The methodology behind defining a brand
A brand can never be all things to all people. But it should be the right thing for the right people.
For the last 15 years, everything we’ve done is based on this premise. To this end, we have crafted a well-defined methodology to help our clients define and execute their brand journey.
Our approach is to collaborate with you in focusing on the NEXT rather than the NOW. To successfully define the essence of your brand, we need to align your purpose, positioning, promise, principles and personality. This will enable you to take on the competition with something they can’t meet.
- Purpose: Your why, your reason for existing
- Positioning: Where do you stand, the space you want to occupy in the market
- Promise: What your customer gets when they buy from you instead of from your competitors
- Principles: What your business is devoted to and encourages
- Personality: If your brand was a person, what kind of person would it be?
This process shouldn’t be rushed, nor overthought. The process should start from the inside out, to ultimately create something that your customers will want to buy into. Believe in. And experience.
Let’s take a deeper look.
“People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.”
– Simon Sinek
We start by defining your company’s “why”— why your business exists and what motivates it — rather than the what or the how. When we know the why, all other brand characteristics will flow from this.
Your company’s motivation doesn’t need to be altruistic or to change the world. It just needs to be more than your products or services. It’s the core of who you are as a business.
We use the Sinek ‘Golden Circle’ as a guide to our process.
To put it all in perspective, here is an example of how our agency defines its own “why.”
Why: To propel businesses forward and empower them to transform into leading brands.
How: By combining the creativity of a marketing agency with the strategic expertise of a consulting firm.
What: B2B branding and marketing consulting services
What makes your brand stand out?
A well-executed brand positioning defines the space you want to occupy in the market and how you can distinguish yourself from your competitors. It’s all about perception and how you can take control of the narrative.
It has less to do with characteristics and features of your brand, but rather about your customers’ motivation for buying your products or services. It’s an intimate process involving the benefits they get in choosing you.
Unlike your purpose, positioning is all about the end user.
To nail your brand positioning, you need to:
- Complete a competitive analysis
- Conduct a SWOT analysis
- Complete a value proposition analysis
- Highlight market potential gaps and opportunities
- Highlight your brand’s differentiation points
Besides inspiring your brand’s moral code, brand principles have the power to create emotional connections. It’s what unites brands and their customers. It’s what builds a sacred bond based on shared beliefs. When we’re talking about what kind of brand you want to be, this is what we refer to.
They don’t have to be unique; but they do need to be real.
The best way to define your brand principles is to ask yourself:
- What are the things that both our customers and our company hold sacred?
- What do we as a brand stand for?
- What will we as a brand never endorse?
- How should we as a brand conduct ourself?
At eau3, here are the brand principles we stand for:
If my company were a person, what kind of person would it be?
Our personalities are what make us likable or not, and brands also have personalities. People buy from brands they like. It’s just that simple. Likability is at the core of all our preferences, decision-making and loyalty.
And it’s as true for B2B brands as it is for consumer-facing brands. Whether they realize it or not, customers in both sectors are looking for brands that speak to them. That they can relate to.
So, what is brand personality and how is it different from brand principles?
A brand’s personality is the way you would describe it if your brand were a person. It can be expressed through adjectives and via demographics like gender, age, and social class.
- If Harley Davidson were a person, it would be a man. Victoria’s Secret, a woman.
- Apple would be young, hip, and creative, and Microsoft would be a mature professional.
- Chanel would live in a mansion and Columbia would live in a ski lodge.
Brand personality humanizes your brand, gives it depth and nuance. It’s communicated through tone of voice, colours and imagery. It’s such an important component of your brand essence because every customer experiences personality in each interaction they have with the brand.
Unlike brand principles, which are an introspective view of your brand, personality is all about perception and how you want your brand to shine outward.