Running a Brand Audit in Three Steps

Is your startup on brand or off the mark?

March 19, 2020

Before we jump into details, we gotta get one thing straight:

A brand is the gut-feeling has toward a business. By definition, being "on brand" would mean that the feeling you want people to have is being felt by your target consumer. Being off brand would mean they feel the opposite or something unrelated. For example, if I want people to feel "rebellious," then similar feelings like edgy, badass, and cool are right up my alley. What I'm looking to avoid is the opposite; safe, quaint, pretty, timid, etc. With me so far? Cool, here are the three steps:

Define your brand
This is done through a brand discovery workshop, it's borderline therapy for business owners. Founders sit in a room with an objective third-party and tell everything they can about their business. Their customers, their dreams and goals, the culture they desire, all of it is put on the table. In doing so, nuggets of information can be pulled that show what someone should feel about the business. The goal is to create a definition of the brand that can be used as a yardstick.

Review all marketing collateral
Social posts, brochures, swag, websites, the name, logo, identity systems, business cards, email templates, everything that comes into contact with a customer is put up for review. It goes without saying that if you're jumping into a rebrand, you are probably not happy with all of these assets anyway, but you need to clarify why that's the case. If you don't you open the door to repeat the same mistakes in recreating them.

Make a game plan
Using the items in the review, make a plan of action prioritizing the elements that would have the greatest impact on the brand. Then, get to work updating them and getting them on brand.

More you say?

Sloth Shit

Time spent does not equate to value produced.

6.8.2020

After 23 trials and test results, the Sloth Sanctuary concluded that sloths take an average of 16 days to fully digest food and rid itself of food waste. 16 full days is the same as 384 hours, 9.6 work weeks, or two working months to produce shit.

I'm currently reading The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. He talks about one of his first ventures and that they had spent six months working on a product that no one liked. No one knew how to use it, what good it did, or why they should buy it. Without mincing words: it was shit. It earned no money and it didn't help anyone.

What's the point?

It doesn't matter how long something took to make and how much effort you've put into it, if it's not useful to anyone, it's shit.

The remedy? Make something useful for someone and find out early whether or not it has value.

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Alternatives > Competitors

An excerpt from Obviously Awesome.

5.25.2020

This is the first in a small series of punches surrounding April Dunford's Obviously Awesome! and how good positioning relates to good branding. Enjoy!

Positioning is where your company falls in the mind of consumers. Specifically, why your company should matter to them. In here book, Obviously Awesome! April Dunford breaks down effective positioning into 5 steps with an occasional 6th. First things first, examine what's already out there and what people might do, or currently be doing instead of using your product/services.

Note, it's not about being "better" necessarily, but more about assessing why these alternatives to your solution are being used.

In branding, this step in crucial in assessing the emotional alternatives to your company.

What is it about brand x that makes it so special? What do I feel differently about them versus brand y?

Attacking this from the angle of "how are they different?" instead of "how are they better?" is crucial to understanding their positioning and where there is space for your brand to be positioning without being labeled a copycat.

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