Many of the branding projects I have worked on begin with a problem.

“We don’t seem to be able to raise as much money as our peers”.

“We have declining customer counts”.

“We can’t agree on what to say about ourselves so we can’t agree on a corporate brochure or web site”.

It is usually the case that the underlying problem is that there hasn’t been a methodical process designed to arrive at a conclusion about what we stand for, even though we may think we already know. It is a common problem. Without this central conclusion or definition, the most important thing about you is left up to individual interpretation. I am a big fan of democracy, but not at the expense of an articulated common belief about what we are doing. Besides, if you can’t describe your effort in a compelling way, maybe someone else (like a competitor, or the press) will do it for you.

A branding process can help you straighten that out. The brand positioning is the start. It identifies the target based on a value that all the target segments have in common. Like a belief or value that drives choices. Like the need for speed or the need to reduce stress or a thing for Western Swing.

Next is the all important, but often not sexy choice set or the second thing you normally say about yourself… “I’m from Go Figure. We ‘re a (whatever). The (whatever) describes what you are one of. We’re a hospital. A grocery store. An IPhone app. A honky tonk. It defines your place in the world of endless choice so that somebody can understand anything about you that follows.

What follows is the most compelling benefit. The thing that makes you better, faster, smarter or different than the other (whatevers). Like “We’re the honky tonk that only books Top 10 acts. Or has a mechanical bull with a NASCAR motor. Or invented line dancing.

Now you have a platform that will help you explain yourself. What target we live for, what we are one of and, of those, which one we are. So, “I’m from Bullarkies, the honky tonk that has six dogs that dance the Cotton Eyed Joe. If you have a thing for Western Swing and dogs, you’ll love us.”

So, are we at the end of it? No. The beginning? We better be.