Starting a business presents a unique set of problems, but branding that company in a way that appeals to the masses oftentimes presents an even bigger and more challenging proposition. That is why, Jim Signorelli, founder and CEO of marketing firm ESW Partners, has created a six-step process that businesses with hundreds or dozens of employees can follow to help strengthen their brand identity.
While branding is often associated with large corporations and pricey advertising agencies, the truth is that companies of all sizes have a brand and can benefit from telling their story. According to Signorelli, the process to telling this story and identifying the brand is as simple as telling a story.
“The brand is substituted for the main character who is described as having functional capabilities and is additionally infused with values and beliefs that resonate with audiences,” Signorelli said. “In all cases, the brand’s ultimate goal, apart from increasing sales and profits, is to influence a relationship with the prospect.”
Step One: Collect the Back Story: Successful brand stories must start by gathering relevant information, which includes an assessment of the brand’s culture and the problems and opportunities it faces with competition in the marketplace.
Step Two: Characterize the Brand: Once some information is collected about the brand, a more detailed explanation and understanding of the brand’s values and beliefs is needed to further shape the brand story. Signorelli describes this as setting up guardrails on a brand that will help it stay focused on strengths and avoid weaknesses.
Step Three: Characterize the Prospect: With background information collected, Signorelli believes the next logical step is to identify potential needs that the brand can appeal to with potential customers.
Step Four: Connect the Characters: Creating a strong brand story that appeals to potential customers is not of much use unless that story can be connected to prospective customers. The hope with creating a strong brand story is to build a relationship that is based strongly on values and beliefs.
Step Five: Confront the Obstacles: Signorelli notes that there are four significant challengesthat affect the development of the brand story. These challenges include awareness, comprehension, confidence and affinity and need to be addressed in order to fully connect with customers.
Step Six: Complete the Story Brief: The last step in this process involves connecting what Signorelli refers to as the inner layer and outer layers. Outer layers include the function of the brand and what customers desire, while inner layers include what both parties subscribe to.