Those of us that are serious about succeeding in business understand the need for a comprehensive business plan. Franchisors spend an immense amount of time and resources on building a brand, and most do so without any plans at all. How do they know they are really building the brand properly? How do they know if they are making the best use of their resources? And how do they know if they have been successful with customers in regards to brand perceptions and brand value? The fact is, most of them don’t.
Maybe it’s not so obvious
Do you really have a handle on your brand? You’ve spend thousands of dollars on everything thing from a website, interior design, four walls marketing, packaging, vehicle wraps, and more! You’ve made sure that your brand message is consistent, clear, modern, and unique. But does your brand “naturally” connect with your customer? Can you truly identify the strengths and weaknesses in your brand positioning? Often times there is a gap between brand perceptions and brand positioning and it’s not so obvious. Just know that the best brands naturally become part of a customer’s life. Make a customer fall in love with your brand and you’ll get a larger share of their wallet.
What does your customer want need?
Your brand is about your customer as much it is about your business model. Successful brands continually look at their business through the eyes of the customer. They dig deeper than customer reviews and comment card feedback. They engage customer surveys, focus groups and personal interviews to uncover emotional, cultural, and societal drivers of the brand connection. They find out what a customer needs and the expectations they have. Those expectations have big affect customer perceptions that influence customer actions. As for what a customer needs, they need to feel good.
Create (or update) your brand strategy
Every franchise system should have a written brand strategy document that provides a comprehensive analysis of your brand. Ultimately, you need to understand why you do what you do and have every employee, brand partner, and stakeholder answer that question consistently.
- History– It’s important to get your story straight. Create a brand story that showcases the innovations of the brand, with a focus on their products and services. We need to develop a compelling story as if you were writing it for a historical archive or a book. Most importantly, distill the story down to key events, vision, growth, and the people that made history (your history).
- Mission & Vision– Why are you (the brand) here? Distill down your mission into one powerful sentence that brings clarity to why your brand exists. Also create a longer version (a single paragraph) that embodies your true purpose. Your brands vision will explain what the brands future will be when you deliver on your mission.
- Core Values– Develop a list of words that associate with the values that make up the brand. If you had to select 6-8 words that tell the world about the brands values, what would they be? Now related those core values to how your brand will act and how it benefits the customer.
- Tone– Tone is so important when it comes to communication, especially to your customers, clients and guests. Define how your brand looks, feels, and sounds.
- Vernacular– How the brand sounds and what specific vernacular is unique to the brand. Many brands create words or use certain phases to communicate people, roles, products, and processes.
- Products– What makes your products unique? Why are they great? Create a paragraph that helps people understand how your products fulfill the why and why your customers value them.
- Positioning– Your brand positioning is the result of this exercise and answers the question – What is your purpose?
Your creative strategy
Your brands creative strategy is the most powerful and effective when your brand strategy is clear. It’s not just about color, images, shapes, elements, textures, special relationships, and feel. It’s about the “why” and all that which makes your brand great. There are so many adjectives that define great brands, but there is
Branding is a continual process