In 2018, there where 8671 digital product launches by tech startups on Product Hunt alone. We know that paying for your brand is low down on the agenda when a startup starts out but hopefully in this article we can convince you that, when the time is right, investing in a brand is a worthwhile decision.
If you’re unfamiliar with what Product Hunt is, it’s a platform for developers and teams to share their latest product. Other users can “Upvote” or comment with support or questions on that product. Creators can hope that they receive enough upvotes on their product to hit the top of that day’s leaderboard. To give you an idea of the success of Product Hunt and its importance in the market, Google regularly shares their releases as well as highly influential product-makers.
Standing out as a tech startup is a big problem in this ever-expanding market. Although Product Hunt gives a product the glitz and glamour of being top of a leaderboard, there is very little to suggest that this will ever mean that the product will reach mass-appeal. Product Hunt is by developers for developers and there’s little room for creative expression other than that of the logo and app imagery.
Standing out is where branding comes in. Branding is, in most cases, under the umbrella of marketing. We believe it’s a blend of business strategy and creativity. Branding can not only enhance and improve your tech experience and grow your customer base but also drive effective company culture. Branding is a lot more than just your logo, which we’ll get into below.
At its core, branding is a marketing tactic that helps identify you amongst your competitors. This can be done in a variety of ways. With branding, you want to leave the potential customer with a clear idea of the promise that you are making to them. That promise can be physical things like – we will make your life easier with our product – or it can be something slightly more intangible.
Take Coke for instance. Instead of selling the drink, Coke promises to sell you the idea of happiness, family or sharing. You want to be the sole provider to a clear solution to your customers problem and your brand gives you a voice to be able to achieve that.
Whatever your promise is, it should be consistent in everything you do. It should be a guiding light to all your marketing efforts but this doesn’t need to be just a fake marketing effort.
Branding is often deeply rooted in the values and ideas of its founders so is often born from genuine beliefs. This should set you aside from your competitors because although your product might be similar to another, you’re able to eke out the USP (‘Unique Selling Point’) and promise something deeper. Your customer should feel that promise in the entire customer experience and this can only be achieved through a well-defined brand strategy.
A final point to make is that for your brand, and the following points to work, you must understand your customer. Who are you talking to and why? What are their pain points and how do you solve them? Only then, can you build something effective into your efforts.
Branding is so important for many reasons (both internal and external). From an internal perspective, it can help align the business on why you are building your product or service so that you are all speaking the same language. The business should be geared towards the same objective so by going through the motions of developing your brand, this becomes clear. A great consequence of this is improved company culture – something that is integral to the success of any tech startup.
Position in the market
As mentioned, going through the motions of your brand strategy should identify your position in the market. Shouting about it is your way of standing out and setting yourself apart from the competition. Positioning is integral to standing out so we hold this process highly in a brand strategy workshop.
A brand with a higher value (from investors etc.) is perceived to be a bigger market player. This allows you more leverage and increased investment opportunities as your brand should represent establishment, confidence and success.
As a tech startup, in a sea of competition, recognition is also important. Having an attractive and engaging brand is one way to stand out. It’s also another way to remain in the minds of the consumer. Launching a new product becomes easier as the customer will be familiar with your brand. Everyone can recongnise Google products when they see them. They all use similar colours and illustration style.
Building recognition also builds brand equity and so improves the chances that if you seek investment, you’re more likely to appeal to investors. This is because your brand equity is strong and this builds on the value we spoke of previously.
More Customers and referrals
When you engage with your customers you should give them a great service, and believe it or not, by having your brand consistently play a part in that process, it’s a way to drive up customer satisfaction. Their impression of your tech startup is further imprinted in their mind with every successful engagement.
Happy customers also mean you’re likely to get referred as that customer seeks to recruit more into the brand ecosystem.
Note: A concept called “brand tribalism” also contributes to the fact that raving fans will want to refer their friends. We won’t go into brand tribalism now but it essentially means that customers buy into the feeling it gives them. Sometimes they buy that more than the product itself. If they can grow this sense of pride, this can work well in your favour.
