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The Brand Strategy Canvas: a One-Page Strategy for Startups

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(First, grab a copy of the Brand Strategy Canvas at brandstrategycanvas.com)

Branding is hard for startups. News flash: It’s hard for everyone. So we built a tool to make it easier.

A clear-cut path for startups toward a rock-solid foundation for their brand. It’s the Brand Strategy Canvas—a single-page, step-by-step formula that serves as a starting point for a stronger brand.

Who are we? Advertising-slash-startup vets at one of the largest independent agencies around. We’ve spun years of experience into the Canvas, turning brand strategy into a process, not a philosophy.

Published in: Marketing
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The Brand Strategy Canvas: a One-Page Strategy for Startups

  1. 1. THE ONE-PAGE BRAND a strategy for startups © 2014 archer>malmo ventures archermalmo.com/ventures
  2. 2. GRAB A COPY OF THE CANVAS BrandStrategyCanvas.com
  3. 3. 3
  4. 4. WHEN BRAND MATTERS FOR STARTUPS at product-market fit
  5. 5. 5
  6. 6. WHERE BRAND MATTERS FOR STARTUPS across the customer lifecycle
  7. 7. 7 ACQUISITION ACTIVATION RETENTION REFERRAL REVENUE
  8. 8. execution vs. strategy
  9. 9. 9 NAME LOGO SITE CREATIVE DIRECTION RESEARCH & ANALYSIS STRATEGY EXECUTION ESSENCE POSITIONING PERSONALITY VALUES THE CANVAS ZONE
  10. 10. 10
  11. 11. an example
  12. 12. 12 NOTE: This is just an example. Zappos did not ask us to develop their brand strategy canvas. Though it would be cool if they did.
  13. 13. Customer/User Insight What do people think and feel regarding the category? How are you relevant to those needs or desires? What problem(s) do you solve for them? What benefits of your company/product are most valuable to them? What most strongly influences their decisions in this category?
  14. 14. Customer/User Insight They are comfortable buying apparel online (and do so often), but shoes can be a hassle because of fit, comfort, and style variables, "trying them on" is very important; they want quality, not just low prices; looking for a painless shopping experience
  15. 15. Competitive Environment What concepts and conventions define the category? Who are your direct and indirect competitors? What defines them? Where is the strategic void in the market? Are you disrupting the category in any way?
  16. 16. Competitive Environment Limited-inventory clearance sites, high-end luxury-centric retailers, or online versions of existing brick-and-mortar shoe retailers; most follow a category non-specific ecommerce approach, i.e. the overall experience is not tailored specifically for shoe shopping; various policies regarding shipping and returns; customer service experience varies greatly between online-only and offline/online retailers
  17. 17. Company/Product Features What is the simplest description of your product and what it does? What aspects of that are different from everyone else?
  18. 18. Company/Product Features Zappos is an online retailer that removes all the problems of buying shoes on the web. Our culture of service, web experience and shipping policies are superior to all others in the category, online and offline.
  19. 19. Rational Benefits What are the tangible benefits of the product? Which benefit is unique or most important?
  20. 20. Rational Benefits Responsive and helpful customer service on the website, via email, and over the phone, available 24 hours from well-trained employees; a well-designed user experience; extensive product selection, all with many sizes and styles available; fast, free shipping and returns; 365-day return policy
  21. 21. Emotional Benefits What are the intangible benefits of the product? Which benefit is unique or most important?
  22. 22. Emotional Benefits Confidence in the selection and purchase process ; satisfaction in the quality of the experience; enjoyment of the product discovery process; trust in the depth of product offering and the competitive (though not discount) pricing; convenience of a one-stop shopping experience; delight in the level and manner of service
  23. 23. this is the centerpiece of the brand strategy it follows a specific formula designed to be comprehensive and useful 23
  24. 24. YOUR POSITIONING STATEMENT SHOULD MEET ALL 5 CRITERIA: IMPORTANT UNIQUE BELIEVABLE ACTIONABLE SUSTAINABLE
  25. 25. Audience For: Who are they and what is their most important psychographic need or desire as it relates to the brand’s category?
  26. 26. Audience For: Who are they and what is their most important psychographic need or desire as it relates to the brand’s category? frequent online shoppers with high expectations
  27. 27. Description what is the simplest description of the product? or what is the broader, more strategic frame of reference for the product? is
  28. 28. Description what is the simplest description of the product? or what is the broader, more strategic frame of reference for the product? is Zappos the digital shopping service
  29. 29. Benefit What is the unique, primary benefit or point of difference of the product? that:
  30. 30. Benefit What is the unique, primary benefit or point of difference of the product? that: delivers category-defining customer service
  31. 31. Proof What are the factual, meaningful and provable reasons to believe the primary benefit or point of difference? because:
  32. 32. Proof What are the factual, meaningful and provable reasons to believe the primary benefit or point of difference? because: we hire and train for an empathetic culture, provide an optimal web experience and offer a vast selection with fast, free shipping & returns
  33. 33. Payoff What is the ultimate emotional payoff for the customer or user? Does it answer the need in the audience section? so that:
  34. 34. Payoff What is the ultimate emotional payoff for the customer or user? Does it answer the need in the audience section? so that: every customer is wowed.
  35. 35. Brand Essence What is the core idea or defining concept of the brand? Is it tangible or attitudinal? (Unique, succinct, pithy, and ideally 2-4 words.) Deliver WOW
  36. 36. brand essence: Deliver WOW For frequent online shoppers with high expectations, Zappos is the digital shopping service that delivers category-defining customer service because we hire and train for an empathetic culture, provide an optimal web experience and offer a vast selection with fast, free shipping & returns so that every customer is wowed. 36
  37. 37. DOES IT MEET ALL 5 CRITERIA? IMPORTANT UNIQUE BELIEVABLE ACTIONABLE SUSTAINABLE
  38. 38. Company Values What are the values of the company? (Usually expressed as nouns.) How do the values of the founders influence company values? How do company values influence your product, culture, or customers?
  39. 39. Company Values Service, frugality, flexibility, humility, fun, openness , personal growth, constant improvement
  40. 40. Brand Personality What are the brand’s human characteristics? (Usually expressed as adjectives.)
  41. 41. Brand Personality light-hearted, quirky, positive, passionate, empathetic
  42. 42. Key Messages What’s your story? What are the most important and differentiating aspects of the brand? How can you define them as quickly and interestingly as possible?
  43. 43. Key Messages We are powered by service. We create a culture of happiness. We’re a service company that happens to sell shoes. Deliver WOW.
  44. 44. WHAT NOW? • Work alone, then discuss as a team • Test all design and messaging against choices your made on your canvas • Regularly check your assumptions against the 5 positionining statement criteria
  45. 45. P. S. See our SXSW talk: “When Bad Names Happen to Good Startups” 45 http://bit.ly/BetterNames
  46. 46. THANKS! 46 Please share with a startup in need. BrandStrategyCanvas.com Questions? Email pwoods@archermalmo.com and check out archermalmo.com/ventures

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