Business branding: This month at Vernacular

When a local B2B tech company asked me to help rebrand their business I politely declined and suggested they engage a brand consultancy.

But they persisted, saying their budget didn’t stretch that far and, in any case, my experience in B2B technology marketing qualified me for the job.

Being a pushover, I accepted, knowing that I work at the fringes of branding and an early career in market research gave me a good understanding of how brands work.

So we cracked into things, starting with an internal workshop.

We corralled a handpicked group of employees and drilled them for answers, scribbling comments and reactions on A3 sized Stick-it notes that hung on the boardroom walls like prayer flags.

Here are the questions we asked:

Who are your customers? Titles, places they work, what they do today, their issues/struggles, what they need, why they’d call you?

Who are you? What words would I type into Google to find you? If you leaned over the back fence to explain your business to a friendly neighbour, what would you say? We are a ….?

What does your company do? We …..? How do I know when I need you? How do you do it?

How do your customers benefit? In the end, what’s better? Why does what you do matter? What difference does it make? How does that benefit your customers?

Your mission, then, is to….? This talks to your higher purpose; your long term competitive position.  Example. Apple’s mission: To make the power of computing totally subservient to the expression of people’s intelligence and creativity

Who are your competitors? What are they famous for?

What makes you different and special?  Your personality traits and what distinguishes the experience you deliver … what’s your style?

Conjuring short crisp answers is harder than you think.

But it’s got to be done, because without clarity customers will struggle to grasp your uniqueness and why they should seek you out.