From the offset, if your brand is strong you’re likely to attract a specific kind of employee -hopefully one that aligns with the values you are trying to convey in your brand. When your employees believe in the values themselves and are encouraged they are likely to be proud and become a raving fan of their employer. They will also have a greater sense of belonging which is what we all pine for. They will feel like they are part of something bigger! We know that culture is a huge part of a positive atmosphere so if you have everyone believing in the same thing, you’re going to have a good atmosphere.
Stand out and build trust
Having a strong brand is a sure-fire way of looking professional, established and legitimate. As a growing tech startup, you’re likely to feel a bit of imposter syndrome sometimes and taking on tech giants can be a daunting task. With a strong product paired with a great brand, you’ll stand out and build trust within the market. People will be more likely to engage and purchase from you if they trust you and a well-put-together brand looks like a well-put-together business. This will lead on to gaining loyal followers and subsequently repeat purchases.
Clear and easy direction
Having a set of brand guidelines and a clear idea of the message your tech startup wants to convey is a huge weight off your shoulders. A lot of the heavy lifting has already been done for you allowing you to focus on more important things (the product). Getting the right emotional and visual direction nailed means you can forget about wondering if you’re conveying the right message and trust in the brand working its magic.
So as you can see, having an effective brand strategy for your tech startup matters so much more than just the appearance of your website or the design of your logo. There are clear benefits to it both internally and externally that you can leverage and utilise.
Brand Strategy (Strategy) is our name for the discovery process we run to unlock hidden knowledge in the minds of our clients. As a remote design studio, this poses some immediate problems on how to run an effective workshop when you aren’t in the room.
It’s important to say that every detail discussed below is client dependent. These won’t necessarily apply to all clients so discuss with them what they are comfortable with. This guide can also serve to answer questions like “Ways to improve Voice over IP (VoIP) quality?”, “What are the best times to schedule a meeting?” and “How to run a VoIP meeting or workshop?”.
Brand strategy workshops tips
strategy helps us maximise the value of delivery and narrow our design
efforts by asking key questions right at the beginning of the project.
We’ve written an article on what Brand Strategy is
so we won’t bore you with that. Strategy can run for at least four
hours if pushed for time but it can also run for days. It depends on how
many people are in the room and how many voices need to be heard. We
look at things like brand positioning, brand architecture, users,
business goals and more.
Discovery workshops run best when you can motivate people to be hands-on and energetic as they participate. Strategy requires active participation from key stakeholders in the organisation. This means post-it exercises and creative thinking all-round. As a facilitator, you also need to be aware of the energy levels in the room and be able to read people easily enough to spot the tell-tail signs of fatigue. It’s good to be aware so that you can call for a break or engage a particular participant to bring them back into the room.
1. Break it up
You need to be pro-active in your approach to minimising fatigue, maximising energy and increasing engagement. Rather than push attendees until they are tired, we reimagine the discovery process so that they never get tired in the first place. After some testing, we found attendees start to tire after about 1 hour of workshopping over Zoom. We took a look at our Strategy workshop and have now broken it up logically into 1 – 1.5-hour segments. This enables us to get everything covered without losing context and before attendees tire. We suggest breaking your workshops up into logical chunks while keeping context.
How you break it up will depend on whether you’re in the same time-zones or not. Most segments are run once a day but if you are in a similar time-zone you might be able to run it several times in a day.
A benefit to meeting each day is that the chit-chat at the beginning of the call often involves catch up on the rest of the previous day. Because of this, we feel like we were all part of each others entire day. Each day we bond and grow as a team over the course of a week which puts us in a better position going forward and as ultimately we have a better relationship right from the beginning.
Not necessary in every workshop but homework is also something we offer. Some of the tasks in the workshop are quite frankly repetitive. An example being user personas. If we can clearly facilitate the first persona then that is often enough for the participants to build out the other personas without our involvement. We could oversee the second persona for instance with little input and leave the remaining 1 or 2 to the participants.
