What Most Entrepreneurs Leave Out Of Brand Development Strategy
As an Inbound Writer for Lean Labs, Melissa writes about high-converting websites and customer-centric marketing. She's an avid traveler, with trips to Iceland, Ukraine, and Portugal under her belt. She currently resides in Wilmington, North Carolina with her dog, Morrie.
A lot of entrepreneurs focus on two things: products and sales. While these are both crucial parts of growth, they’re not the entire picture. The brand is an asset itself.
Your brand is your story.
For a customer or prospect to understand your brand, you need to understand it first. There needs to be a clear and consistent narrative outlining the value or uniqueness of your brand, your company, and your team.
Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs fail to prioritize this development. In the long-term, failing to develop a strong brand hinders growth and results in inconsistent brand experiences.
Building a Brand Development Strategy
Developing the right brand development strategy takes time. It’s not an overnight thing. It requires a deep understanding of the purpose of your brand, your customer, and what your unique value proposition (UVP) is. Those three things are the building blocks of an exceptional brand strategy.
In our experience building brand development strategies, entrepreneurs often make the same mistakes during the creation process. So, we compiled the most common oversights with a brief explanation of how you can avoid making these common mistakes.
3 Common Brand Development Strategy Mistakes
1. Forgetting About The Customer’s Problem
Entrepreneurs can spend too much time crafting and polishing their solution or product, but not enough time crafting and polishing their message.
Here’s the problem: when brands focus most on their solution, they always talk too much about themselves and not enough about their customer’s problems. This leads to aggressive messaging, offers that don’t align with the buyer journey, and honestly, make a brand seem inauthentic.
Customers don’t like that, and it will show in your results.
To understand your customer, you need to understand and empathize with their challenges. It helps frame their state of mind, and more accurately develop messaging and offers that resonate with them.
We love our customer's problems, and here’s the shirt to prove it.
Within our brand development strategies, we always include the problems that each of our personas face. As a result, we can meet them at the starting line - becoming a valuable resource when and where they begin to solve their problem. We become experts at their problems, and it sets us up to give better advice and add more value than anyone else.
We do our problem research and analysis using a Value Proposition Map, adapted from the book Value Proposition Design, by Alex Osterwalder.
The Value Proposition Map helps to prevent us from leading with our solution, and redirects our focus to leading to the solution.
2. Leaving Existing Solutions Out
It’s rare that a product or experience is exceptionally unique. Instead of positioning a solution like it’s the only one of its kind (very likely, it’s not), demonstrate the best fit for your solution.
The truth is, not every customer is a great fit for your solution. And, if you force that relationship - sticking a square peg in a round hole - the experience will not live up to your remarkable brand reputation. This is where positioning becomes key: position yourself as the best solution for the right fit, and it carves out your unique space while qualifying the best customers.
Customers have been doing research and evaluating potential solutions, sometimes for a long while. They’re considering a few different companies (it’s never just you). So as tempting as it is to push your product to them, focus on providing specifics of the best fit.
3. Failure To Align With The Customer
Gaps in the marketplace - the reason entrepreneurs start companies. At some point, an entrepreneur identified a problem and decided to create a company to solve it.
Entrepreneurs can use that core problem to create an emotional connection with their audience. By going back to that philosophical problem they initially sought to solve, they can identify their purpose. Brands can use that to articulate their cause, and present intriguing messaging customers will rally behind.
Take Tom’s Shoes, for instance. The company is for-profit, but they have a cause. It’s to provide footwear to impoverished communities. Before starting Tom’s, founder Blake Mycoskie identified a lack of footwear in developing countries and came up with Tom’s as a solution. In exchange for buying a pair of shoes, customers can donate pairs of shoes to a person in need.
All of Tom’s marketing was in alignment with that solution, and customers agreed.
Yes, a lack of footwear is a problem.
Yes, Tom’s is the solution.
Most importantly, yes, that customer helps by purchasing a pair of shoes for themselves.
When you can get a customer to agree that there’s a problem, and that you exist to solve that problem in a way they agree with, you'll stand ahead of the competition.
How many other charitable footwear brands can you identify?
When we work with a new brand, we utilize The Disruptive Brand Script to identify this purpose. We uncover ways for our clients to position themselves as a valuable guide in their space.
We help the client create messaging and offers that set the customer as the hero, and their brand as the facilitator. In the Tom’s Shoes example, the company merely facilitates delivering the shoes to a person in need. The customer is the real hero, by providing those shoes.
Hit Go On A Brand Development Strategy
With the right approach, any brand can grow into a memorable, known entity. Using the templates we’ve suggested, teams can develop a strategy that’s consistent with the challenges and problems of their audience. Teams can spend their time more productively, and kickstart marketing initiatives that will work.
Ready to put together a strategy that will scale? We’re collaborating with brands looking to put together a cohesive, effective long-term strategy. Check out our exclusive Game Plan to see if we’re a fit.