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Brand: Know your strategy

By Paul Wilson

There are two reoccurring themes that experts advise when it comes to developing a brand – don’t be afraid to be different and be authentic. 

“People are sometimes too scared to look different and be noticed,” says Martin Purcell, Chief Marketing Officer for Perth-based marketing, branding and technology provider, Roobix.  

“Many businesses plod along and do similar things but there are more competitors, more visual noise, more emails selling to us every day. So you need to stand out.” 

Many branding developers also consistently refer to the need for brands to be rooted in authenticity.  

Chief among them is Perth-based creative guru Mike Edmonds. The message of his book, Truth. Growth. Repeat, is clear: consumers are looking for authentic motives so avoid creating an inauthentic image.  

Edmonds suggests nurturing an image that reflects the core reason why your business was created and what it offers to its consumers.  

“Once you embrace that true purpose, you attract people to it and you grow more authentically. It’s a virtual circle that keeps feeding on itself,” Edmonds says. 

Business strategy 

If your business strategy has well-defined goals, the brand will help you achieve them.  

Apart from defining goals, the business strategy should also define the purpose of your business, your target audience, your core strengths, your competitive strategy, pricing strategy and business values.  

All of these elements are key considerations in the development of your brand. 

Research your competition 

A brand should ultimately help convince potential customers to buy from you rather than your competitors. To do that, your brand needs to be not only different but also one that the consumer can be familiar and confident with.  

To help identify what difference your brand can offer consumers, you first need to research what your competitors’ brands are offering their customers. Your research should revolve around identifying how you can make your brand better than the rest.  

You can do this by researching what your competitors do well and where they fail. You can quickly ascertain the brand positioning and messaging of competitors through online research, explains Purcell. 

“You can gain a lot by looking online – their online presence, their online traffic and what’s happening to them across the media online,” he says. “Importantly, you can find out how they rank and perform on Google.” 

Research your target audience 

Don’t expect the world to buy your product or service. Narrow down your target audience to those most likely to buy your product/service. This will enable you to develop messages that are clearly targeted at the right people. 

If you’re going to develop a brand that current and prospective customers can relate to, you need to understand their behaviours, needs, and motivations. It’s also important to research what people think of your product and service. This can be done through observation of people using your product.  

If you have different audience types, you can build a detailed understanding of each through the development of personas. A persona is a fictional character used to create a realistic representation of a typical person who would buy your product or service.  

Here’s an example of a persona from marketing software company Hubspot. Personas are developed through quantitative and qualitative research, such as focus groups and individual interviews. 

“You can do some good, simple information gathering to get people’s thoughts,” says Purcell. 

“You can get insights from your current client database by actually calling and/or mailing them. You can do surveys through online surveys and undertake focus groups.” 

Define brand mission 

Not to be confused with brand positioning, the brand mission is a statement for the brand about what it hopes to achieve.  

It’s not so much a measurable goal as a motto that provides staff with a mindset that guides, motivates and unifies them with a common purpose. Examples of brand missions include: 

  • Life is Good: To spread the power of optimism. 
  • IKEA: To create a better everyday life for the many people. 
  • Tesla: To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. 
  • Facebook: To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. 
  • TED: Spread ideas. 

Create brand positioning 

A brand positioning statement communicates your brand’s unique value to your customers that sets you apart from your main competitors.  

Not to be confused with a tagline (see below), a brand position statement is, again, only for internal use. It helps guide your business to make decisions that impact your target audience’s perception of your brand. 

The brand position is formulated from your customer’s perception of your business.  

The Cult Branding Company offers a simplified positioning statement template:  

For [target customers], [company name] is the [market definition] that delivers [brand promise] because only [company name] is [reason to believe]. 

An example of a positioning statement is provided by when it used to mostly sell books in 2001: 

For World Wide Web users who enjoy books, is a retail bookseller that provides instant access to over 1.1 million books. Unlike traditional book retailers, provides a combination of extraordinary convenience, low prices, and comprehensive selection. 

There are two reoccurring themes that experts advise when it comes to developing a brand – don’t be afraid to be different and be authentic. 

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