As part of the marketing strategy, the process of creating and implementing the new brand, or branding strategy, is perhaps one of the most important steps for any start-up. The brand will represent your company to the world (your future clients, consumers, providers, shareholders, distributors, and employees are just some examples).
Here are 15 questions to get you started before you start designing your entire branding strategy:
- What is the purpose of your brand in today’s society?
Try to define a clear brand purpose for your new start-up. Why did you start this business in the first place except for selling a product or service? Will this purpose be welcomed by your consumers? What does your start-up stand for? What part of today’s society can the start-up improve? Try to search for something bigger than functional solutions. The purpose should be meaningful, emotional and bring people together. Click here to find more information about brand purposes and examples from global brands.
- What are your capabilities?
What are the strengths of your business? Is it a technical experience? A very qualified work force? A perfect customer service? A totally new and innovative product? Or a very solid industry knowledge? These are just a few examples, but they will make you realize what will seduce your future stakeholders. List them all and make sure your future brand promise will be backed up by these assets and skills.
- Who are you specifically looking to reach with your purpose and products?
Think of your future consumers. Who are they? What do they like? How do they behave? Why do they need your product? On the other side – who will you not do business with? Be specific and choose your niche. Your brand will need to attract and reach these future consumers in both a functional and emotional way.
- What industry are you in?
Open the industry as much as you can. You can be selling biscuits and be in both the snacking and breakfast industries. A clothing brand can be in the clothing industry, but also be part of the rock & roll world depending on the style of the brand. Another example are Moleskine notebooks which have always claimed to be part of the “creative” industry (not just the notebook industry). This is why the brand recently opened a café for the creatives, to extend its presence in this industry.
- Do you have a clear offer?
And can you see how that offer can extend and transform over time? Make sure you understand what you are selling and how it can evolve over time. Anticipate future trends and possible product extensions or evolutions.
- Who are you competing with?
Who else is trying to target these consumers? What do they sell, what are their strengths and weaknesses? List all possible competitors and analyze their behavior on the market. It’s important to think bigger than the product category. For example, cereal brands are competing with both other products from the cereal category, but also other breakfast products such as fruits, yoghurts, pancakes or bacon.
- What makes you different?
What is the extra value you will be bringing to the industry in order to attract your future consumers? What territory can you enter in order to be different from your competitors but still be relevant to your consumers? Here it is important to define what problem you are solving for your future customers.
- What is your brand personality?
Think of your future brand as a person. Is your brand going to be friendly? Glamorous? Sophisticated? Classic? Modern? Trendy? Ethical? Sporty? Is it going to speak in an approachable way? Or is it going to be more serious/humorous/professional?
- Does your brand have distinctive values?
List your values. How do these values make your brand more competitive?
- What don’t you want your brand to be?
It is important to understand what you don’t want your brand to be or to become. This will help you be different and stay true to your brand objectives and values. For example, every brand wants to be considered as professional, efficient and offer quality products. But not everyone wants to be perceived as classy and elegant, sporty and daring, or funny and childish. Try to avoid being like your competitors. If you are football shoes and your main competitor’s brand is mainly perceived as being bold and daring, try not to enter this territory.
- How do you want your brand to look like?
Think of the visual identity of your future brand. It should be aligned with your brand personality. Think of the look and feel you want your brand to have. You don’t need to define everything at this stage. The best will be to work on the visual identity part with professional designers and branding agencies.
- What is your brand promise and how are you going to make it happen?
Create your brand promise according to your capabilities. If you promise your products are handmade and eco-friendly, make sure this will always be the case. Breaking a promise can be one of the worst things that can happen to your brand. It can destroy its entire reputation.
- What is your brand’s story?
Stories are important. If your brand’s story doesn’t feel authentic, neither will its products or services. Consider how you answered to the previous questions and start understanding the story behind your new brand. This will help you create very valuable and unique content for future communications.
- How will you get the market’s attention?
How will you continue to be interesting? Think of where do you want to communicate your brand. In what media should you appear, how are you going to promote your brand and products through these channels?
- How are you going to measure your brand’s success?
Define your goals and assign some ways to measure the success of these goals in the future. Perhaps your objective is to create a very ethical brand that sells natural and vegan products. You will then measure your success upon the delivery of this brand promise, if consumers perceive the ethic behind your brand by doing some social listening, and how many of your products are sold. It is not always easy to measure the efficiency of a marketing and branding strategy. But keeping in mind your objectives and some ways to measure your results will definitely help you stay true to your day-to-day branding strategy.
Do you know more questions every entrepreneur or brand strategist should think of when creating a new brand? We would love read your thoughts in the comments below!