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Branding Mistake

The Number One Branding Mistake – It’s Not About You
By Tom Fulcher

We all know we want to establish a strong brand in the market. There are many tools and professionals that seek to aid us in this process. To build an effective brand positioning statement though, you need to change your perspective. Traditional thinking tells us there are four primary parts to a brand positioning statement: Target Audience, Brand Name, Competitive Set and Unique Selling Proposition. I like to add two more parts: Pain and Reasons to Believe.

They key in developing your brand positioning statement is found in two of those parts: Target Audience and Pain. Specifically, can you define the target audience in terms of demographics (distinctive, measurable facts/aspects), geographics (I know – geography is a part of demographics, but for us small businesses I want to make sure we give it its own focus) and psychographics (attitudes, aspirations and other psychological criteria). Yes, sometimes there is more than one, so focus on your primary audience.

Can you clearly identify your target audience and describe the pain or problem they are experiencing? The Value Proposition Canvas is a helpful tool in this process. When you then go on to describe your solution, make sure it is stated in a way that provides a benefit to your target audience addressing the pain they experience. In other words, your features, bells and whistles are not a benefit (that is why I suggested you include “reasons to believe” as a part of your statement.)

So, to avoid a mistake in your branding stay customer-centric – it’s not about you. Although your brand positioning statement is not meant as ad copy or your tagline, it serves as a foundation for all of your brand communications. Be consistent in your approach across all touch points with your target audience. Ultimately, your job is to influence the perception of your brand among them.

Tom Fulcher is Founder and President of The Idea Gardener LLC. The firm assists businesses in the areas of branding, marketing strategy, business development, planning, organizational leadership and capital formation. Tom regularly provides workshops around the Valley and has lectured at Arizona State University and The Thunderbird School of Global Management.

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