I want to stress this really really strongly: do your brand strategy work before jumping into developing a website or finding a graphic designer. In summary, the process looks like this:
links for thought
Sharing resources with the creative community.
At this time we will look at the specifics of Phase I - the Messaging Framework.
Whenever I work with a new client I spent about 4 sessions working in this first section. We dive deep into the business, the brand and what you are about.
This is where the strategic thinking happens. Where we look at the big picture, where does your business fit into the landscape? How do you identify what is different and appealing about you and your brand? What are your offerings and what type of needs (desires or anxieties) are you satisfying through your product or service?
Because I cannot take you on one shot through the entire Brand Strategy, we are going to focus on the first two points: Brand Statement and Brand Positioning. There are exercises and examples included here, so give it a try!
First things first. Let’s look at your Brand Statement. This is your elevator pitch. For a lot of us it can be hard to describe clearly and succinctly (and also excitingly) what we do.
Can you tell me in one paragraph what your business or your brand is about? Try it. If you can and you are happy with it, great, you are good with this first step.
The Brand Statement has be concise and to the point and it needs to define what you do, what you offer to your clients as a result and how you work. It also has to allow for conversation, so that you can build on those other points that are relevant and that will help you position yourself in the mind of those who need you.
Take this really good exercise and spend some time drafting your answers:
A year from now you hear someone talking about you:
What would you want them to say about what you do?
What would you want them to say about the results you produce? what do they have after working with you? results, outcome, impact of your work
What would you want them to say about the way you do your work? qualities, characteristics, way of being,
Give yourself 20-30 minutes and write a good first draft but know that as we work together and discover your strengths as a brand and the attributes you bring, this statement will organically evolve.
I have worked with many clients and it is so satisfying to help them get to that point. As a example to help you along, here is what I came up for myself:
Exercise: Alessandra Brescia - Brand Strategist
What would you want them to say about what you DO? Alessandra is an expert in brand strategy and understands the importance of building a solid brand for every business that wants to be relevant and successful in the long term.
What would you want them to say about the results you produce? (what they HAVE after working with you): Alessandra helped me define my brand and helped me analyze my industry, clients and competition to identify what is unique about me. It resulted in a clear brand statement with defined guidelines for my brand elements: logo, color, web presence.
What would you want them to say about the way you do your work (qualities, characteristics, way of BEING)? Alessandra methodic approach to brand strategy, her creativity and her knowledge and experience in brand direction made me feel I was in great hands. She’s smart, approachable and loves working with a variety of businesses.
As a result my brand Statement looks like this:
“ As a brand strategist I specialize in guiding creative entrepreneurs and small business in the development of the foundational elements of their brands in order for them to be able to position themselves strongly in the market and to effectively communicate with their audience. “
Brand Positioning is that which defines you, your business, your brand. It needs to be is specific enough to differentiate you from the rest.
A brand positioning statement says where your brand should be positioned in the marketplace. Simply put, it says what you do, who you serve and how your company (uniquely) does this.
It may include any or many of the following:
Specialized background, education, training or experience you have.
Proprietary process you have created to work with clients.
Talents or skills that set you apart.
Business, industry, area or niche on which you have expertise.
New way of addressing a problem or something you offer/have that is hard to replicate.
To arrive at this you need to identify your desired attributes : What attributes are most critical for your audience. What do you need to have / offer to be interesting, relevant to your audience? List the most important attributes, rank them in order of importance and make sure that you identify any qualitative or quantitative actions that support these key attributes.
I want you to list them all and go back and forth with all that you think is important for your audience. I am only showing three here as an example, but the list was much longer. Try to concentrate on those key attributes where you, or your product or service stands out and that is at the same time relevant for your clients. If you are lacking in a key area, identify how you can overcome those deficiencies. Do you need to restructure your offering? redesign part of your product?
After doing this work, it’s time to articulate your Unique Brand Proposition. You’ll want to arrive to a description of your business that centers on:
What is it that you provide that your clients may never have thought or articulated but when they hear it, they immediately react positively.
What do you do that is difficult to imitate?
“As a brand strategist, I offer a methodical approach to brand development for creatives and small businesses. Guiding them through the process of defining the strategic elements of their brand and mapping out the activities that will support their brand strategy including: brand visual elements (logotype, typography, colours, online presence, social media), verbal (content development, and behavioural (interactions with clients. approach, personality, marketing guidelines).”
As you can see, we are tackling these two first elements of your brand strategy: your brand statement and your brand positioning.
Because otherwise this post would be way to long I am splitting it in 3 parts. Keep and eye out on your inbox, next week you will receive the post focusing on how to identify Brand Personality and how to write your Brand Story. The following week we will work on both the Brand Services (what you offer) and your Brand Landscape (what does your business landscape looks like, Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats)
Give it a try and let me know how you are doing! I’d love to hear from you and your efforts. I guarantee that you will be feel more focused about your brand and your business and that you will be able to prioritize more easily your activities.
Thank you for reading along!