Creating a Brand Strategy and Positioning
Your brand strategy sets a clear path in a complex market. Many markets are defined by multiple competitors offering similar products or services, and talking about their company’s benefits by using essentially the same language as everyone else. This lack of differentiation results from not having a brand strategy that clearly defines who you are and what makes you unique and different. The brand strategy determines the proper values of your brand and sets the course for what your brand looks like and how to tell your story on your website and in all communications with customers and the market.
Reject “Commodity Thinking”
Don’t give in to the temptation to be just like everyone else, act like everyone else, and talk like everyone else. Reject the notion of a commodity. Nothing is a commodity unless you give in to commodity thinking.
Is coffee a commodity? Coffee is traded on the commodities exchange, but Starbucks rejected commodity thinking. Instead of selling coffee as a commodity for $1.50, Starbucks sells it for three times more by creating an entire experience around the cup of coffee. They conducted tons of customer research about every aspect of drinking coffee and built their brand strategy around the entire experience. With Starbucks, it’s not just about the coffee. It’s about a moment of escape and self-appreciation in a hectic world where you can feel overcome daily rigors. It’s about the aroma, the myriad choices, flavors, styles, and names. It’s about slowing down and stepping into a sanctuary away from the busy world outside. You call a brief time-out, treat yourself to your choice of coffee drinks, sit in a comfortable chair, and recharge your batteries before venturing back into the outside world.
Embrace “Brand Thinking” to Build a Brand Strategy
Embrace brand thinking and build a clear brand strategy and your company can begin to stand apart from the rest. One way to start is to ask yourself these core brand strategy questions?
- Intention: What do we exist to do?
- Benefit: Why does it matter?
- Values: What will our brand stand for over time and what is our operating principle?
- Personality: What face do we want to show the world? What personality, tone, and manner do we want to communicate?
Once you know the answers to these defining questions you can create a unique positioning versus your competition. Establish your unique value proposition. Define how your value proposition it is relevant to the customers in the market you serve. Use any unique insights that show you understand the customer better than others. Show how important parts of what you do are different than what other companies offer. Make sure this positioning is clearly defined and comes to life in all that you do.
Starting a Brand Conversation
A brand is the beginning of a conversation between you and your customer. The conversation we have and the words we use greatly influence how people perceive our brand and how they think of us relative to the competition.
Just like Starbucks did it, every company can create a unique and value added experience by developing a clear brand strategy and executing against it. Identify what makes you unique and different. Conduct the necessary customer and market research. Then, create an engaging brand identity and support that with a clear verbal identity and messaging. And, make sure the brand strategy extends into every customer touchpoint. For Starbucks this included store design, furniture, cup design, menu options, how you are greeted and served, what the staff wears, and every other aspect of the experience.
Let us know how we help you start your brand conversation and build a brand strategy.