Developing techniques and strategies for established brands is well documented, but what if you are the new kid on the block, where do you begin? Deciding upon your brand’s offer is crucial, but so is identification of its audience. In many ways you are in the driving seat and much of the approach is aspirational. Assuming you have a sound business plan and strategy you should have a fair idea of where you are going. But it is important to consider all options with an open mind, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of each possible direction.
Brand archetypes and narratives are useful tools for developing established brands, but they can also be useful in clarifying directions for positioning new brands.
In brand development, style boards have long been an aid to visualising a brand’s positioning – using pictures from magazines and such to paint a picture of archetypal users and their lifestyles. A similar technique that I have used for new brands is establishing brand cohorts. Logos of 100 established brands are used in workshops where new brand owners choose no more than six which they see as the most appropriate cohorts for their brand in terms of values. (Currently we are involved in a survey of brand values to quantify key properties to enable us to apply brand value analysis (BVA) to the process).
This can be a useful exercise to establish and explore options: and that is the key. These approaches don’t provide solutions, but optional directions. There is rarely one solution – these techniques deal with values and positioning options. There are other options to consider: financial, logistical, capacity, resource, sustainability. For each optional direction you should have a simple table with just four columns – ‘For’, ‘Against’, ‘Action’ and ‘Outcome’.