The other benefit of having homework is time. Depending on the client, we feel having a 1-hour touchpoint a day can leave all involved twiddling their thumbs a little. A session that could run over 1 or 2 days is stretched out over the course of a week which could be less than ideal. With homework, this isn’t the case and the session remains productive outside the call.
3. Choose time wisely
Choosing the right time of day to run brand strategy is very important to maximise productivity. Obviously being remote you sometimes don’t have that luxury as you might be in different time-zones but we should discuss this nonetheless. Monday’s aren’t great for meetings and neither are Friday’s as they are both impacted by the weekend. On Monday’s, people are still thinking about the weekend and are in “weekend mode” and on Friday’s, people are gearing up for the weekend so might lack focus.
Try to avoid mornings
We need our participants engaged and energetic in brand strategy as we require active thinking and participation. It’s creative too and some attendees might not have a creative bone in their body so will require being tempted out of their comfort zones. In the morning, people are still sleepy and this is not good.
Mid-mornings are ideal
People are most energetic in the mid-morning so utilising this burst of energy is recommended – 10am is a great time. If you’re running one brand strategy session per day, then running it at 10am each day is perfect. If it’s not your 10am, bring your A-game! One thing to be conscious of is running close too lunch. People can get hangry (hungry + angry) just before lunch so finishing at around 11:30/45 is ideal.
Lunchtimes can work
As long as you provide food you can run a meeting over lunch. It’s a great way to squeeze in some more time and can help post-lunch productivity if food is chosen wisely (sandwiches and salads come to mind. Avoid stodge) as explained below…
Don’t schedule meetings straight after lunch.
I think this goes without saying as we all know how we feel after a big lunch. Unless you run your brand strategy over lunch and you can somehow control peoples consumption.
Late afternoon isn’t ideal
People are clock-watching from around 4:30pm so finish up by that. It could be a great time if you’re doing introductions or need to rattle through some loose ends as people will be wanting to get home so could be achieved in record time.
In conclusion, have your brand strategy at 10am between Tuesday and Thursday as people are energised and focussed. If you’re running several in a day, try to avoid having more than two and make the second at around 2:30pm.
Depending on the profile of the company, you might be dealing with busy senior staff. As with all brand strategy sessions, you should be running it with the C-suite stakeholders. You need fundamental information and most importantly, with regards to brand, you need buy-in. If they are busy, float the option of an evening or before work (if they are hyper-productive). This can even work for time-zones that don’t sync up so bear that in mind.
4. Prepare your client
Make sure your client knows what they need for the session. Post-its? Pre-call considerations (such as competitors). Think about what you would need from them in the room and prepare them before the call. We do this in the meeting invite as well as verbally. In our case, we do introductions on the first call so nothing is needed. This gives us an opportunity to tell them what they will need going forward and to look to the invites for further information. Then we, of course, provide information in the invites.
5. Have good Wifi in a quiet area
I think this point goes without saying. VoIP calls are bandwidth-intensive so make sure you and your client(s) have good Wifi. Book a room so that it both looks professional and people aren’t moving around in the background and most importantly, make sure it’s quiet. If you have an ethernet connection, this is far more reliable than Wifi, so use it.
Also, bonus tip – try not to have the call in what can only be described as a cave!
6. Have backup options if disaster strikes
One reason why we use Zoom is that it gives the client WORLDWIDE teleconference capabilities. Sometimes things don’t go according to plan and a good old fashioned phone call is necessary. Having that option and being prepared to be a little more descriptive with your workshop activities can reduce time. With Zoom, clients can call a local number to attend the session.
7. Record the calls
If you have a terrible memory or your handwriting is poor consider recording your calls for future reference. We create a summary document of the brand strategy call and although we fill out the keynote as we go along, we sometimes need to clarify something or add additional context or information. If you have recorded the call you can simply go back over it and watch for the information. We then share our calls on a privately hosted Youtube. This not only saves storage on our computers but is easily accessed by everyone.
8. Clarify your instructions
If you’re giving instructions always clarify if they make sense and give your client the option to speak up. This is just polite during a meeting especially if acronyms or industry-specific terminology is thrown around but especially in VoIP calls as the call may have dropped and not everything will have been heard.
