you on the field: locating your brand within your market
Every good brander knows, you’ve got to know where you stand on the field of your own game. Yet, sometimes brands are created and managed with a out-of-focus, general “idea” of what their position is, but they never really nail it down in a way that means much at all to them, much less in a way that can be communicated to others. Alongside your Mission, Vision, and Values statement should be a Positioning statement, a clear demonstration that you know who you are and you know your strategic differentiators, as every kick*** brand should. Let’s take this thing from the top.
In case you missed the two previous weeks, we just covered essential territory, talking about your audience and the perception of your brand. Skip back to those and come back. We’ll still be here.
This is the top of the business filing system. What industry are you in? Product manufacturing? Tech? Legal or professional services? Retail? Spend some time in this thought space – what are the current trends in your industry? What do you like about what you’re seeing others doing well? Does anything that’s currently in-demand or on-trend speak to you and your skill set or business product? Just start to think in terms of your brand development, and how you can get in on anything cool going on right now and still stay true to yourself and your audience.
what to look for
Graphic design choices
Demographic specific appeal
You can think about this in one of two ways: if you are a location-based service, you might want to think of your corner in terms of location. Conversely, if you consider yourself to be globally viable, you might want to think of you corner as a more specific phylum of your industry. But back to the first – location-based. Imagine how much information you can get about your market by a simple examination of your competitors in your area. For instance, you own a small CPA practice in San Jose, CA. Simply by looking directly at the people vying for Google search positioning in your zip code, you are able to think deeper about how you can take those industry standards and trends that you identified in the first place, and do it better than everybody else. Winning!
what to look for
Specific issues/concerns addressed
Competitor’s portrayal of their clients
Description of services
Look and feel of their site/materials
Social media following and engagement
This is where we start to drill down and think more than ever about you. When we talk about niche, we’re talking about the arena where you’re the only person you personally know pulling off exactly what you’re pulling off. Obviously, there’s a whole micro-industry of people like you, but in your area and circle of influence, you’re everyone’s go-to person for This One Thing. Maybe it’s your diverse educational background coupled with fantastic, Fortune 100 company experience? Maybe it’s your track record as a top-tier product manufacturer? Imagine you’re an indie music producer, in search of a new name for a new genre, one that’s just a couple degrees off from everything else we have a name for. That’s what we’re going for – a different shade, a different sound, a familiar concept.
what to look for
Past successes (preferably public)
Those things everyone always remembers about you
Skill set/company strengths
What you think makes you memorable
Others basically doing the exact same thing
alternate universe where you live as a rainbow unicorn
Now we’re talking about you – full color, a bazillion pixels, blindingly, staggeringly you. What makes you you? What do you want everyone to know about you? Who are you at your core? This concept starts out massive and we whittle it down to something like 5 words. No one has to know those exact words but you, but you, as a brand, need to own your identity in this space. Definitively know your strategic differentiators because you took the time to identify them in the first place. Sometimes, the branding industry can feel as though we’re manipulating rather than influencing. However, by committing to branding authenticity – by capturing a company’s bright, true essence, we’re doing the greatest service to the best brands. We find there’s a lot of people out there doing a lot of stuff really, really well. Sometimes, they just haven’t found the best way of sharing that with people. And that’s what we’re really into making happen.
so, what to look for
Moments when you go “I love this.”
Work aligned with your mission
When you’re most recognizable
When you stick out
Your perceived “element”
Next week, we’re talking strategy – how are you going to knock this whole thing out of the ballpark? How do you move your perception temperature reading from where it is now to where you want it to be in 2 years? How are you going to speak to and retain your audience without compromising your brand identity? How will you differentiate yourself from your competitors and defeat distractions? There’s so much potential there, and a lot of work to be done. So, next week – we’re talking how-to’s for setting yourself apart.