Have you ever taken a personality test? Any of them — the DISC, Clifton Strength Finder, 16 Personalities, Wealth Dynamics, or Fascinate. I’ll admit that I’ve taken several of them in my life. Each has brought a bit more insight into what makes me tick, but more importantly each has reduced the time it would have taken me to understand my skills and shown me how to focus them to improve my career.
A Brand Discovery is very similar to a personality or strengths test; poignant questions by a neutral party only interested in gathering facts and offering insights. The objective is to help differentiate the brand through its own strengths and with a clear focus on the customers’ needs.
“You can’t do your own brand analysis any better than being your own therapist.”
It is difficult to be objective when judging our own businesses. Personal paradigms stifle objectivity. It’s not that we can’t think creatively or that we lack smarts, its simply that we’ve seen the business as one thing or one way, often for years, so we can’t imagine new possibilities. In addition, when looking from within, we tend to see the business from its limitations and challenges, and sometimes over-simplify, or complicate, the solutions. To top it off, all of us — business owners, directors and managers — create patterns and routines to cope with day-to-day tasks, which is a good thing… but these habits often skew narratives of who we are, what we do and how we do it. (More on four words we all should know about our brands.)
“Brand Discoveries are for figuring out how to make your brand unique and how to sell from a place of strength. “
Brand Discoveries are designed to help owners and managers see the business from the outside looking in, granting a view of products and services from a customer’s perspective. In the process, the verbal and visual language becomes clear, giving the creative team direction on what should be the brand’s image, personality, voice and tone. And in turn, giving the brand an advantage over competitors who haven’t figured it out. The owner or manager gains insight, plus if there are more than one decision maker, they gain alignment on what the brand needs to be.
This immersive process also helps create “Ah-hah” moments beyond aesthetics. For example, a Brand Discovery can cast light on key customer touchpoints — occasions in which you can create WOW moments that improve your customers’ overall brand experience.
Who should do a Brand Discovery?
There are two kinds of business owners. Those who see the business as a way to make a living and those who see the business as an extension of who they are. It’s safe to say that the latter is a candidate for a Brand Discovery. However, I would suggest that every time a business is going to invest significantly in advertising or in other forms of marketing, it should stop and review its positioning in the market. It is best to find gaps in your message or products before, rather than after, investing time, money and energy.
It’s a fact that we live in a hyper-competitive world and that technology is quickly changing consumer behavior. Facts on the ground can change without a warning. If sales are down it may not be the business developer’s fault, or that the business is doing something wrong. It could simply be that circumstances in the market changed and you must revisit your brand to keep pace.
Word of caution. It’s worth acknowledging that the marketing industry is currently fragmented by the many facets and platforms of branding. There are many different types of Brand Discoveries being implemented — some are specifically for video, others for web development or social media. Some Brand Discovery implement SWOT Analysis to help identify Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, and some focus more on defining your ideal customer. They are all helpful, but be sure you understand the focus and desired outcome.