate position on each graph, you can readily see where you have the best chance to compete: the open spaces where demand exists and supply does not.
Your positioning concept and statement is then born from the identification of these spaces, and expresses how your product, service or brand fills a customer need in a unique way that your competitors don’t. It defines where you are going to play and how. As such, it acts as a guide for future decisions in business strategy, product development and diversification
Pro tip: fill out the formulaic positioning statement at the very end of this process.
Your personality reflects the voice, tone and character of your brand.
Because your brand is the “personal” connection between your company and your consumer, the personality of your brand needs to balance the culture of your business and the personalities behind your brand with the voice that will resonate best with your target audience and set you apart from your competition.
For example, it’s great if you have an unconventional, rebellious culture of daredevil entrepreneurs, but if your target customer is a conservative soccer mom with a young family, you will need to find a comfortable fit for both sides of that relationship.
Your personality will guide the tone of voice for all marketing efforts, so be sure to understand if you want friendly and approachable, authoritative or humorous. Here’s a great list of brand adjectives and brand archetypes to inspire you.
Pro tip: don’t create multiple personalities for one brand.
Your brand promise, or USP (unique selling proposition), identifies what your brand will deliver to customers through product, benefit and/or experience on a consistent basis.
A strong brand promise should connect with and fulfill customer needs and guide customer expectations.
Pro tip: promises are easy to make and difficult to keep. Make a promise you can keep…and keep…and keep.
But if done right, your brand will endure the test of time, while you sit back and watch the competition come and go.
Want to tackle the ‘P’s together? Can’t handle any more ‘P’ alliterations?