Before You Start Branding, Answer These 3 Questions

We all know that many companies have a hard time getting their branding right. They rebrand again and again, but their message never seems to hit home with customers. It seems helpless.

After working with hundreds of companies in this exact situation, it's clear to me that it isn’t helpless. They’re just making one fatal mistake: 

These companies are focusing on the output of branding before adequately understanding their customers.

Many companies see branding as writing the perfect copy and/or choosing the perfect color scheme. This isn’t always the case. Good branding, however, is the result of really understanding your customers. 

This in itself can be a challenge. There are thousands of ways you can understand your customers, and many companies find the starting point paralyzing.

In my experience helping companies understand their customers, there are three core questions that really get to the root of brand and customer interaction. If you can answer these three questions, you’ll be in a much better place to start your branding process.

1. What does your brand say about your customers?

The first question for brands to answer is what it says about a person that he or she uses this brand. What does it communicate both to the outside world and to the customer him or herself?

This is important because, at its core, this is what a brand is. It’s a statement about the customer, and it’s crucial that, as a business, you know what that statement is.

Answering this question requires you to really get inside your customers’ heads and understand what they want to achieve in their lives, how they measure their success in achieving those goals, what they care most deeply about, and ultimately, how the brand must deliver.

2. What is the singular thing your brand delivers that customers can’t get anywhere else?

The second question to understand is what the singular thing is that a person using this brand gets from it that they can’t get from any other brand.

In other words, what makes your brand singular and indispensable. What you’ll find, as you dig into this question, is that most of the answers aren’t tangible. It’s unlikely that your product has a feature that no competitors can provide. Instead, what commonly comes up are intangible benefits, like the ways the company makes them feel or the story it tells them about themselves.

3. How do you make your customer a hero in the story of his or her own life?

The third question requires an understanding of how your brand makes the customer a hero in his or her own life story.

Everybody wants to be the hero in his or her own story. Brands employ different strategies to achieve this goal, but no matter the strategy, finding an answer to this question can result in loyal customers for life.

With this newfound understanding of who your customers are and how they want to interact with your brand, you’ll be on the path to defining a powerful brand strategy.

What strategies might work best for your customers and market?