BRAND STORY

It’s More Than a Feeling

Whether you’re a small business owner, an Instagram Influencer, running the marketing efforts at a big brand, or want to be any of the above, you know that how you tell your brand story is a major key to success. It has to be meaningful, personal, emotional, authentic and yet simple. But if you’ve never really branded business—or if you’re a big brand in need of a refresh and prepared to pivot—before you can share your brand story, you need to uncover it. That’s where a branding agency (yes, us) can help.

When it comes to brand storytelling, we’re here to define your company’s purpose, its core values, as well as your mission, vision, and brand statement. In excavating your brand story, we focus on a competitive review, defining your target audience, your key differentiators, positioning statement and overall strategic recommendations.

Brand Story

COMPETITIVE REVIEW

If you want to position your product or service against the competition, well, you have to know who your competitors are, what they are doing and how they are doing it. And, to what success are they doing it. Likewise, seeing what others in your category or outside your industry but mirror you in size or the personality or attitude you want to project, can offer tremendous inspiration. Yet, it can be a daunting task.

Our team scrubs the competitive landscape to see what everyone else is doing and, in turn, what you need to do right alongside them and, more importantly, where you need to stand out. A competitive analysis helps you unearth the problem that needs to be solved and how your product or service can solve it. Also, for the established brand, analyzing the marketplace lets you see how your competitors are winning over new consumers and/or retaining them.

With our competitive review you also look at the brand identity of those you are going to share the marketplace with, so when it comes time to designing elements like your logo and overall brand creative, you can see how you stack up.

CASE IN POINT: A competitive analysis for survey-company Forthright, highlighted the challenge of elevating a legitimate brand in a sea of clickbait while still being eye-catching to all people. VIEW PROJECT >


AUDIENCE DEFINITION

Who do you want to buy your service or product? Anyone that breathes, we’re guessing. We get it. But the truth is, you need to narrow it down, because (a) there is a key audience (or audiences) no matter how amazing and wonderful your brand is, (b) you don’t want to waste your marketing dollars with a diluted message that is overgeneralized, disingenuous and disconnected, and (c) if you try to please everyone, you won’t please anyone (cue sad trombone).

In conjunction with the competitive analysis we zero in on your key audience and craft user personas. By understanding the people you want to attract, we can more easily figure out how best to reach them. When we look at who is likely to engage with your website, we learn specific online behavior patterns, their subconscious wants and human needs as well as their values based on gender, race, generation, sexual orientation, personal politics, socio-economic status, and lifestyle. These user personas are pertinent to your website or app design and social media content, whether you’re starting from scratch or iterating, because if you don’t know who your target is—and learn how best practices to communicate to them with authenticity—it’s unlikely they’ll ever discover who you are.

CASE IN POINT: When conducting an audience audit for Save The Bay, we defined seven unique brand personas so we were sure to write and design content for their new website that appealed to each unique audience. VIEW PROJECT >


KEY DIFFERENTIATORS

So you’ve conducted a competitive analysis and defined your target audience(s), and now it’s time to get honest about how you can differentiate yourself from the herd. Your key differentiator is a main driver of your brand strength, your competitive advantage, and the aspect, feature or benefit of your brand that’s going to cut through the clutter of brand sameness and marketing fatigue.

If your stand-out trait(s) are not obvious, we ask the right questions to discover and prioritize your brand’s uniqueness. It could be the method in how your product is made, something special about how your brand came to be, the results your services have produced, the specific people you serve, your company’s culture, the awards you’ve reaped or the endorsements you’ve received. Plenty of brands can claim kudos for “high-quality,” “innovative” or transparent,” but by digging deeper and getting more specific, we can help you break through the babble and stand out with clarity and precision.

CASE IN POINT: For In-House Focus, their key differentiator was the audience they served and we helped communicate their niche to garner a loyal following in a very crowded mature industry. VIEW PROJECT >


POSITIONING STATEMENT

Now we’re taking all the moving parts and putting them together in one big (though brief) statement that covers the who, what, why and aspirational impact of your brand. Unlike your brand’s mission or vision statement, It’s an internal-only tool that lets every employee know your company’s place and purpose, and to remind them that everything they do has to serve that statement. And it’s your brand’s North Star when it comes to your marketing efforts.

The brand positioning statement will reflect your product or service category, your target buyer/user, your product’s key benefit, your differentiating factors and the promise of what your product or service can deliver. Once we lock in the internal statement, we create a consumer-facing version—something with more pep in its step and digestible for your target audience. It’s also then distilled down to that ever-loving elevator pitch.

CASE IN POINT: With a clear position statement, Clara by SkinIQ was able to make their brand messaging meaningful while being breif given the limited space available in mobile app design. VIEW PROJECT >


STRATEGIC RECOMMENDATION

The competitive analysis, user personas, key differentiators and positioning statement are all presented in one document and refined based on your feedback. We can offer our expertise but we never presume to know you better than you know you, so collaboration is crucial.

When all is said and done, we provide a summary of the go-to-market strategy of actionable items for your business, types of deployment, and through which channels best to execute them. It becomes the guiding principle as we head into the brand creative where we conduct naming explorations, logo and design identity, art direction, messaging hierarchy and brand guidelines.

CASE IN POINT: With our strategic recommendation, we designed the brand identity collateral and website for Norsu Haus, who specializes in gift curation for corporate and executive clients. VIEW PROJECT >