The 4 Areas of Understanding

When developing a new brand strategy, we must first seek to understand these four key areas:
1. Ourselves
2. Our Audience
3. Our Competition
4. The Environment

The 4 Areas of Understanding

Are you launching a new offering, it could be a new business, it could be
a new product, it could be a new initiative. Or is a business or product that you own or manage, facing a major point of transition? It could be a change of ownership, or a broader industry shift, that has forced you to re-evaluate your position. Well then you might be considering developing a brand strategy. This strategy will help you define your vision, identify your audience and develop the position that will lay the foundation for all of your creative and strategic decisions going forward. And that will better enable you to reach your business goals. But before we can start crafting this strategy and imagining this vision there are 4 key areas that we need to first understand.

1. Ourselves

The first area of understanding is understanding ourselves. Who are we? What do we do? Why do we do it? What do we value? What do we stand for? What are our goals? What are we awesome at? What are we not so awesome at? And if you’re working with a client, it’s really important to get “what are non-negotiables about who you are?”

If your brand already exists and you’re undertaking this process
because you want to re-imagine what your brand is, it’s important to start
by looking at all of your creative and brand assets. As this will give you a good starting baseline of where you’re currently at.

Understanding ourselves, especially our vision, our strengths, our values
and our goals, is absolutely essential in developing an effective brand strategy.

2. Our Audience

The second area that we need to understand is our audience. So, who are the people that we’re serving? Or who are the people that we should be serving? Why do they need the thing that we’re offering? What’s important to them? Where do they hang out? What do they like? What motivates them? Are they growing or are they shrinking?

There’s a lot of questions that we can ask to learn more about our audience
and depending on what our offering is, that audience could be more or less
less specific, and the insights about the audience you might focus on
could be different.

For example: if offering a service that targets a very specific industry
understanding your audience needs may provide more valuable insights
than focusing on the audience demographics.

3. Our Competition

It’s very important that we take the time to understand our competitive landscape. How can we develop a position that differentiates us from our competition, if we don’t take the time to understand what the position is of our competitors?

We already touched on one of the first steps in understanding ourselves
if we’re an existing brand, is by auditing our own creative assets. We need to take this same approach when looking at our competitors. So research their website, look at their social media, look at all of their advertising, look at any creative assets you can get your hands on and when it’s possible even investigate the experience that they provide.

This will allow you to see how your competitors are positioning themselves, who they’re targeting, their style and approach, what they are doing well, and where there is opportunity.

And remember, your competitors are not limited to what you may perceive
as your direct competition. Think about what you’re offering and then consider all of the other possible ways that your audience could have that need fulfilled.

4. Our Environment

So this may sound broad and that’s because it kind of is. Basically we’re looking at all of the external factors that may affect what we’re trying to accomplish.
Some of the environmental factors to consider are culture, politics, regulations, technology and consumer trends.

Just like with understanding our competition it can be incredibly helpful to not limit our focus to only things that are specific to our industry.
Often times, other categories or sectors may have experienced shifts and these shifts may provide insight into changes that are on the horizon or changes that could be impacting consumer expectations across the board.

So those are the 4 areas of understanding. And it’s important to remember that just because you understand these 4 areas, doesn’t mean that your brand strategy is now going to write itself, or become evident to anyone who has this same understanding. But honestly, this is where the fun part starts. So you take that understanding, apply your own creativity, apply your intuition, connect the dots, craft the narrative and develop a position that is most likely to achieve your goals.

If you liked this video, please follow me. Give it a like, give it a comment. Subscribe to see more videos about creative strategy and brand strategy. I’m Philip Agnello from Philip Agnello Creative Consulting and thank you so much for watching.

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