Building out a solid brand strategy can help attract your target audience, increase sales and grow your company.
“By using the principles of branding, startups will be able to articulate what they do, their target market, how they will make money, and improve the chances of raising capital.” - Chuck Pettis, President of BrandSolutions, former VP Marketing & Brand Director MakerBot & author of TechnoBrands.
Your objectives are to learn how to use strategic imagery to connect with your customer, build out your brand using a Brand Identity Map, and implement your messaging throughout your marketing communications.WHAT'S IN A BRAND?
A well-developed brand is one that communicates what a company does best, the value to customers, how they are different from competitors, and links brand identity to operations. It’s not a slogan, tagline or mission statement. Keep these thoughts in mind as you’re building out your Brand Identity Map.
Your brand is your proprietary emotional, sensory, rational, and cultural image. It’s your best sales pitch. A well-crafted brand increases the brand’s perceived value.
Write down why your product is different from the competition and why customers will trust your brand.
Creating an emotional connection between the customer and your brand can be game-changing to a company. Using imagery that is compelling, relevant and credible to the target audience can help you increase sales and perceived value, and build trust with your customer.WHAT DO YOU FEEL WHEN YOU PURCHASE PRODUCTS OR SERVICES?
Look around at 10 products/services you own. Ask yourself, what emotional connection do I have to these products? What were the features and benefits you liked about the product?
Now try it with your product/service. What emotions, features and benefits would you like customers to experience with your product? This will help you identify the type of emotional connection you want to have with your customers as well as features and benefits you want to highlight.
Make sure the cofounders are in the room
Make sure there’s a diverse representation in order to gain multiple perspectives
In the end, the team needs to agree on one message
Company leadership must wholeheartedly believe in this message and engrain it into the company culture
EXAMPLE OF A COMPLETED BRAND IDENTITY MAP
COMPONENTS OF A BRAND IDENTITY MAP
The purpose of the Brand Identity Map is to develop a consistent and repeated message that will be used throughout your marketing communication and during any interactions. Think of your Brand Identity Map a “snapshot” of your company.
A brand name is a Trademark and a Trustmark. A brand can alter the perception and reality of how your target audience perceives your brand versus the competition.
Answer the following questions about your brand name:
This is a precise definition of your demographics as well as a description of the market segmentation where you can direct marketing activity.
Describe your target audiences:
This is the “hook” that you want to stick in your customer’s mind. This is a generic descriptive phrase that should be simple, credible and easy to remember. Linking your Brand Name and Descriptors will be key to successful branding strategies.
Write a descriptive phrase in 2-4 words:
Describes what your product/service does and what it provides.
Write down all the features that provide value to your target market during the purchase decision.
What are your top 2 features/purchase factors?
What can the customers expect the product/service to accomplish? Benefits have a tangible (what they get) and emotional factor (how they feel). Make sure to think of both factors when considering all the benefits of your product/service.
Write down the emotional benefits of your product/service to the target audience.
This short phrase is used everywhere in communication mediums and interactions and it’s your MOST REPEATED message. It describes what you do and the benefits to the target audience. This is NOT a tagline, mission statement or slogan.
Example of Positioning Statement:
Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars entrepreneurship program helps students succeed
(Say what you do, your benefit and what makes you better in as few words as possible)
(Your Brand Name) provides:
These are unconscious needs and impulses that evoke primal and instinctual fears and desires. These hot buttons are used to get the attention of the target audience to prompt action.
Examples: Fear they’ll miss out, fears of the unknown, frustration with the current status quo, protecting core needs, defending what’s ours
Write down some Reptilian Hot Buttons to use with your target audience:
These are unconscious needs centering on higher-level emotions. These buttons are used to evoke an emotional response and increase the desire for your product/service. It's important to carefully and strategically select imagery and photography that evoke emotional connections to your product/service.
Examples: Love, happiness, comfort, trust, family, relationships
Write down some Limbic Hot Buttons to use for your target audience:
Answer the following questions based on your brand strategy.
|Is your brand identity unique to the market?||Yes/No|
|Are you focused on the core customer?||Yes/No|
|Does it share the value you bring to customers?||Yes/No|
|Is it easy to remember?||Yes/No|
|Is it easy to say?||Yes/No|
|Can your customers get a clear picture of what you’re offering?||Yes/No|
|Is it consistent in all areas of communication (internal/external)?||Yes/No|
|Can the strength of the brand withstand attacks from competitors?||Yes/No|
TESTING YOUR POSITIONING STATEMENT AND IMAGERY
Once you’ve created a gallery of photos, completed your Brand Identity Map and established a Positioning Statement, it’s time to take your brand to the streets, test it and gain some feedback from potential customers.
Target Audience - Ask 10 potential customers for feedback
Positioning Statement– Say the positioning statement to them and ask them to explain back to you what they understand you do. Do they clearly understand your what the company does and the benefits if your product/service?
Imagery – Show them the photo gallery and ask for their reaction. Do they connect with these images? Write down their thoughts, feelings, and reactions.