When marketers talk about branding, terms get tossed around like veggies in a salad. You hear about the brand framework, promise, mission, values, personality, tone of voice, pillars, elevator pitch, positioning statement or value proposition.
When trying to get your mind around the mumbo jumbo and understand how these terms relate to one another, you might look for an example by searching Google images for “brand framework.” You would see scores of diagrams, no two the same.
At that point, you might be tempted to toss the whole salad into the garbage (or compost). Understandable, but unwise. Here’s why: If you set aside the confusing and overlapping terminology, defining your brand has a clear purpose and tremendous value.
The purpose is to get crystal clear about why you are selling what you sell, and why people should buy it from you. If you aren’t clear about the whys, we guarantee your prospects aren’t either.
Testing your clarity is a two-step process.
First, you must write down your answers to the “why” questions. For this exercise, it can be very helpful to use a brand framework diagram as you would a fill-in-the-blanks worksheet. You can choose one from the Google images search or use the one provided below.
Step two is to request feedback from the leaders in your organization and everyone who has direct contact with customers and prospects. If they all agree with your assessment (highly unlikely), you have a strong foundation upon which to build a powerful brand.
If your internal stakeholders don’t all see the brand the same way, seize the opportunity to identify and resolve the disconnects through meaningful dialogue. Hollister Creative and many other branding firms can help you by facilitating this work.
We call it “work” because it is. But the payoff is huge: The value of a strong and consistent brand can be seen in higher levels of brand recognition, greater competitive advantage, customer loyalty and talent recruitment. From a purely bottom-line perspective, your brand is your only protection against becoming a commodity that competes on price alone.
Ultimately, brands and their attributes live in the minds of customers and prospects. Companies can and should do their best to influence those perceptions. It starts with getting a clear vision yourself, getting buy-in from your team, and getting everyone to talk about the brand in the same way on the phone or in-person, via email or social media, on the website and in print materials.