I work with a great many small and medium-sized companies far too concerned with immediate needs to address anything so lofty as a “brand.” They need a website, a campaign, a promotion; and they need it now.
Of course, all of those things are building a brand—for good or for bad—block by block.
For the sake of this discussion, let’s say your brand is simply what you mean to people. Before you can express what your brand means to others, you have to understand what your brand means to you. I highly recommend going through a simple exercise—a Brand Alignment.
Articulate your best attributes. Identify a Unique Selling Proposition. Wrestle with your Brand Promise. Talk about aspirational things your people can own. Ask out loud, what is our reason for being? Or, as we trendy types like to say, “what is our ‘why?’”
These are worthwhile pursuit that will certainly bear fruit. Your marketing will be more cohesive and it will work harder. But there is one goal of the Brand Alignment exercise I insist upon for my clients that seems to crystalize the brand for everyone. It’s not your mission statement, and it’s often separate from your tagline or campaign theme.
Your battlecry is your stake in the ground: a simple, essential phrase only you can say that at once inspires your people and invariably separates you from competitors.
So before you invest in a website, before you launch that campaign, before you craft that promotion, ask yourself, “What’s my battlecry?” Once you have it in place, you’re well on your way to not only marketing more effectively, but creating a brand you’re proud of.