10 Questions to Kick Off Your Branding Project

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10 Questions to Kick Off Refining Your Brand

We use the 10 questions in this worksheet at the start of every branding project. Whether you're building, refreshing or simply refining your brand, these questions set the foundation for the process and help guide the creative to its full potential. Use this worksheet as a tool to inform your internal team, your agency or design firm partner, or to gain a deeper understanding of your brand's landscape.

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How to fix your Elevator Speech

How to fix your Elevator Speech

How many of these messages have been written for your company? A tagline, slogan, or value proposition?

How about your purpose, cause, passion, or why? An elevator speech, one-liner, brand promise? A brand manifesto, vision statement, mission statement? Other?

Knowing which type of message will be most effective in talking with customers can be flat out overwhelming.

What Do You Do?

“What do you do” is the question that’s asked by every person that visits your website. If you’re like most businesses, you are not doing a good enough job clearly and effectively answering. If people don’t understand why they need your products or how your services will solve their problem, then you are missing out on opportunities.

While all these types of messages may have their place – the bottom line is – you need a message that answers that question, unifies everyone in your organization, and helps grow your company.

Don’t Do This – the Template

Here’s a template many businesses use.
[Claim of Expertise + Who We Help and How].
That might look like this:
“We are (Firm), the leading (expertise) firm to the (geographic or vertical) market. We help (client type) to (benefit) and (benefit).”

This tells people facts about you, where you are located, and maybe even how your product works. But the problem is this approach fails to describe what you do in a way that helps people understand why they need your services.

“We have a story problem.”

Seth Godin wrote: “The difference between data and information is Story. When there’s simply data, it’s all noise. It’s impossible for a human being to absorb data without a narrative. Once we figure out how to turn your features and ideas and benefits and effort into a story, though, it becomes information. And then we can act on it. We have a story problem. All of us do. We’re not doing a good job of developing the empathy to turn all the data we’ve assembled into a story that others can understand.”

In other words, facts tell, and stories sell. Instead of telling people how your product works, enlighten your customers about how your product works to solve their problem.


Use This – the Template

To invite customers into a story, you only need three parts:
1. Start off by stating the problem that most of your clients face
2. Talk about your solution to the problem
3. Explain the success your customer will experience after you solve their problem.

At Sussner Design Co we call this message your Brand Statement. This is the powerful sentence that tells everybody what you do and the problem you solve; it works as your elevator speech, in website messaging, your social media, and more. But regardless of what name you choose to give it, this message format will work for you.

As long as you remain clear, and avoid using too much of your industry’s jargon, there’s no one right way to bring these three parts together. This is where the writer in you can get a bit creative. Here are examples of how these three parts look in a few of our customers’ brand statements:

REV Real Estate: Buying, selling, or remodeling your property can be overwhelming. That’s why we make sure you have the information, the plan, and the support you need to feel completely confident in your decision.

Focus 33: Focus 33 is the go-to commercial printer for businesses that want their projects done efficiently, expertly, affordably, beautifully, and free of drama. Our process does all of that and more. We focus on you. You focus on yours.

Union Bank & Trust: It can be difficult to find a financial institution you feel confident is dedicated to you or your organization’s best interests. When you have the right team behind you, you can dream about wherever you want your financial freedom to take you.


Problem + Solution = Success

Make sure your message clearly outlines the problem you help your customers solve in a simple, relevant, and repeatable way. This positions you as the guide and your customers as the hero. Talking about the positive results someone will experience if they buy your product is the most compelling way to answer the question, “What do you do?”

Many brands get lost in the crowd. At Sussner Design Company we create standout brand identities that help marketing leaders re-energize their brands, gain a competitive edge, and achieve outstanding results. As a StoryBrand Certified Guide, I can help you get your message right so your marketing is more effective. If you would like to talk about your messaging, email derek@sussner.com or call 612-339-2886.

Here’s to finally be able to tell people what you do!
Derek Sussner

PS. Getting your messaging right is the first step in building an effective marketing plan. For details on the five items in a Sales Funnel, download our free Marketing Checklist here: https://bit.ly/sdco-marketingchecklist and get started growing your business today.