Issue #003: Start with positioning

We’re going to get you unstuck. Now.

Team – thanks so much for writing in!

Like I said in the intro email, we’re in this together. Keep it coming. I love learning about you, your businesses, and where BB can help.

I hear you loud and clear. You know branding is critical but starting can be awkward. It’s easy to get stuck and feel frustrated.

Let’s get you unstuck.

I’m going to share something most brand people won’t tell you. Here it is:

It does not matter where you start. 

The doors are all in front of you – your product, your marketing, your customers. Any of them make good jumping-off points.

They will all take you on similar journeys.

Let’s take one of those paths as an example. I’ll choose product as the doorway here because it might be the most common one.

Product: Let’s say you sell tea. Really good, really cool tea. Let’s say that tea is harvested in a fair trade way (I know nothing about the tea industry, just go with me).

How can you begin to unearth your brand from here?

Use laddering. You start with a feature, connect it to a benefit, and keep exploring a connection back to emotions.

After establishing the feature and benefit, ask “Why?” several times to drive it forward and discover that connection.

Let’s do an example:

  • Feature: Tea is fair trade
    • Benefit: Product is ethical
      • Why {does that matter 1}?: Feel ethical when buying
        • Why {does that matter 2}?: Has a positive impact on the world
          • Why {does that matter 3}?: Can be proud of one’s self
            • Why {does that matter 4}?: We need to self-actualize in order to feel whole.

This would only be part of the picture. There’s should be a few key features that need laddering.

Before thinking about it this way, it seems far-fetched that fair trade tea could impact someone’s feeling of personal completeness.

But great brands are connected to the human condition.

Did this help? Hit me up on Twitter and let me know.

Killer Threads

Shameless self promo here. I asked DTC Twitter to weigh in on the best ways to grow a brand when you don’t have a big budget or following (I also had a gnarly typo).

But it got some great replies – check it out and expand all the comments. 

Brands to cop

I’m a wine lover and one brand that I love is Orin Swift. It’s run by a guy named Dave Phinney.

Take a look around – it does not look or feel like any other wine brand.

Some of the names of these bottles: 8 Years In The Desert, Machete, China Doll. These sound like punk bands, not wines.

And Phinney approaches wine like bands approach music.

The lesson here: When you’re in a crowded market, don’t be like the others. Stand out. Be authentic, but be noticeable.

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