If an organization has a well-defined brand—not just a logo design and color scheme—they have a heck of a lot of fuel for social media, blogging, search engine optimization, public relations, and word-of-mouth. A logo, by itself, doesn’t go so far in these increasingly important and mission-critical channels that are all about messaging, targeting, content, and differentiation.
That logo don’t tweet.
Think about it: No matter how clever or cool, what do your logotype, symbol, typeface, or color scheme really do for you in these social arenas? Yes, they’re potentially symbolic, but typically they represent a tiny favicon or a social media profile image, at best. (Your company or brand name could be one exception, when it allows for a unique and meaningful user handle or URL, especially if you can claim it across social platforms.)
Start tapping into your deeper power.
The true power of brand articulation is that it gives you—actually your whole organization—the strategy, messaging and talking points (i.e. content) to guide your social media efforts and other outreach. It can define what you offer, who you serve, and how you’re best at what you do. And, it can even tell you who to target it to and what tone it should be expressed in, unifying your messaging and your voice across markets and media types.
Brand articulation is not just your mark, it’s your brand put into words, concepts, and experiences. Unfortunately, most businesses just jump into the visual part of branding, without determining the exact value proposition and story their visual is based on.
Here are some of the building blocks of brand definition and brand strategy. Scan through and see how these could feed your social media (and other) efforts. My guess is that if you had all of these clearly defined and knew this much about your brand, you’d likely have more content and messaging ideas than you have time in the day to blog or tweet.
Articulating Your Brand: Super-Fuel for Social Media (and Beyond)
- Vision (Where are we going? What do we want to achieve?)
- Mission (What’s our purpose? Why do we exist?)
- Values (What are our core beliefs? Principles that drive us?)
- Target Market (Who specifically do we want to sell or market to?)
- Key Audiences (Who else are we talking to? And why?)
- Key Products or Services (What are our primary offerings?)
- Competitors (Who is offering something similar?)
- Positioning (How are we seen and valued in comparison to our competitors?)
- Value Proposition (What’s different about us? Why does it matter?)
- Elevator Pitch (How do we talk about this casually?)
- Brand Promise (What do we assure? Why choose us?)
- Key Messages (What are the three or four things that every communication should say?)
- Proof Points (What is the factual information that backs these claims up?)
- Brand Personality (What are our organization’s “human” traits and attributes? How do we behave?)
- Voice and Tone (How do we talk? What mood do we want to convey?)
- Beacon (What’s the one word or concept that best represents us?)
- Brand Story (How do we boil these things down into an emotionally compelling narrative?)
- Manifesto (Are we so passionate, or so revolutionary, about something that we want to make a “public declaration” of it?)
Build a solid brand platform to launch (and speak and share) from.
It’s ideal to start with the bulk of these strategic questions answered before building a visual brand identity. (The fact of the matter is that a logo and brand identity should ideally be the outcome of a brand articulation process, not the other way around.) But even organizations with established logos can significantly benefit from going back to build the communication and messaging foundation underneath.
Imagine how much more unique, meaningful, and effective your Tweets, pins, shares, videos, profiles, and posts (and yes, your logo) can be with the power of all this intention, thinking, and common understanding behind them. It’s actually simple physics. A solid platform, focus, and every bit of energy and every system working in alignment is additive, giving you both a trajectory and maximum momentum.
Another good metaphor is brand as an iceberg. The logo, name, or tagline may be the obvious and highly visible tip above the waterline. But it identifies and stands for something much, much larger (and potentially more powerful) down below.
Need help unleashing the power of your brand, refueling, or even excavating what’s underneath? Get in touch!
Thanks to Kathy White of Face Value for suggesting this timely and important topic. If you have a business or branding topic you’d like to see a future post on, let me know.