So there you have it. 8 considerations for having a productive remote client discovery workshop. We offer brand strategy workshop after a free 1-hour consultation – just contact us on our website. Give it a try and let us know if you have any tips for remote discovery calls.
The word ‘brand’ was derived from farmers marking their cattle with a logo or trademark so that they would be recognised as their own. From this, you might infer that your logo or trademark is synonymous with your brand but this isn’t really the case these days.
The word brand has evolved into something far more intangible than that. Your brand is what’s described by the great Marty Neumeier as, “a person’s gut feeling about a product, service or organisation.”. This translates as any touchpoint your customer has with your services that convey an idea, feeling or promise to them.
Your brand includes your logo but also your customer service, the way you answer the phone, the design of your website and even where you position yourself in the market! At any point your customer comes into contact with you is an opportunity to convey a consistent and relevant image of who you are and what you stand for. In the same way, your brand should be easily identifiable but as you’ll learn, being identifiable is the sum of many attributes. If you’re interested to learn more, we speak about this in our blog post about what Brand Strategy is.
So given this, how do you start to build your tech brand? Here at Jupiter and the Giraffe we follow a tried and tested process that enables us to understand your unique proposition, even if you don’t quite know what that is yet.
If you’re speaking to everyone then, unfortunately, you’re speaking to no one. Understanding your place in the market not only allows you to hone in on your understanding of your brand, but it also makes good business sense as you’re the one person to go to for that specific problem. If they recognise you as the industry leader then you will become the business to approach for that particular problem. There are many types of positioning strategies that you can employ.
Types of Positioning Strategies for your tech brand
You may wish to position yourself based on your features or benefits. If you’re a service it may be the services you offer. Although this should play a part in your tech brand positioning, we wouldn’t recommend this as the chances you are offering something completely new are relatively low.
Price is another way you can segment yourself. High price often portrays high quality, notice I say “portrays” – just because you offer a high priced product doesn’t necessarily equate to high quality. There are examples where this tactic works but it’s a risky game to play. It’s not just your product that should deliver but everything around it should warrant that high price. With a high price comes high expectations.
Similarly to price, there are certain associations that come with positioning yourselves based on quality, but once again this doesn’t necessarily mean high quality, high price. As technology becomes faster and less expensive organisations are able to offer great quality at low prices.
An exercise you might like to run is to map out your competitors on a chart and where they sit on the price/quality spectrum. The chart may look something like this…
If you’re at the beginning of your journey, this is a great place to start but in some cases, this might call for a reposition. There have been cases of very successful reposition by tech brands through developments in the marketplace or an intentional shift into a new market. Repositioning should forever be a consideration for any business looking to lead in the market. This requires listening and being aware of shifts and developments and having a proactive rather than reactive mindset.
Understanding your position in the market
Understanding your position in the market via your offering is one small part to consider. At Jupiter and the Giraffe we’re big advocates of the Onliness Statement (once again developed by Marty Neumeier). The Onliness Statement gets you to not only think about what it is you do but also why you do it. We wrote a blog post about what an Onliness Statment is so we wont repeat ourselves, but essentially it looks like this;
[Company Name] is THE ONLY (category) THAT (differentiation characteristic) FOR (customer) IN (market geography) WHO (need state) DURING (underling trend)
For context, Harley Davidsons is as follows…
Harley Davidson The ONLY motorcycle manufacturer
THAT makes big, loud motorcycles
FOR macho guys (and macho “wannabees”)
mostly IN the United States
WHO wants to join a gang of cowboys
DURING an era of decreasing personal freedom
You must fill in the blanks but as you can see there are several areas that drill further and further into your niche. This represents your promise to your customers. Your tech brand should live and breath this promise with every touchpoint going forward and will likely play a key role when we get to actually creating your brand assets. This is a great exercise in further understanding your position in the market. Pay close attention to the “Underlying trend” as this helps you clarify your purpose.
Develop User Personas
With all that done, you should have a strong idea about who you are and why you do what you do. Next, you must begin to think about your customers as after all, without your customers your business will fail.
