6 All-Important Questions Your Brand Must Answer

The opportunity to develop a brand doesn’t come around very often. For most businesses, this is an exercise so seldom undertaken that it can be difficult to know where to start (or, indeed, end).

And, yet, this really isn’t something you can afford to mess up. A brand, by its nature, is a long-term asset. And if your brand is off from the outset, there’s simply no easy way to backtrack.

But, fear not. Help is at hand.

For those looking to get their brand in order, here are six key questions you’ll need to answer.

If you already have a product built, this is usually a very good place to start. The answer to this question needs to be as clear and functional as possible. There’s plenty of scope for fluff coming up.

In answering this question, write 1–2 paragraphs that capture the following:

  • The make-up of product and/or service
  • The channels used to market
  • How the product is priced

A straightforward rundown here of your target audience. You’re trying to build out a portrait of your customer (or customers, if there are multiple segments), creating as vivid a picture of them as possible.

Questions to ask of your audience:

  • What is their average demographic make-up (age, sex, income level, location, employment, level of education, homeownership)?
  • What does a normal day for them look like?
  • What are their aspirations and what are their fears?

What you’re searching for here is a core belief or value that is shared by the team. Something everyone can agree upon and rally around. It’s very important that you arrive at something authentic here. It should be a value that the team can naturally embody and articulate.

Some prompts:

  • What is the core belief that led to the inception of the product or company?
  • What is a universal truth that is shared by the team?
  • What gets your team out of bed in the morning?

These are some guiding principles for how your brand should express itself to the outside world. It’s the character and tone of voice you use to communicate with your consumers.

When considering this question, try to think in terms of human traits. If your brand were a person out in the real world, how would you summarise its key characteristics?

You want to land on around 3–4 personality traits (stated in a single word — i.e. honest; simple; energetic) along with some written examples of how they might work in practice.

When it comes to brand development, this really is the name of the game. In order to differentiate your brand from competitors, it’s crucial to identify what properties makes your product or service unique.

These could very well be functional aspects of your product. But, for deeper resonance, you’re usually better off zoning in on the emotional need states that your product is satisfying for a customer. What are your customer’s deep lying motivations for doing business with you and how can you speak to that in a way that no other brand is already?

For thought starters on customer motivations, here’s Maslow’s famous hierarchy.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Why are we here?

La pièce de résistance. All questions above lead to this — a short but potent articulation of your brand.

It’s the statement or line which conveys the essence of your brand and what it stands for. It’s how you wish for your brand to be perceived by the key audiences it serves.

Some real-world examples:

  • Coco-Cola brings joy. It’s happiness in a bottle.
  • FedEx: The world on time.
  • Amazon: To be Earth’s most customer-centric company.

So, there they are. Six questions you’ll need to answer to give your brand a cohesive narrative.

Think of each of these as levers that your brand can pull — depending on the context of the communication — when it needs to express itself.

Wishing you and your new brand a very happy life together.

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Branding for the better | Published in “The Startup” & “Better Marketing”

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