This brief is intended for business start-ups and for established businesses needing to build a strong brand that stands out and encourages customer loyalty. A brand can be strengthened by clearly identifying the targeted customer segment, conducting market research, creating a memorable, pertinent and catchy business name (logo and tagline), defining who or what your business stands for, understanding your competition and alternatives, and clearly stating your competitive advantage(s). A strong brand also guides all other business strategy to be consistent with the brand identity.
Identify your targeted customer segment(s) (WHO?)
The potential customers of a business decide whether or not to make a purchase; therefore, all aspects of branding should ‘speak’ to the needs and wishes of the targeted customer segment. Customers will consider their needs or problems and decide which available option best meets their needs. Customer loyalty is created by exceeding expectations and communicating positive feelings. Acquiring a new customer is far more difficult and expensive than retaining a satisfied customer.
The market can be segmented in many ways to identify the characteristics of potential customers. This chart shows categories and examples of customer characteristics that can guide a marketing strategy:
|Population||Life Stage||Values||Life Cycle Stage|
Conduct market research (WHO’S NEEDS?)
Market research includes identifying unmet customer needs and wishes and existing competitive solutions and alternatives for these needs. It also includes general market information for the business category, market segmentation, and market trends. A resulting written business analysis will include the company’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as the opportunities and threats found in the overall market (SWOT Analysis). It is helpful to find examples of the brand’s benefits that match opportunities in the marketplace. Finally, the research should define a statement of need or opportunity for the proposed product.
Create a memorable, pertinent and catchy business/brand name (WHAT?)
It’s important to get the brand name right, because it becomes the most known aspect of your brand. A good name should be easy to use, own-able (trademark protectable), like-able, playful, meaningful, descriptive, etc.
Define who or what your business stands for (WHY?)
What is your business or brand’s core benefit, compelling reason to buy, unique selling proposition or value proposition? Is your brand consistent with your core mission and values? Does your brand communicate a unique vision, personality, story, or message? Does the brand’s core benefit meet the needs of the targeted customers?
Identify your brand’s competition or alternatives (UNLIKE WHAT?)
List the other ways the targeted customers can obtain what they need. It’s essential to know choices that are available currently, including competing brands and non-competing alternatives or substitutes.
State your brand’s competitive advantage (BETTER HOW?)
Product positioning is your opportunity to state the ways your customer will benefit by choosing your brand over the competition and/or alternatives. What problems do you intend to solve? What emotions do you want people to associate with your brand? What taglines might represent your business?
Create a positioning statement (PUT IT ALL TOGETHER)
A Positioning statement usually contains some of the following information:
For (target customer segment)
Who (statement of need or opportunity)
The (product name/brand)
Is a (product category)
That (core benefit/ compelling reason to buy/ unique selling proposition)
Unlike (competitive alternative)
Our product (key point of difference)
Examples of positioning statements
"For business people who rent cars. Avis is the company who will provide the best service because the employees own the company."
"For do-it-yourselfers, Home Depot offers the best prices because we are the largest building supply company."
"For people seeking wellness, the Body Shop offers the most natural bath and cosmetic products because we are the most environmentally friendly cosmetics company."
"For short-route-travelers, Southwest Airlines offers the best prices with reasonable and dependable service because we operate point-to-point service and don't charge more for last-minute bookings."
Consider selecting a marketing/branding/PR agency
An agency can create memorable branding based on core benefits, reasons to believe, and a unique selling proposition. The branding can include conveying your story and identity consistently via logos, symbols, typography, colors, voice, sound, packaging, artwork, etc. A brand’s visual identity should remain consistent across all customer touchpoints. Consider local or online agencies for assistance, such as thebrandid.com or theleverageway.com etc.
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