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To be able to express the offer in a single-minded way that can be universally applied is a challenge. But it’s a challenge worth pursuing because having a point means a brand has more chance of sticking in the minds of customers and more chance of providing clear direction to the team charged with making the brand a success. It stands to reason that a company that is aligned behind a shared point will have a better chance of success than one that isn’t. And a good brand strategy can help a new brand define its point.
Step 1. Ambition - state where are you headed
Define the destination of your business because if a brand strategy is going to support and equip you to meet your ambition, it needs to know where you are going. If your ambition for example, is to be the best known brand in the world, you will not develop your organisation in the same way as you would if you were creating a niche brand that serves a small number of customers. The brand strategy needs to know!
Step 2. Positioning - capture what lies at the heart of your business
How is the brand positioned in the minds of the people charged with creating and delivering it - your team. The positioning succinctly defines for the team the core nature of the brand – the common theme all the products and services share. It is in fact the most important part of a brand strategy because
it is the root from which everything else grows.
Step 3. Proposition - express that positioning to your audience
This is the start of the narrative of the brand, the first few words in the story that makes your business relevant to customers and different from your competitors. Often used as a tagline it tees up what to expect from the brand. It will help the salesperson introduce the products, the new starter to get an immediate sense of the organisation, the customer to know what kind of a company it is.
Step 4. Values - define the character that defines your brand
Just as you can sum up the character of a person, you should be able to sum up the character of your brand. The values need to be identified, embodied and embedded in the brand. This will mean a customer can access any part of the business and have a consistent experience - one that demonstrates one or a number of its values.
By going through these four steps you will be well on your way to defining the point of your brand, which will mean when you sit down with the packaging designer, or the web builder or the PR agency you will have a crystal clear idea about what to focus your precious resources on. In effect, these steps will deliver a consistent definition of your brand stands for your team, your customers and your suppliers.
Bruce M McKinnon is a brand consultant and author of What’s Your Point? a book that introduces the Brand Arrow, an easy to follow process that will equip every reader to write their own brand strategy. Each Brand Arrow contains the vision, proposition, values, key messages and customer profiles that will ensure a new brand’s logo, packaging, website and sales pitches find their target.