Brand definition is the best place to start when updating your marketing strategy. This section of the refresh series will help you bring things back to basics. I'm going to get you to think about your brand, what you provide to your customers and what your story is.
How to use this content
I recommend you give this page a read through first, thinking about the answer to each question. Once you've made your way through the post, go back to each question and write them down, along with your answers. Keep a track of these as you'll want to review them every 4-6 months. There is no right or wrong answer, just answer what feels right for you at that moment.
The term USP is something we should all be aware of and it stands for unique selling point. This can be defined as "that thing that makes you special to your customers". It's a main factor as to why people spend their money with you over similar brands. You may already know what your USP is but I definitely recommend working through these questions below and taking note as you may find over time your USP has become outdated or you need to change it ever so slightly.
1. How are you different on a local level? If you're selling a product or service locally what makes you different to other businesses in your local area, what is your Unique Selling Point (USP). For example you're a wedding photographer in York, UK. Your difference on a local level is that you're the only person in York who photographs weddings on a vintage film camera.
2. How are you different nationally? If you are a national brand, what makes you different from similar services? Using the example above, you're different nationally as you're only 1 of 20 people in the country who use film photography for weddings vs the 1000's of people who use digital photography.
3. What new category can you be number 1 in? This question is going to help you think even more about how you can be the most memorable brand possible. If you're currently the 5th or 6th most booked film wedding photographer in the country how can you make it to number one? Why not create a new category for yourself where you can always be number 1. This information can then be used in your brand story (more on that next.) Using our previous example you could be number 1 in the category of " UK film wedding photographers who only shoot in black and white."
Remember, no one else in the world is you, so no one will ever have the exact knowledge, experience and skills in life that you have. Find that thing that makes you unique and use it to your advantage!
We're now going to move onto your brand story. This links closely with your USP as it helps you stick in your potential customer's mind. Who are you, why should they spend their money with you over others. Working out what you want to share about your business is important, it helps not only with your website about page but all the way through to your social media bios. It's one of the first things people will learn about you so you want to get it right.
4. What is your brand story? Everyone wants to engage with a brand and by understanding their brand story it'll bring better customer loyalty and increase your marketing via word of mouth. For example you're a artist who creates plant prints for Etsy and run private digital art courses but there's more to you than just this. Your brand story might be that you are a 28 year old female from London who has a thing for plants. You have been painting watercolours since you were 15 but have recently applied these techniques to Procreate app where you create all your digital art. You own over 50 + house plants and you spend at least 30 mins a day looking after them all!
With this example above you already can see both passion and dedication from that person. Dedication that this woman has been painting from a young age and that she spends at least 30mins a day keeping those plants alive. She shows passion for not only plants but also for plant digital artwork. You're already building up a picture about this person that you may or may not relate to.
Having your brand story written down really helps you work towards what you want to share with your audience (I talk more about audiences in the next section of refresh). It's also great information to use for personal profiles on social media. You don't want your brand story to be pages and pages long but you want it long enough for people to get a good idea about who you are and what you love.
5. What do you want to say? Now you have a plan for what your brand story is you can start to plan for what you want to say. This question makes you think about the products or services that you're selling. Using the digital artist example above, the two things you'd want to say are
1. Buy my art, here's my Etsy link
2. Want to learn how to create art like me on ProCreate, let me teach you, here's my website to book a private lesson.
Obviously this isn't the exact wording you would use but having this "to the point" bits of info you want to say to people written down will help you form the copy for your marketing. These two points are also know as "call to actions". They're the types of information you want someone to read and then do something about it. It's important you define your key "call to actions" as you'll want to include these in your marketing.
6. How do you say it? To answer this question you want to think about how you're going to both share your brand story and provide your call to actions. For now I recommend writing down a list of ideas you initially have which you can then refine after working through the audience section of this refresh series.
For our plant loving artist I would recommend she shares her information on the following channels.
Instagram In her bio she could talk about her private digital art tutorials, love of watercolour, digital art and plants. She could link to her website (on her website would include a shop link to her Etsy page and also information about her private tutorials). She would be able to show her artwork via her insta posts which people could then purchase using her website link. Instagram stories would also allow for her to show behind the scenes videos of her 50+ plants and how she makes her artwork via ProCreate. She could also do Instagram lives to show her private tutorial processes. She would use specific hashtags in her posts to reach new customers. Read more about hashtags in my "come to my hashtag party" post.
Pinterest She could include her "what do you want to say" content in her bio. She could then pin images from her Etsy shop to her Pinterest which would allow click throughs back to her Etsy shop. P.S whilst we're talking about Pinterest, you can follow me on Pinterest @laurenmwelland ;)
Facebook This too is the perfect place for having long form copy. She could treat it as a place to blog, share her favourite plant images and also her artwork. She could do Facebook lives when she's creating a piece of artwork to show the behind the scenes.
Etsy This is currently where her online shop is so it's important she included her brand story in her bio and that her story runs smoothly throughout Etsy and her social media platforms.
Website I recommend on her about page to briefly talk about her brand story but also put emphasis on her call to actions.
Newsletter To be personal via her newsletter and give updates on her new artwork and plants she may have bought. She could also give some hints of how to look after plants too. She wants to have plant and art lovers on her mailing list so these extra little tips will help people share her newsletter and therefore reach more potential customers. She could incentivise people to sign up to her mailing list by giving away a free wallpaper of her most popular print for people to use on their mobiles and tablets.
There's lots of channels you can include and the above are just a few. Take a look at similar brands to you and what they're using, where are they getting the most engagement? Sometimes it takes time to test these different channels but I always recommend you start with a few and once you find it easy to manage, open yourself up to new ones. Other channels include digital adverts, outdoor advertising, influencer advertising, print media such as magazines and local newspaper ads and lots lots more.
So, congratulations, you've made it to the end of the first refresh series post! Hopefully you've found this insightful and has got you thinking about your USP and how you're going to talk about your story to others.