A coherent brand can be a powerful asset whether you’re launching a new product line or creating a new playbook for your sales team to leverage during pitch meetings. New companies tend to be hyper-focused on building a credible and distinct brand, but even well-established companies can benefit from revisiting their brand positioning. Here are a few simple exercise you and your team can do to help define your brand.
1. Build Your Brand Pyramid
Ultimately your brand is about your customer. Everything you put out as a company should be designed to make your products or services compelling for your target audience. Creating a brand pyramid is a very helpful exercise because it requires you to first think about your audience and then figure out why they should buy into your brand.
Check out the template below. When you build a brand pyramid, you’re starting from the ground up. First, think about who your specific target audience is and what motivates them. What are their pain points? Why might they need the product or service you offer?
List out your competitors and keep them in mind as you brainstorm your key points of differentiation and points of parity. Considering both the emotional and functional benefits of your product or service, how are you similar to your competitors and what sets you apart?
Next, think about why your target consumer should believe in the emotional and functional benefits you laid out in the previous section. Focus on why they should care about the features that differentiate you from your competitors and how they will benefit from using your product or service. And don’t forget to keep your target audience’s demographics and motivators in mind.
Now it is time to start thinking about your brand. Using all of the sections you’ve filled out so far as inspiration, brainstorm a list of personality attributes, values, and even visual elements that define your brand. You may end up with a lengthy list at first. Edit this down and pick only the most salient keywords or phrases to include in your pyramid. (Hint: You may want to go through some of the other exercises outlined below in order to complete this step).
Creating your brand essence is the final and most difficult step. This should be a short phrase or sentence that encapsulates the distinct attributes that define your brand. Pull from the list of values and personality keywords from the previous section, but try to write something that is concise and to the point. Your brand essence is the most important goal you would like your brand to achieve.
2. Set Your Brand Guard Rails
Most branding exercises are focused on figuring out what your brand is. But knowing what your brand isn’t can be just as helpful. If you have generated a list of adjectives or values to describe your brand, spend some extra time putting together a list of adjectives or values that firmly do not align with your brand. Establishing your brand guard rails can help you figure out the nuances of your brand, like how much you want to express a certain attribute. For example, your brand might be cutting-edge, but not unorthodox.
3. Find Your Brand Personality
Often the strongest brands are the most difficult to describe in words. One fun and helpful exercise to help you determine you brand’s personality is to think about other ways to represent it. If your brand were a monument, what would it be? If your brand was a celebrity, who would it be? If your brand was a painting, what would it be? Once you’ve collected a few different visual references, try writing down why they represent your brand. This exercise might help you get even more specific about your brand values and attributes.