Why user personas?
The reason why you need to think about your customers when it comes to your tech brand is down to relatability. You need to understand your users so that you are able to engage with them in a way that they can understand. Use the same tone-of-voice that they might expect whilst solving any problems they might have.
Having user personas also gives you a person (albeit make-believe) to resolve all conflicts that may arise between you and your colleagues around a decision, design choice or feature of your tech brand. Resolving the conflict by asking what would X want, instead of what do we want. The way we do this is developing user personas. If you’ve never heard of a user persona before then quite simply it’s a make-believe person that represents a customer (or a desired customer). Personas can be based on your real customers if you have them and one persona can contain many attributes of different customers. It’s ok to generalise here but the result should be specific and represent one user.
If you find that you’re not targeting the right customers (another reason for a rebrand) then we believe it’s useful to create a single person based on a customer that you would like to be serving. You may even want to conduct actual market research to generate these user persona’s if you don’t already have a customer base. User Personas are most effective when they’re derived from real data so if you have it, use it.
The most important aspect of these personas should be the problems or pain-points that they are experiencing. This is key to making sure you’re serving that customer for a specific reason.
How many personas should I create?
The number of user personas you create really shouldn’t exceed four. Beyond this, you start to lose clarity and focus and your tech brand will end up appealing to no one. Your user persona should, of course, contain a name. Use a photo of someone you feel best encapsulates the person in your mind so that you can bring this person to life. You can then look at the demographic of your customer – age, sex, where they are from, how much they earn, what they do for a living. You can even find this data out on Google Analytics if you have it installed on your website!
Make a note of their archetype e.g. “Messy creative” or “Neat and tidy musician”. If you’re struggling to be creative then definitely check out the most common archetypes. You can then look at their personalities. This helps us make assumptions about how they might react in different scenarios. Go into as much depth as you feel is necessary.
With all that said, that’s just the groundwork to developing your tech brand. It’s important to know who you are, why you are different, who you serve and why you serve them. Understanding your promise and the values you hold is essentially your brand, just make sure you stick to this idea no matter what. We’re now going to talk about what we believe every new business should have. These are known as ‘brand assets’ and are what are typically confused as a brand. Your brand identity is the face of your business and should reinforce the values and emotions that you identified in the previous steps.
No surprise here, you need a logo and for us, a good logo is one that addresses more than representing what you do. Your logo should be a manifestation as to thewhy you do what you do. For example, having a cloud computing business called “Cloud9” and your logo being nine clouds may look great (it won’t, nine is way too many clouds) but this shows that not much thought has gone into your logo and is a missed opportunity to connect with the right audience and create a logo with depth. On a piece of paper, start jotting down words that come to mind when you think about your business. Try and think about your values and words that represent these values. It’s ok to think about what you do but the aim is to keep it abstract. We go in-depth about how to design a logo in another post.
Name?! Yes, name! Once again, your name is a touchpoint with your customer. Why not take all that we have learned from discussing your business, your customers and your values and come up with a name that reflects that. It’s always fascinating when you discover the story behind the name and when there’s more than meets the eye. Coming up with a name can be an artform in itself so take that time to really think about it.
Colours invoke emotion so play on colour psychology. We’ve written a post about colour psychology. It’s not always the same on every continent so be conscious of your market and use colours that represent your values and make sure they mean the right things in the right regions. Have at least two colours. One primary that you’ll use almost everywhere and a secondary that compliments it.
Use a tool like Adobe Colour to help you figure out what colours work well together. Note down the HEX value, RGB and, if possible the Pantone and make sure that these are the only colours used whenever you create anything. There’s nothing worse than seeing 15 different shades of blue. Here’s Jupiter and the Giraffe’s Colour Palette:
Typography is important too and you’ll want to have at least two typographic families or variants for maximum flexibility. The first is typically used for headers and possibly makes an appearance in the logo (look at Jupiter and the Giraffes “KG Summertime Storm” font) the other main font is for generic body copy. You’ll want something that is easily legible.
