The basic questions underlying the branding and marketing of any product or service include the following:
- In what market(s) does your product or service fit (e.g., banking, healthcare, automotive)?
- What does the product or service do?
- What needs does it serve?
- Who are the appropriate audiences?
- How can the product or service help each of these audiences?
- What are they currently doing to serve these needs?
- What products or services currently exist that do the same thing(s) as your brand?
- What are their brand names?
- What are their primary claims?
- How is your product better than competitive products? Worse?
- How does the market perceive this class of product? (Vital? Necessary? Important? Helpful? Optional? Unimportant? Trivial?)
- What is the best way to differentiate this product from competitors?
- What evidence do you have that you can make this claim?
The answers to these questions combined with a modicum of market research leads to the following outcomes:
- Marketplace overview
- Target audience profile
- Competitive environment overview
- Identification of differentiating factors
- Development of positioning strategy
- Development of tagline
- Development of primary messaging
- Development of brand design and graphic guidelines
A Note of Caution
Be careful how you position your company/product/service. Companies that positioned themselves as buggy whip manufacturers went out of business. Companies that positioned themselves as manufacturers of transportation accessories thrived.