Defining Your Brand DNA

In today’s crowded marketplace, any business that’s going to be successful has to tell a story that is authentic, differentiated and compelling. You need to define your brand DNA.

Here are a few key questions to consider as you uncover your brand personality:

  • Who is your audience? What’s the benefit of working with you?
  • What’s the value proposition you deliver to your employees and customers?
  • Why should employees and buyers choose you over the competition?
  • What is something you do, and your competitors don’t, that your customers absolutely love?

Here are a few tips to help you initiate the process of defining your culture and developing your brand DNA strategy.

Understand what your customers value about you

Your customers are full of insight into your brand experience. Ask them: Why do they work with you? What made them choose you? Why do they keep coming back?

The best companies grow and evolve in collaboration with their customers. They use marketing research to regularly ask customers what they need today and help them anticipate the future. Companies that don’t evolve with that critical customer insight often miss opportunities in the market.

Ask questions to understand what customers value about you. Then, deliver that value and use the customer feedback loop to keep improving.

Understand what Your brand means to employees

It’s also important to understand what brand promise you’re making to employees. Why do employees want to work for you? What attracted them to the company? How would they describe your value proposition?

Employees are the brand experience. Listen to their feedback, and work hard to deliver on the promises you make.

Focus your value proposition on customer outcomes

Once you understand what customers and employees value, you have the insight you need to start creating your core promise.

Remember, the brand’s value isn’t what you say it is. It’s what customers and employees experience and say it is. It’s important to position your core brand message around customer outcomes. What results are you delivering to your customers? Why do they buy from you? How are you making their lives better?

Get specific

I once worked with a restaurant company that grew from one location to 20 locations quickly. Their new challenge: delivering a consistent brand experience to every customer, in every restaurant.

When you have one location, and you can talk to and mentor every employee personally, it’s easy to deliver a consistent experience. But when you grow, you have to find new ways to share who you are and what employees should do every day to deliver on your value proposition.

My advice: Get specific.

For a restaurant, telling employees to “provide great customer service” will leave you open to wildly inconsistent interpretations.

What does “great customer service” mean? What specific actions and behavior make up “great customer service”?

The more details you give employees, the more consistent the brand experience will be for customers.

My favorite grocery store in the world, Heinen’s, tells team members to be “crazy friendly.” They also encourage them to be “trusted foodies,” because they know that’s the compelling differentiation in their brand experience.  Then, they invest in world-class learning and development to help people deliver on that promise.

Getting specific helps create a consistent brand experience that keeps customers coming back.

Are you ready to tell your story?

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