There are some examples where the font looks pretty but is impossible to read. Don’t make this same mistake and ask people if they can read your font. Broadly, fonts can invoke meaning.
You might consider serif (fonts with little feet at the ends of the letters) as formal. Legal businesses or banks may choose to use this font. Sans-serif fonts (without ‘feet’) are more modern. If you’re at the stage where you’re putting your own tech brand together, go for a font that you like or check out some recommended font pairings from sites such as Google fonts. Large organisations often design their own fonts and obviously, this is out of reach for most businesses starting out as it’s expensive.
There are situations where you may need more fonts but don’t overcomplicate things at this stage and only use two at one time. Just be warned, there’s no escaping the rabbit hole that is choosing a font!
Finally, one thing very few businesses think about when they first start their company is their tone-of-voice. Think about it, groups of friends often use the same words and speak in a similar way so your business should also speak in a way that your customers find relatable. Your tone should further imply the values of your brand and what you say should be understood by the right people. Make your employees aware so that when they are engaging with potential clients, they are speaking in this same way too.
Tone-of-voice is where your tech brands personality shines. It’s where you’re really engaging with your customers and not just any customers, the right customers. Think of three words that best summarise your business if it was a person and use these to develop your tone.
So we’ve breezed over how a company starting out can create it’s brand and start to develop its bare-minimum brand identity. We hope to release many more in-depth articles on the individual assets so look out for those but this should be enough to get you going.
A few more helpful things you could work on as a next step that equally portray your brand are…
Choose the photos you use wisely. This is an often overlooked aspect of your brand. What should be the subject of your photos? Should there be people in your photo? What are they wearing? Showing images of the people you expect to use your product is a great, easy way for people to feel affiliated with your brand. Also you may think more creatively and think of the style of the photography. The treatment of your photography should be the same in order to create consistency.
Every business needs a website. It’s the shop window to your product or service. Here, your brand assets will exist throughout the design of your site alongside any photography and the tone of voice you’ve established. Your website should encapsulate almost everything about your brand so don’t let this slip. Templates are great to get you started but when your brand evolves its important to move onto something more bespoke. Contact us if you’re in the market for a website.
Graphic elements can be as small or large as you deem fit. Little flourishes peppered throughout your design is a great way to identify your brand. Think of these like a birth mark that is unmistakably yours and have fun with them! Maybe this is something taken from your logo or something different entirely but make it relevant.
So there we are, you’ve just had a crash course in what a brand actually is and what it isn’t. Understanding your business and how it’s different, identifying the promise it’s making to its customers and having that shine through makes up your brand identity. Invest in the time to think about your brand assets and make them more meaningful than just something that reflects what you do – make it something about why you do what you do. We capture all the necessary elements in our Brand Strategy workshop which enables us to create an amazing brand. You can read more about what brand strategy is in our blog.
There are many different types of Strategies when it comes to business. Business Strategy, Corporate Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Content Strategy but what is Brand Strategy?
TL;DR; Brand Strategy is highlighting the long-term goals of a business and understanding how your brand can help achieve them.
Let’s start by defining what ‘Brand’ is. Brand in itself is very intangible. Often mistaken for a logo or the ‘look’ of something be it a website or marketing materials. Brand is actually the feeling someone gets whenever they interact with your business. A great example and one commonly used is Nike. Their brand could be considered the feeling of a get-up-and-go attitude with regard to sport. No thinking. No second guesses. Give it your all. Their slogan “Just Do It” is a perfect encapsulation of this attitude.
This idea of “Just Do It” is probably printed on a document somewhere in the Nike offices along with other intangible feelings and values that they adhere to. From this “document” every single thing that is written, presented, spoken, recorded or broadcasted will revert back to this document and the idea of “Just Do It”. Before anything is sent out to the masses, it is asked the question “Does this resonate with our values and our ethos?”.
Brand cannot end there. It’s all well and good that a company sits round a table and decides “this is our brand, we must always adhere to this”. It’s not until this idea enters the minds of the consumer before it starts to take shape. The great Marty Neumeier said “Your brand isn’t what you say it is. It’s what they say it is”. Meaning it’s only until the prospect “gets it” and feels it that it becomes your brand.
