Alright, you’ve got an amazing product that you’ve developed and honed to perfection. You’ve put a sales team in place and they are gaining placement for your product. But now you have this pesky marketing agency telling you that your company needs to have a brand identity. WHAT?
In our business to business (B2B) world, we often work with manufacturers who don’t look at themselves as a brand. There’s a thought process that they are “just a business” or “just a manufacturer” not a brand. But as the industry evolves, more of these companies are considering selling direct to the consumer (D2C). Or, even if they are selling B2B, they forget that they are still selling to a human being who works for a business (see our previous blog Businesses Don’t Make Purchases. Humans Do).
So, how do you establish a clear brand and message?
We have a process we go through with our clients when creating a new brand, refreshing an existing brand, or designing new go-to-market messaging. That process looks like this:
- Review of the competitive landscape, current state of brand (if there is one), and identifying a gap in the market (in terms of product line, pricing, branding, how they go to market (eCommerce, D2C, B2B, etc.)
- Then we define the Target Audience (demographics, values, pain points, goals, what brands they like, what they do in their free time, etc.) and define the Persona – this is key as everything we do after this is focused on selling to this person.
- Then we walk through their Brand Pillars: Vision, Values and Mission. Sometimes these will be established and may not be changed, sometimes they will need tweaking. Often they are not established or are out of date and need updating and modernizing to meet the needs of the Persona we’ve identified.
- At this point, we define a Value Proposition.
- Once all of these things are in place – then we start thinking about the Visual Language and simultaneously Tone of Voice, or how the brand should sound.
Usually the first three steps are the hardest. It requires an open mind and preparedness to address the current and future needs of your business. When you work with the right team who had done their due diligence, put in the research and really defined the Target Audience and the Brand Pillars (and the client is bought in), then, the branding should fall into place.
I’m not saying it’s easy or cheap – branding is an investment. When done right, branding creates a compass for the entire company – from dictating behavior, to guiding decisions, to informing product roadmaps or service delivery.
Shoot us a message for more information on how branding can help your business.