I’ve recently created one of a series of articles for The Assembly Hub, a platform for crafters created by crafters. Given the current climate, I hope the tips posted will help others who are either making their hobby full time or who might want some tips on how to craft their Brand strategy. If you’re working through your Brand story and are unsure, then reach out as I’m happy to offer some free advice.
Creating a Brand strategy is critical for your business. It’s the foundations and building blocks that hold everything together.
Before we go on, it’s worth mentioning the difference between Brand and Branding. A Brand is the emotional aspect of your business, simply put, it’s your customers gut instinct about your business. That feeling they get right before they buy from you. Branding is what people see and can help to influence them, like paid advertising or your visual identity (i.e. the logo, the colours, the photography etc.).
This article is about how a Brand is made up of its purpose, its mission, its values, its personality, and where it sits in the market place. Combined, they will give you a strategy and direction to hopefully stand out from the crowd. What a Brand isn’t, is a logo. It’s the overall package ranging from how it acts, behaves and communicates which all make it unique, like a human being.
Customers buy on emotion and are led by their sub-conscious.
A good example is Coca-Cola versus Pepsi. If you blindfold a bunch of people ask them to try both drinks and vote for the winner, Pepsi wins.
Try it again with no blindfold with the Branding visible on each sample, then Coca-Cola wins. It’s because Coca-Cola has invested so much time, resource, Strategy and money in clever advertising and strong copy that relate to our human emotional desires to be entertained.
Now think you your business which I’ll be calling ‘Brand’ throughout. What are your products, and what benefit does it offer to the customer? Or what problem does it solve? What makes you different? How can you stand out from the crowd? Is it your style? The way you do things? The fact your products are organically grown and ethically handpicked?
A simple exercise is to grab a pen, a bit of paper, a coffee and a laptop plus some cake. Now write down a list of your competitors while leaving space beside each for your notes. Then, go online and look at what products or services those competitors offer? What are the customer benefits, then key headline messages and the prices on offer? How does it all sound, i.e. corporate, jargon, fun, relaxed, etc.? What are their values and do they have a story? Finally, what does it all look like? Note down as many comments as you can for each.
Now compare your list with your competitors. Are you different or similar? If you’re too identical, then could you do something unexpected? Remember Global Video or Blockbusters, what changed that industry? Netflix and others. That’s an extreme example which hopefully should paint a picture of how being bold and different can reap many rewards.
Next is to create a visual of your ideal customer. Write down any characteristics of the customer as you can think of, and have fun with it. It can range from simple things like age, sex, what do they watch? Where do they shop? All the way to, what do they do for fun? What type of Brands do they interact with? Even how do they dress and act?
Now find a stock picture of someone that matches that customer description, and now you have a visual reference and description of your ideal customer.
Check if your business idea, solution or services match watch the customer might need? Is it different enough to engage then and stand out from the others? If so amazing, if not then refine it until you are happy.
Now for your Brand purpose. A Brand purpose will never change. It should be aspirational but achievable and as short as possible. Again have fun with it, as it’s your Brand. I’ve created this example, ‘To take humankind beyond the stars to live anywhere‘. Bit Star Trek but let’s roll with it.
Now to create your Brand mission. Think of this as the steps you will take to get to that purpose. Usually, it will be around 5-10 years to achieve this mission. Imagine a new team member joins, this is your rally call to say… “We’re on a mission to do….X, Y and Z”
If my Brand purpose is, ‘To take humankind beyond the stars to live anywhere‘.
My mission might be, ‘by building supersonic rockets, capable of transforming into sustainable living areas which produce oxygen and organic food, ensuring humankind can live anywhere.‘
You never know, I like to dream.
Brand values are what the business fundamentally believes in, they too are part of the foundations and never change. Simple words or phrases can be used. Try to avoid things like ‘we’re authentic, or we’re honest’ as we all should be. Again, have fun with it and consider what values could drive the business going forward. Once you have a shortlist then ask others what they think of them, gauge their gut reaction as your gut is rarely wrong.
I love these Brand values from Method, they had some fun:
- Keep Method Weird
- What would MacGyver do?
- Innovate. Don’t imitate.
- Collaborate. Collaborate. Collaborate.
- Care like Crazy
Finally, is your Brand personality. Imagine your ideal customer (from earlier) walks into a party, and your Brand is there in human form. How do you imagine your Brand would act, talk and behave when introduced to the customer?
If you need inspiration look at other companies again and how they do it. A classic is the Apple employees, what you think their personality is?
Adjectives (& a good thesaurus) can help describe these traits but keep the list to 3-5 words or short phrases. Next, test what you have and judge peoples gut reaction.
If the values and personality test well, and you’re happy, then embody these throughout the business. All the way from director to sales to the delivery driver, no matter the role everyone acts, sounds and behaves aligned to these traits. It breeds consistency internally and externally. A consistent Brand can generate up to 23% more revenue just by being consistent. That’s massive for any business.
That’s a whistle-stop tour of how to craft your own Brand strategy.
You should now have:
- An idea of what makes you different
- How to position yourself to be different
- A visual of your ideal customer
- A purpose that will drive you forward
- A mission to help you and others get there
- And values to live by with a fantastic personality to match
Last but most important of all, have fun with it and be authentic. Don’t replicate others as you’ll know, we’ll know and so will the customers who stay clear of you.
Please share your purpose crafted Brand strategy with me and others so we can join your tribe of followers.