No that we’ve established what brand is, how does strategy fall into this and what different types of brand strategies are there?
As will all aspects of a business, you must have a purpose and goals. You need a reason to exist and these reasons should dictate everything that you do. Brand strategy is no different so highlighting the long-term goals of a business and understanding how your brand can help achieve them is what brand strategy is. This can be a fairly intangible thing, particularly in the eyes of an accountant. Brand Value or “brand equity” cannot be measured in the short-term as it’s a pretty intagible asset. If goals are met, what percentage can be attributed to your brand?
This makes brand strategy all the more important as recognising a goal and assigning a particular tactic executed by a brand action is the only possible way to even come close to start to understand how well your brand is doing. It’s likely though that multiple strategies have been assigned to a particular goal and so there lies the dilema. A truly chicken-egg type of scenario particularly with marketing. I always describe marketing as the megaphone and brand as the voice. The two are intrinsically linked and you often see this as VP’s of marketing are assigned to the management of an organisations brand. To an extent they are appropriately given the task but they are definitely different skillsets. Ultimately, you can’t beat having a single person assigned to one task.
Brand Strategy can be said to drive they why from an emotional standpoint of the business strategy and marketing can be considered how. Knowing why you do things is key to really connect with your market. It’s the only human-like asset they can resonate with so it’s important to make it known. You often see “Vision Statements” on websites to really highlight this. Personally, I like the idea of this resonating from within the behaviours and actions of the brand to help your customers understand your vision statement.
Brand Strategy at Jupiter and the Giraffe is the process of running diagnosis of the current state of the business and what goals it has as well as the market in and around the business to help define a brand. That includes user personas and competitor analysis. Finally, we propose a set of actions to accomplish your brand goals. This is crucial as it gives purpose the tasks at hand and gives us measurable results we hope to achieve at given points in the strategy. We distil this down to a creative brief, outlining actions against a prioritised list of goals created during the session. This session is attended by C-suite members of the organisation because it’s important to know the long-term goals of the company, something only these individuals have sight of. The founder is also a great person to have in the room as they often have sight of the vision as this is key to staying focussed.
Staying consistent with these ideas is important. We run brand audits every 3 months as they can easily get shaken due to changes in the market place and company goals changing. Brand should be an evolving aspect of the company but should always be anchored to the “why” of the organisation. Reverting back to the “Document” is a great way to do this.
It’s amazing what results can come from a brand strategy. Most notably is how to create a good brand name. To create a brand name or company name that has rooted meaning can only be achieved from looking deep within your brand and seeing further than simply what you do. Some of the best brand name examples in my opinion are Spotify, Kindle and Apple. It doesn’t take long to find out what inspired these seemingly arbitrary names. Once brand strategy is in place, you’ll have a hard time choosing a brand name! If you want help naming your brand, I suggest the book Hello, my name is awesome: How to Create Brand Names That Stick.
I hope this clears up any ambiguity. The very process of brand strategy should get the minds of everyone working together and involved while leaving everyone feeling like they are on the same page. Super important if this document stays relevant for as long as the organisation is in existence.
At Jupiter and the Giraffe we offer Brand Strategy but we also offer Brand Experience which aims to fulfil most of the actions identified in Strategy. If you’re interested in having a chat, feel free to contact us for a free consultation. We love talking about everything brand related!
Onliness isn’t even a real word. It was coined by the great Marty Neumeier in his book Zag. Although not the godfather of what the onliness statement tool is used for (that was done by television advertising pioneer Rosser Reeves) he certainly helped it reach the masses. Originally, Rosser described a “Unique Selling Proposition” or USP as a differentiation characteristic of your brand in the marketplace. It’s one of the most important strategic actions one can take when starting a business or building a product and is a key element to building a brand.
