When you Game Plan Your Brand you are on your way to a successful outcome.
If you began your road trip by hopping in the car and start driving, who knows where you’ll end up. Although this may be a great adventure, you might waste time getting to your destination. Likewise, if you’re building a business or starting a new project you need to map out your plan from beginning to the end. As Alice in Wonderland learned, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”
As a business owner, creative or marketing professional, you need to spend a little time to map out your target audience, brand message, most effective vehicles, define the goals for each tactic ‚ and how exactly you’re going to get there.
That’s why you need to “game plan your brand.” Follow a clearly laid out path from where you are — to where you need to go.
You can easily break this path up into different phases.
For example, if you were going to New York City from Washington, D.C, you may want to take the direct route following I-95 North through Baltimore. Next, you should chart your course to by-pass Philadephia, then and head through Wilmington, then past Newark to New York. If you don’t plan ahead, your trip will be delayed because you’ll stop to pay all the tolls. If you plan ahead and bring an E-Z Pass transponder you’ll save time. Sure, you can avoid the tolls by driving through the smaller towns, but it will take you much longer to get to your destination.
How does this apply to small business?
First, you need to know what problem you want to solve: Getting to your destination in the least amount of time while avoiding getting lost.
For your organization, that goal should be to organize yourself first before launching into countless hours of tactics without the right goals and strategy.
You can break up the process into multiple phases. These are your checkpoints. This is how you make sure you’re on the right path as your moving forward without getting lost or forgetting important details.
The first step is to understand what problem you want to solve and set a goal that will drastically improve business. Next, evaluate your marketing assets and evaluate what parts need fixing or what is missing in the communications process.
Third, interview your key stakeholders on their understanding of your problem you are trying to solve. They are your greatest resource and the ones you will get the most insights. There are a number of ways to do this analysis. For example, develop a SWOT analysis of your business. (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats).
Fourth, go all in on defining the communication strategy and tactics that fit your brand. Develop a value proposition. The key is to define your position based on the target segment you intend to win over. With this approach, you separate yourself as the market alternative from the competition with a unique differentiation that belongs to you to bring the buying decisions your way.
Your intent is to get it down to two short sentences. Note how the two references competitors, the marketing alternative and the product alternative, help the listener’s mind triangulate to find the new position.
Follow this template (generally, this is an internal message):
For: (target customers – beachhead segment only)
Who are dissatisfied with: (the current market alternative)
Our product: (new product category)
That provides: (key problem-solving capability)
Unlike: (the product alternative)
We have assembled: (key whole product features for your specific application)
When satisfied, write a customer-facing messaging that reflects your value proposition.
If you are a local business owner, creative, or a local marketing agency, this may be the most important starting point to building or restoring your customer journey.