Jan 29, 2015

Finding the Words That Stick: Make a Brand Checklist

Nothing will accelerate your brand more than achieving Simple Clarity. This is the ability to describe your business (or products) and what makes it unique in ten words or less.

When you achieve Simple Clarity it makes your brand easier to remember, easier to refer, and easier to talk about. And it gives your brand credibility, because you can speak about it with authority.

But finding Simple Clarity can be elusive.

I have wrestled with finding Simple Clarity in every company and service I’ve launched. And more than a third of the companies that engage Sticky Branding for consulting services are wrestling with Simple Clarity too.

We all know how important it is to use the right words to position and talk about our brands, but finding the words that stick can be a monumental challenge.

Build a Brand Checklist

If you’re struggling to find the words that stick, try this exercise. Create a short checklist to describe your brand.

This is a tool I am using with several of my clients that sell complex products and services. Rather than developing a ”Googleable phrase” to describe their brand, we’re using three questions.

For example, Shift Coaching is a mid-sized coaching firm. It works with large companies, and provides leadership development programs for individuals and teams. The firm goes toe-to-toe with giants in its industry, but has refined expertise in helping companies shift their cultures.

To focus Shift Coaching’s sales team and to refine its core messaging, we are using a Brand Checklist. In every customer interaction the sales team is asking three questions:

  1. Are you looking for leadership development and coaching services?
  2. Does your company (or division) have between 200 to 2,000 employees?
  3. Is your business going through a transformation?

The first two questions are designed to qualify the account. The first question frames the firm’s category: coaching and leadership development. The second question qualifies the minimum size of account that could benefit from the range of programs the firm offers.

The third question focuses on the need: cultural transformation. The sales reps will ask the question in different ways, but the goal is to discover if the prospect is going through a transition of some kind: merger, responding to a new competitive threat, launching a new service, or some other force.

Instead of spending a lot of time to find that one perfect phrase, they are getting out into the real world and having purposeful conversations right away.

Just the Facts

The Brand Checklist is a very effective tool because it focuses on the facts.

The questions strip away all the benefit statements and ”why you need us” kind of language, and just focuses in on the customer:

  1. Category: Do you need this type of expertise or product?
  2. Qualification: Is the customer a fit for your company?
  3. Need: Will your firm deliver a demonstrable impact in this business?

The faster you can get to the facts, the faster you can have a meaningful conversation with the prospect. You can talk with each other versus selling at them.

Practical Questions Lead To Simple Clarity

The more you use a Brand Checklist the easier it is to find Simple Clarity, because it focuses you on having more practical conversations.

Simple Clarity is void of marketing hype. It doesn’t have any jargon or buzz words. It’s stripped of outlandish benefit statements. It’s just a simple and clear description, like a label on a file folder.

Straight up, practical questions will help you find the words that stick, because you will use them over and over again in your conversations. Your questions will lead to predictable responses, and that will help you pull them together into one, succinct statement.

Finding Simple Clarity is a process. You don’t need to get to a perfect statement on day one. Start with the questions first, and Simple Clarity will follow naturally.

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