Marty takes Rossers idea further in his Onliness Statement by getting us to figure out the “Big Idea” behind our product or service. He also encapsulates the what, how, who, where, why and when of your business cutting through the noise in the market and positioning you well. The Onliness Statement acts as a decision filter for all future encounters and to ultimately remain on brand. Reaching a fork in the road is a simple case of referring to your Onliness Statement to figure out if this aligns with your goal as a business.
So what is the Onliness Statement?
You fill in the blanks…
[Company Name] is THE ONLY (category) THAT (differentiation characteristic) FOR (customer) IN (market geography) WHO (need state) DURING (underling trend)
Here are some examples:
Harley Davidson The ONLY motorcycle manufacturer THAT makes big, loud motorcycles FOR macho guys (and macho “wannabees”) mostly IN the United States WHO wants to join a gang of cowboys DURING an era of decreasing personal freedom
Jupiter and the Giraffe is THE ONLY branding agency THAT brings ambitious and interesting global brand thinking FOR young, creative entrepreneurs IN and around Planet Earth WHO want to demonstrate their uniqueness DURING an era of boring sameness
You can really see that you’re not only challenged to think of HOW your product is different but also WHY it’s different.
So have a go yourself. It only takes a few moments. There may be some tasks you need to undertake to fill it in which may make it longer (such as your target market) but it will ultimately be a very powerful tool.
Jupiter and the Giraffe describe themselves as a brand strategy and design agency, but what does this mean? More specifically the term “agency” and how does it differ to freelancers?
You can find freelancers on websites like Upwork and Fiverr. These sites are a great place to find creatives and technical individuals to help you build what you want. Want a new logo? Someone on Fiverr will create you one for your up and coming business. Need a new website? Upwork’s got you covered. Although you may get exactly what you’re looking for, there’s one huge thing that individuals behind the computer screen lack. Strategic thinking.
I’m not calling these creatives stupid and it’s not that these people can’t think, it’s that they don’t need to in this context. It’s just not what they are getting paid to do. Websites like Upwork and Fiverr are all about getting work done for cheap but what’s the cost? Freelancers thrive as individuals on these platforms because a freelancer can be a cog in a machine. There’s normally someone above them like an analyst or a creative lead that tells them exactly what to create. The huge thing missing here though is “why” they are creating something and some creatives are happy not knowing the why. Just tell them what to do and they’ll do it. This is great if you have an idea for a logo in your head and can picture bits of it but need a whizz at Photoshop to polish it up for you and refine a few creative decisions around your concept.
The problem here though is that there is no purpose or meaning to their ideas. As much as you might think creative assets like this need to look cool, there’s much more below the surface. It all starts with business goals and what you want to achieve as a company. More specifically, what is your brand and your company’s values. It’s great that you have an idea for a logo but to really get the most out of it, it needs to speak to the right people and ultimately convert from prospects to customers.
I won’t knock these websites. It’s so important to get your idea up there and testing assumptions on real people and so paying for a logo or website shouldn’t be at the top of your list, but when you start to make money and your idea becomes more refined and clear, it’s time you start to look at how you can target the right customer and speak to them in the right way.
It is possible for a freelancer to extract this information from you but that’s about it when it comes to a freelancer. It doesn’t end there for an agency. It’s really up to an agency to question your motives behind your design choices (if you have them) and actually create a strategy to execute that all falls in line with your business goals. We build your brand and define your strategy before we even touch design or development. We actually call this service Strategy. After the initial strategy session, we may then conduct a set of discovery workshops to further dig into your challenges and pain-points to develop our “why” when it comes to execution. You can read more about brand strategy in this blog.
When it finally comes to design or development – we’ve thought long and hard about what problems we are trying to solve – who your audience is and what appeals to them; how we speak to them; how do they typically engage with you; what they are looking to get out of you and the many ways they would look to do that. Only then is this likely to actually have a financial and beneficial impact on your business. We think. We measure twice and cut once, as the old saying goes.
I often ask what role is more important to the client – An amazing conductor (strategist) of mediocre creatives or a mediocre conductor and amazing creatives. Often they pick the former.
So if you’re ready for the next step, or you believe you’re just not speaking to the right people or you need to speak to a new set of people, then get in touch with us and lets do something awesome together.