Let’s clarify what the complex brand fuss is all about, shall we?
Brand essence, brand positioning, brand strategy and brand narrative. Don’t forget the core truth, core idea and core values too!
While it’s tempting to become cynical and believe that these nuances were introduced to fleece everyone, the reality is that like all language-centered concepts, words were added to accommodate new complexities. Most people start with the “core,” which is high level and emotional, but doesn’t help when the day-to-day communication breaks down. On the other hand, the nitty gritty “how” is inconsequential when there is no clear “why.”
“Why are we here?”
If you’re going to be a minimalist and answer just one question, choose this one.
This doesn’t diminish the importance of defining your “why” or “core purpose,” so let’s look at 7 simple questions that cut the jargon and establish your brand. (I didn’t say this would be easy – I said it would be simple). We will use TED as an example for each:
1. Why are we here?
This sums up your core purpose, touching at the heart or emotional center of your business, and simplified to a couple of headlines.
TED: Ideas worth spreading. We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world.
2. What do we do and how do we do it?
This is the descriptive nuts and bolts of the process, focused on function.
TED: Ideas worth spreading. We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world. A conference that covers almost all topics – from science to business to global issues – in more than 100 languages. Independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world. On TED.com, we’re building a clearing-house of free knowledge from the world’s most inspired thinkers
3. What makes us different?
This moves you into ‘brand positioning’, distinguishing you in the minds of prospects and customers from what others offer, and to emphasize any unique qualities.
TED is a non-profit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less) that concentrate on using storytelling and speech, not slides.
4. Who are we here for?
A clear definition of your key audience/customers and linked to this are future messages that will resonate with them.
TED: A global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture to seek a deeper understanding of the world. A community of curious souls who engage with ideas and each other, both online and at events around the world, all year long.
5. What do we value most?
The core beliefs and values that the business shares, internally with founders, directors and employees, as well as with centers of influence and customers. This directly links with behaviour.
6. What’s our personality?
How you express yourself to the outside world, your brand’s character, the tone of voice you use and how you communicate.
TED: Inspired Global Storytelling
7. What is our ambition?
This is traditionally known as the ‘mission/vision’ statement and is a long-term aim.
TED: Spread ideas. TED is a global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world.
Look over these questions and get clear on the answer, see if there are discrepencies, and if some of your legacy statements don’t seem to align.
And if you’re stuck, you’re not alone. You can always talk to me and we can work through your brand narrative.