The fact that you have a great product does not mean you necessarily have a good brand. A strong brand requires maintenance and summer is a great time for making sure everything is there in place. Especially when you provide B2B (business to business) services: many matters regarding your customers are postponed till “after the summer”.
That’s why I prepared a series of step by step instructions for you. The following articles will let you check your brand’s condition. This method is called brand skeleton and we use it often with our customers. Today the first part: the brand’s story.
The Brand’s Story
A good brand is a well-told story. And, regardless of what you may think, it’s not about the brand’s origin story. Rather about finding the answers to key questions.
What can you help me with?
Tic-tac freshens your breath. Red Bull gives you energy. Dan Brown’s book is a pleasant summer read (although I was not able to finish Inferno, I found it too derivative). Anyway: brands do not appear out of the void. They fulfill needs.
The problem is that many company owners… forget to mention what needs the brands fulfill. Sure, sometimes the thing is obvious or can be read from context — I enter a shoe store and don’t need to hear “we sell shoes”. But sometimes it’s different…
I’ve stumbled upon a company’s website recently. It’s a local internet, TV and phone provider. The website shows the company’s services, there’s a huge banner saying “UNLIMITED offer is 50% off until the end of the year” but they fail to mention… the city (or cities) they operate in.
How can I tell I need help?
The best brands allow their customers to see for themselves if they need help. Instead of deploying an army of salesmen they allow for… self-testing. There’s a shampoo that prevents losing hair. Do I need it? I don’t know. But the advertisement tells me: count the hair on the hairbrush after you’ve combed. If there’s more than 40, you need our product. Simple, isn’t it?
Your communication should be specific and concrete. It’s the concrete that divides the world into “us” and “them”. Do you read more than three books a year? Then our subscription service is tailored for you. Do you have more than seven employees? Our accounting firm has the right offer for you. Do you have something like this in your story?
Why should I choose you?
A good story for the brand focuses on answering the following question: who are you to claim you are the best for the job? “Who are you?” can be replaced with “What have you done so far?” but the meaning remains the same: prove I can trust you. How?
- You can use research and statistics (none of our customers has ever paid any fees after tax control).
- You can use external authorities (a celebrity football player is using our phone).
- You can use Sinatra’s test (we have done a similar project for some bigger company, if we could make it there, we’d make it anywhere).
The last method you can use is allowing the customer to see for himself.
How can I tell it works?
This leads us to the last question you should find the answer to when constructing your brand’s story. The client wants to believe he’s done all right by investing his or her time and money in you and your product. Good brands show the vision of the future that becomes reality for the customer.
The vision can be concrete (Winterfresh promises a cool feeling in your mouth and just delivers) or fuzzy (Coca-cola sells “joy of living” and it’s a very subjective feeling). Sometimes creating such evidence is easy (buying “eco” food often means looking for a green stamp on the box), sometimes it takes a bit of thinking.
In the next part of the cycle, we will deal with something called “motto”. And it’s not the slogan for your brand.