The purpose of our first meeting is to get to know you and to gather the information we need in order to begin intelligently and strategically building your brand. To get you started, here's a list of things we'll be talking about. You may not have all this information at your disposal and that's OK. Take a look and start thinking or jotting down notes about the following areas of your business. Use our MarketProfiler and BrandProfiler documents jump start the process.
This should be needs-focused. The most common mistake people make in defining their market is to focus on what they make or offer, as opposed to the NEED which is met by their product or service. Here's an example, lets say your company makes vertical blinds. You might be tempted to say you are in the vertical blind market. However, your customer has several options when they go to cover their windows: cell shades, curtains, Venetian blinds, etc. Saying you're in the vertical blind market is far too limiting. You are in the window covering market. Now you're looking at your business the way a customer does, based on the need it fills. And you can clearly identify customer needs, and better position yourself against your competition.
Define Target Audience
After identifying your market, try to understand what exactly you bring to that market and why people want what you have to offer. Now, describe the "perfect client." This won't be the only person you attract, but it is the person you most want buying from you. Narrow it down; being too broad is a mistake. That’s because your message loses impact when it's spoken to too wide an audience. The result is that you become lost in the crowd. You may have identified several key markets, be sure there's a real business need before you consider spreading your message.
Define your Core Functionality (Core Benefits)
Simply stated: What do you do? This is the tangible product or service that you sell, in addition to any emotional or status/lifestyle benefits that someone might experience from owning your product or using your service.
Unique Selling Proposition
They key here is to find some place where you are different, and make sure you can OWN it. Make sure nobody else is in that space. This is not your only marketing message, but it is the UNIQUE one. It is purely a marketing tool. Maybe it’s your customer service (though that's hardly unique any more) maybe you give some kind of cash perk, or a satisfaction guarantee. Maybe you use a proprietary technology that's safer on the environment. Anything that's perceived as valuable … and that no one else is doing.
The easiest way to do this is to picture your company as one person. Encapsulate everything your company is "about" into an imaginary person. Then describe that person. Write down what they look like, how they dress, what kind of car do they drive, what is there vocabulary like? How about hobbies? What do they do in their spare time? Where do they eat dinner? Everything you can think of, write it down. We've created a form to help you along in this process.
Think of this step as part 2 of the personality. These are the values that drive the behavior and personality of the company. Does your company (imaginary person) value security, power, truth, intelligence, popularity? Write down as many descriptive words as you can.
Competitive Research (top 5)
You know who they are. You life would be a whole lot easier if these top 5 companies weren't around. If you don't know who they are, find out. What we're looking for here is a brief company description of each – their strengths and weaknesses. Then do the same for yourself, including your strengths and weaknesses as well. Don’t worry, we’ll only talk about your strengths. And we always position you based on your unmatched strengths.
Tips on Branding
- Use a strategic process to develop a name, logo, and image.
- Pick one key message that sets you apart from your competition.
- Consistently use your message at every client touch point.
- Start the process without defining clear business goals.
- Mistake branding with a one-time ad campaign. It's ever evolving.
- Complicate things. Simple is better.