Step 1: Brand Discovery and Definition

Profiling the business, framing the strategy

You know what it is you want to sell, now it’s time to see how others are doing it and work out how you can do it better!

Define your target customer…
• What is the area of your business?
• What people do you benefit most?
• Which customers bring you more value?
• Why are you in business? Who is the typical person you have created your business for?

Define your competitors…
• Who else is offering the same product or service as you?
Carry out a thorough competitors study

EXERCISE 1: AS-IS Analysis (what, why, who, how)
This is your first step to creating your very own brand identity.

What makes up your brand? Answering each of these questions will give you the foundations of your definition…

Your company story
• What is your company’s origin story?
• What kind of people founded the company? What kind of people work there?
Why are they special?
• What path have you followed? How did your company get here? (Brand DNA)

Competency & offering
• What is your business’s core strength?
(one of the 4 cornerstones of SWOT analysis)
• What is your current offering?
• At present, what do you think makes your offering special?

Mission & vision
• Why does your company exist? Why are you here?
• What is the main belief of your business/brand?
• What are your aims (goals/objectives)
• What are your aspirations and dreams?
• What is your vision?
• What are you contributions to society and industry?

Market & audience
• Who are your competitors?
• What are their strengths andweaknesses?
• Who is your typical current customer? Your target customer(s)?
• What are the needs and wants of your customers?
• How does your business serve these?
• What are the hidden wants and needs of your customers?
• How does your business serve or aim to serve these?
Reputation
• What is the current image of the company with existing customer base?
• What do you think your image and reputation is?

EXERCISE 2: Interviewing and Profiling

Try to see your brand from customers’ POV

Interview
Types of questions you could ask…
• Do you know this brand/product/business/service? How well?
• Do you know what this brand/product/business/service offers?
• How do you rate the quality of this brand/product/business/service?
• Do you think this brand is a market leader in its field?
• Do you trust this brand?
• Do you like this brand?
• Are you a regular customer?
• Do you feel well treated by this brand?
• Do you have an overall good experience of this brand/product/business/service?
• How does this brand make you feel? Indifferent/loyal/passionate?

Profiling
• Deeply held beliefs and values
• Demographics: Who is your ideal customer (target audience)?

1. Basics: Age, gender, ethnicity, income group, geography then expand:
2. Psychographics: What are your customers’: a) attitudes, b) aspirations, c) worries, d) self-esteem, e) needs, f) wants
3. Customer Behaviours: a) Baseline behaviour: how, where, when do your customers use your product/service? b) What are the triggers? c) How does your product/service offering fit into your customers’ daily routines? d) Is it a spontaneous purchase? Or planned ? e) Do they enjoy the product/service? Or simply conform with the norm?
4. Customer Beliefs Identify their beliefs system, understand what makes them tick. Where does your brand fit in within their belief system?

This information will inform you how to talk about your brand, and how to deliver your offering to them.

EXERCISE 3: SWOT Analysis

Strengths

1.What are the main strengths of your business/brand?
What is the reason for your answer: Support your opinion with some facts or opinions
(e.g. as technical/technological, quality control, patents, capital, accreditation or other recognition…education, experience of your staff.)
These questions aim to un-pick what your brand is successful at. This will help conclude how
your brand differentiates itself from others, is better than others and why people should believe in you.

Weaknesses

2.What are the main weaknesses of your business/brand?
What is the reason for your answer: Support your opinion with some facts or opinions
(e.g. financial problems, poor staff morale, small unprofitable customer base, crowded market, bad suppliers, high prices).
This question aims to unravel what your brand/business needs to improve within its branding and positioning. These findings will become extremely useful when making strategic decisions for the brand re-position such as: What changes need to be made? Why they need to be made? How they should be made?

Opportunities

3.What are the main opportunities to your business/brand?
What is the reason for your answer: Support your opinion with some facts or opinions
(e.g. new technology, new regulations opening up global trade or trends moving customers toward your business.) This question aims to inform about any opportunity to grow, expand, diversify, become more agile in the marketplace, which can alter or determine the brand’s re-positioning.

Threats

4. What are the main threats to your business/brand?
What is the reason for your answer: Support your opinion with some facts or opinions
(e.g. new competitor, losing a supplier or new or changing laws that may negatively impact your business.) This question aims to inform about any challenges and changes, recent or forthcoming, which can alter or determine the brand’s re-positioning. Although threats can also be used strategically to improve and better the brand.
• What problem are you trying to fix?
• Why does that matter now?
• What are you doing about this problem?
• What do you want others to do about this problem?
Questions aimed to discover why the business/brand matters. These questions can also inform what the brand needs to communicate and tell their audience.

EXERCISE 4: Competitor Studies (pick main competitors)

Various items can be compared in competitors studies, and can be customised according to the required strategic research and can cover diverse topics…

• Price ranges
• Quality/performance
• Company turnover
• Market position
• Competitive scope / territory
• Market share
• Customer loyalty
• USP
• Breadth of product portfolio
• Segment group
• New product innovations
• Software compatibility
• Reputation / image
• Strategic intent
• Market share objective
• Competitive situation / position
• Competitive strategy

Tips
Listen well. Be open, genuine, interested, curious, non-judgemental. Be receptive to ANY outcome. Be open to what emerges without being attached to a certain result. Ask open-ended, expansive questions. Do not think you have all the answers already.

Framing the strategy
The initial steps of profiling with great care and framing the strategy are the basis to create a successful brand.
The more thoughtful, inquisitive, genuine you are in your profiling, the more perceptive, accurate, relevant, nuanced, detailed and edgy your brand strategy will be.