We have written a number of articles delving into the world of branding. We have looked at what branding is and explored the misconception that it is just a logo. We have a three-part series which gives a great overview of the reasons your organisation or company may want to rebrand. 

In this series we will look at some of the ways you can understand your brand more clearly, to ensure it represents who you are, and helps you connect with your customers.

We have curated a series of exercises which we want to share with you in order to help you capture what the key brand attributes of your company are and who your target customer is. We will give you the tools to create detailed and realistic customer profiles to test ideas against. You will then  work to identify short and long term, quantifiable goals. We believe that these exercises will help you think deeply about your organisation, enabling you to define exactly what it is you do well and what you want to do better. 

What are the Key Brand Attributes?

Firstly you will start out by defining what it is that makes your company unique; what its personality is, or what you envisage it being. 

We have broken down these descriptors into six areas or brand attributes, which you can think about and explore. Each category relates to a specific area or aspect of your business and how it creates impressions on those who come into contact with it. This will enable you to build a very clear picture of what you want your brand to say about your business, very quickly.

The key attributes to explore are: 

  • Culture
  • Customers
  • Voice
  • Feeling
  • Impact
  • Distinction

Some of these brand attributes are clearer than others, so here is a brief overview of what each of them means and why they’re important.

Culture

Culture relates to how your community would describe you. It can be helpful to ask the people who work for and with you what is the culture of your office or workplace. It may be surprising that you are starting out by focusing on how an organisation's values and personality is perceived by those that work for it. 

When we run this exercise as part of our workshop we emphasise the need for no judgement of people’s assertions. When completing this yourself it’s recommended that you get a range of stakeholders involved, especially across larger organisations, as this can create a space to show where values or impressions differ or have become misaligned. It can also show where there is consensus. It is also a good idea to include stakeholders across the business hierarchy as well, not just senior staff, as their experience of your business’ culture may differ and it’s important to capture this.

Starting with the office or work environment and culture is an easy way in also easier for some as it is there every day and doesn’t require stepping into your customers’ shoes. 

Examples of brand attributes for culture may be:

  • Friendly
  • Professional
  • Perfectionist - or values excellence
  • Demanding
  • Caring

Customers

This attribute is fairly self explanatory, as it describes what your ideal customer is like. It's important with this that you don’t only limit to your current customer base if your objective with this rebrand is to branch out. It’s important to understand who you are aiming for! These attributes will tend to be more factual and less abstract, looking at particular demographic characteristics, but it can also describe personality types such as :

  • Outgoing
  • Teachable
  • Introverted

Voice

This attribute concerns how your organisation sounds to others. 

Every interaction whether it's interpersonal, printed in marketing or digital will give an impression of tone of voice. A great example of a clear brand voice is someone like Innocent Drinks who are cheeky, playful, and well, innocent! Possible suggestions for words which describe voice are:

  • Authoritative
  • Friendly
  • Motherly
  • Cheeky
  • Vulgar
  • Informed

Feeling

This is one of the harder attributes to define as it relates to what someone feels after they have interacted with you. Though again this should be your goal, not necessarily your reality. Few people want their customer to leave feeling frustrated or cross, so think of what positive emotional associations you particularly want your client or customer to leave with. This attribute requires some nuance and depth as whilst it’s generally the case you want your customer to leave happy, that may look slightly different or be framed in a specific way. These could be:

  • Enlightened
  • Satisfied
  • Reassured
  • Accomplished
  • Excited

Impact

For some organisations this attribute may seem similar to feelings. However impact specifically looks at the tangible impact you have on others. This is where you may wish to think of the specific services you are providing as a company or what you are specifically doing for your users. In some respect this could also relate to your employees or members of your organisation also, an example being the Co-operative or John lewis and Partners - For these companies a large part of their brand is about their organisational structure and how they treat those that work for them. It;s hard to draw up a list of examples for impact as with services ranging vastly from sector to sector, so does impact. However it things to think of are 

  • What is the financial impact on your customer
  • Are they taking away a product
  • Are they using a specific service -what does that help them achieve?
  • How is their life easier or better after their interaction with you?

Distinction

This attribute can be summarised as what makes you unique? What makes you stand out from services or organisations which are similar to yours? In sales speak this is your USP. It may relate to a service only you can provide - but it may also relate to your approach or level of service or price point. When considering this attribute it can be helpful to name competitors in your sector. Thinking about what makes them distinctive, and your likes and dislikes of how they are.

Once you have examined each of the brand attributes and drawn up lists of key words and phrases you have a powerful resource of information about your organisation. You will be able to explain quickly to new company members or external organisations, what you are like and what you value, achieving a deep level of understanding of your company.

Statement of Intent

Once this resource is compiled you can extrapolate the attribute you feel is the most important. From this you can craft ‘a statement of intent’. This is a couple of sentences which encapsulate exactly what your aim as a company is. 

In our workshops we utilise a rapid response technique, going as wide as possible to pull in all descriptions before narrowing it down to the core attributes which best define your company or organisation. You can do something similar. You want to aim to have one key word or phrase for each attribute which is the most important for you. 

The result should look something like this:

‘Drip filter Coffee Shop provides sustainably sourced, freshly roasted coffee to coffee connoisseurs in an edgy environment with a quirky voice. Helping them feel invigorated and be confident in the taste and quality of their purchase.’

The statement of intent can be a benchmark for your brand and a metric for measuring if your actions are communicating that intent through your brand. It is also a short clear explanation of what and who you are for all your stakeholders.

What Next ?

In the next article in this series we will be looking closer at customer profiles and exploring how you can write and create these invaluable tools for yourself.

In the meantime if you have enjoyed learning more about key attributes and are intrigued to know more we offer a range of workshops where you can work through guided exercises.

We offer group workshop alongside other business owners, giving you the opportunity to network and ideate together as well as work through the exercises with one of our branding team. You can find any upcoming workshop details on our Eventbrite page.

Or you may wish to consider one of our one of our one on one business workshops. This is perfect for businesses who want to explore these branding exercises further entirely around your context with your stake holders all getting involved in the exercises, more input creates better results. 

If this is something your would be interested in then please get in touch with Euan Lockwood to arrange a call. You can schedule a time through Calendly, email or call me on 0330 2233 182.