How to Build a Brand Part 2: Define the Mission

In the process of defining your target audience, you will realize your brand can’t be everything to everyone. Your success hangs on your ability to clearly define a positioning statement that carves out your niche in the market. In just a sentence or two, you should identify the purpose of your brand and its value to the consumer.

In the first part of our How to Build A Brand series, we looked at two shaving product companies. Harry’s brand mission statement, “You deserve a great shave at a fair price,” identifies the purpose of the company and the buyer’s benefit. But Harry’s mission statement goes beyond the purpose of the company’s work. The founders are committed to reinvesting 1% of all sales “to charitable organizations that share our ambition to bring quality mental health care to men everywhere.” By addressing the “messiness of masculinity,” Harry’s hopes to expand quality mental health care to men and boys worldwide.

Consider your brand’s purpose. Think about two distinct points:

  • What does your product or service do?
  • How does your product or service benefit the consumer?

Formulate a mission statement in one to two sentences that clearly identifies your brand and its purpose. Then, consider what your brand will stand for beyond serving customers. Harry’s mission is mental health care for men. Perhaps yours will be to invest in a local nonprofit in your community or creating a biodegradable or organic product line as a way of being more environmentally aware.

Finding a way to reinvest in your own community or your target audience is key to your success. Mintel research reveals a company’s charitable giving affects nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of Americans' purchase decisions. Your target audience is more likely to purchase from you when you support nonprofits, charities, or reinvest in your community. Find a purpose you’re passionate about and include that in your brand’s mission.

Set Your Brand Apart

To build a quality that offers value to consumers, you must study the competitors within your niche. Spend time on the social media platforms of your closest brand rivals. Take note at how their consumers engage with the brand and one another. Consider the questions they ask, the feedback they offer, and the requests they make of the competing brand. Use this information to create a strategy with how you’ll set your brand apart within your niche.

By researching what consumers like, dislike, and want more of, you can create your brand’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP). The USP is what distinguishes you from the competition and allows you to better solve your customer's needs. The Art of Shaving uses essential oils and botanical ingredients in their shaving products to set the company apart from other products on the market. By promoting this USP, The Art of Shaving is able to grab the attention of men looking for an upscale, high-quality shaving experience. What sets your product or service apart from other brands within your industry? Find the unique aspect of your brand and promote it on all platforms.

Brand Benefits

While the USP will help sell your product, you’ll need to explore the other benefits of your brand to create a strategic marketing plan aimed at grabbing the attention of your target audience. Remember that your brand’s benefits should be written from the consumer’s point of view. How does the product benefit the customer?

Will your product or service save the consumer time? Improve their health or wellbeing? Help them achieve sustainability targets? It’s your objective to promote your brand to your target audience, while understanding that today’s buyer is a mindful consumer.

The mindful consumer is ready to purchase but wants a great value from a trustworthy brand. Today’s consumer considers factors like:

  • Research. Today’s buyer actively seeks information about a brand before making a purchase. An estimated 88 percent of consumers pre-research their buys online before making a purchase either online or in-store.
  • Social proof. Buyers turn to social media every day for recommendations on products or services they need. Around three-quarters (74%) of shoppers make buying decisions based on social media. Whether it’s a social influencer or a trusted family member or friend, your target audience is turning to social media profiles for evidence of a highly recommended product.
  • Social mission. Customers are mindful of the social and environmental impacts of their purchases. They want to buy from brands that use responsibly sourced materials and take precautions to limit their ecological footprint.

Each of these factors will affect if your target audience finds value in your brand. It’s not enough to have a great product. Consumers want to feel good about what they buy and from whom they buy it.

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