A Formula to Clarify Your Brand
Updated: Jan 2
Have you ever had the experience of reading a website and finding yourself unsure of what the company actually does? They have a lot of words on the page, but…what are they saying?
Unfortunately, this happens all too often.
Brands that focus too much on what they do, overuse fancy acronyms and technical terms, focus on the awards they’ve won or their years of experience, tend to overlook what’s really important. Is the brand serving themselves, or is the brand serving others?
According to Donald Miller, author of “Building a StoryBrand,” the customer should be the hero in your company’s story.
In this blog I’m going to share a simple three-step formula for clarifying your brand message, so you can quickly help website visitors understand how your products and services can guide them to success.
(Note: the StoryBrand process is a seven-step process for building your brand story, which is different from this more simplified version. Read Miller’s book though, it’s really good!)
Drumroll…the magical brand formula is:
Pretty simple, right?! Let’s dig in to see how it works!
Step 1: I provide "X"
The formula begins by saying what your organization provides. But it’s not as simple as saying “I provide windows”. Instead, you should say what kind of windows.
Answer the following questions:
How is my product different from other products on the market?
Is there a special feature to my product that customers would find beneficial?
I provide highly rated, energy efficient windows.
Step 2: to "Y"
For the next step, define who your audience is. What makes them special or unique? This is important, because by clearly defining who your audience is, you make it known to the reader if this product is for them or not.
Here are a few questions to help you think about how to define your audience:
Is there a specific age or gender you’re targeting?
Is there a certain region where your service is offered?
Is there a pre-qualifying purchase they should have, such as homeowners?
Is the product or service for a specific industry or profession?
Then, once you’ve identified your audience, you add it onto your clarifying statement.
I provide highly rated, energy efficient windows to central Iowa homeowners…
Step 3: who are in need of "Z".
The final ingredient is the secret sauce - what problem is your brand going to solve for your customer?
This part is important. This needs to be a serious problem that you’re going to solve for them. Problems can be external, internal or philosophical.
External problems are problems that are physical and tangible. Most companies work to solve external problems, so differentiate your messaging from others by focusing on an internal problem.
Internal problems are in the customer’s head. They are internal struggles, feelings or frustrations, and can be very motivating for the customer to want to solve.
Philosophical problems are large scale issues - things that shouldn’t be as they are. These problems may be bigger than you and me, but any effort to fix them will be rewarded with attention and, potentially, sales.
Back to our example:
I provide highly rated, energy efficient windows to central Iowa homeowners who want to keep their families safe and comfortable during unexpected weather events.
I chose to focus on the internal problem of uneasiness and fear that can be caused by Iowa’s unexpected weather events.
As you can see, it doesn’t take much to craft a very valuable brand statement that you can use to clearly communicate what you company does and why a reader would want to do business with you.
In my example about the window company, the statement conveyed a few things about this brand:
The windows are high quality.
The company is located in central Iowa.
The company values keeping families safe and comfortable in their homes.
These are three pieces of information that may help a homeowner decide they like and trust this company and want to do business with them.
No matter how you choose to relay your brand’s message to potential clients, the moral of this story is that the message needs to be clear and should contain a connection point with the reader to motivate an action.
If you need help crafting your brand message, contact me! I’d love to be of service!