Brand Positioning Checklist for Startups

Brand Positioning Checklist for Startups

You don't need any design whatsoever when you haven't clarified what exactly you are trying to communicate, who exactly you are trying to communicate to, and what they are really craving to hear/see.

As a branding agency, we have seen people come to us with business ideas, products & services, contract opportunities that they’re trying to seize. And then they come to us for branding – they need a logo, letterhead, business card, profile design, social media banners, website, etc.

But then, we ask them questions about what makes them different from the other similar brands out there that we know about and what exactly they seek to communicate as their own selling point or competitive advantage. We ask them about their vision, their mission, their value proposition, and few adjectives that describe them as a business.

The painful thing is, 80% of the encounters, our clients just mumble words – saying what others have said and re-inventing the wheels. A lot of time, they just want us to create some beautiful designs, no vision, no mission, no idea of who they’re competing against, no idea of who their target market is and how many segments they comprise.

And then, such clients want to win big in business and grow sustainably. That’s where the irony is. Whenever positioning fails, branding will also fail regardless how beautiful. Gaining clarity of your brand positioning is what makes your branding effective. 

So, what are the clarity questions in a brand positioning checklist that you should ask yourself?

  1. Who are the people who really need this thing I want to venture into?
  2. What are their pains, their desires, their dreams? And how does my idea address everyone of these?
  3. How are the people easily triggered to make buying decisions?
  4. How do they already see what I’m about to bring up? Do they even have any awareness of it yet?
  5. Are there existing alternatives to this idea or even better substitutes in the market based on functionality & ease of use?
  6. Can the people who need this idea really pay what it takes to sustain it? How do they weigh the problem this idea solves? Is it a must-have or just a nice-to-have?
  7. If there is a viable market already and there are already-existing brands serving the market, what are they not saying, addressing or paying attention to that can serve as my own competitive advantage?
  8. How many market segments are available to which I can push my product/services? For instance, a singular product can have students, athletes and health-conscious individuals as market segments. Each of these market segments has a peculiar reason for buying the product. An example is Glucose or Milk.

    The end value of Glucose to an athlete is winning a race. But for a student, it’s passing an examination. So, multiple market segments can mean multiple brand stories.

These are questions that can help you to know what your stakes are with whatever idea or product you’re calling “the next world changer”. These questions will help you to position yourself.

Until you have done this, you really do not need a logo or a website. Position your products/services first before starting any branding exercise. When you don’t know who you serve, what you serve & who you’re competing against, don’t blame your brand designer for a failed project.

Painting is not what makes the building stand strong. Foundational structure is what does that.

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