Aaron VanderGalien is a Senior Partner at Deksia, he founded Deksia in 2004, and Deksia has been recognized for its work both regionally and nationally.View all articles written by this author
Determining your brand promise is based on four things: stakeholder research, current client discovery, potential client discovery and competitive audit. From the information we gain from going through the entire brand research process, we’re able to form the “big idea” for your company – the guiding principle that acts as your promise to the consumer.
For the stakeholder research, what we’re really looking at is what your goals are for the company. In other words: why do you do what you do, how you do it and what you do, that kind of outside-in approach. The biggest thing people need to realize is that while business is personal, you shouldn’t draw lines in the sand on elements you don’t or don’t like. Because at the end of the day, those don’t really matter. What matters is the bottom line and your goals for the company.
Current client discovery is where you find out why your customers like you. What do they tell their friends when they talk about you? The main question in the current client phase is, “If people really value my customer service and I’m not advertising that, am I missing the unique selling proposition that could help me stand out and bring more people to my business?”
Potential client discovery is hard and fast. What is the market size for what you’re doing? Do customers want your service the way you’re delivering it, or do they want something a little different? If they want something a little different, is it still in line with your values and is it still something you can handle doing?
The biggest benefit of a competitive audit is that it ensures you’re not echoing someone else’s promise. Examining the approaches that comparable businesses take is not only a good idea – it’s essential. Doing so helps you determine what you can offer the market that no one else currently is, giving your business a competitive edge.
The big idea is the culmination of these four steps. It’s really important to understand that there’s commonality where these areas intersect. There are four questions that I ask all the time regarding a company’s brand promise. For example, Deksia’s brand promise is to provide branding that combines business intelligence with award-winning creative. Here are the four questions I ask to make sure Deksia’s brand promise makes sense:
1. As a stakeholder in the company, do we believe in this?
2. If we talk to our current clients, and say “business intelligence and award-winning creative,” would they say that’s who we are?
3. If we talk to potential clients and ask them if they want to work with a marketing firm that provides a business intelligence and award-winning creative approach, what would they say?
4. Do our competitors advertise the same brand promise that we offer?
The answers to the first three questions should be yes, and the answer to the last should be no. If you ask these same questions of your own brand promise and get the correct results, that’s when you’re truly on the right path with your big idea.