Nigel Roberts

In part 1, we looked at what a brand is and why it can be more important to the success of a start-up than the product or service that it’s building.

In this blog, we’re going to look at how you can define your start-up’s brand and what this will mean to how you are perceived by everyone who comes into contact with you.

Defining your brand


The first step to defining your brand is to ensure that you have a clear value proposition.

‘Value prop’ is a term that is often used but seldom really understood. At its core, it’s simply a statement detailing the value that your organisation actually offers. Its primary purpose is to define the value your customers receive beyond the cost of purchase ie. they will get out more than they put in.

Having a clearly defined value proposition will inform your messaging across every aspect of your physical and online presence, as well as the way you do business.

Breaking down the value prop

US Inventor Charles Kettering once said: “a problem well stated is a problem half solved.” Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of diving headlong into the solution before really understanding the problem they’re looking to solve.

Defining your value proposition involves answering these six questions to ensure that you truly understand the problem that your organisation is solving.

1. Who are your ideal customers?

Knowing your ideal customer is essential to ensuring that your value proposition positions your organisation as the best choice to meet their specific needs and solve their problems. And if it does that for them, why would they choose a competitor?

2. What are your customers’ needs?

What needs are you fulfilling that aren’t currently being met and how are you meeting that need better than your competitors?

3. What is the value of your solution?

What are the functional and emotional benefits your customers receive from using your solution? This is where you tell your customers why they should purchase from you and not your competitors.

4. What are your products and services?

Note that this isn’t the first thing to think about! Creating an effective brand is all about taking a customer-centric approach, so when defining which aspects of your products and services to focus on, ensure that you are including those that customers care most about and which best meet their needs.

5. Why should people believe you?

How can you demonstrate the value that you will deliver to customers? This might be case studies or testimonials, or other ways of showing that your solutions actually work. With all marketing, it’s much more effective to show people what you can do, rather than just tell them.

6. What makes you different?

Why are your products a better choice than your competitors’? It’s important to know how your competitors position themselves and then find your own highly-emotional unique benefit that resonates with your customer. What’s your unfair advantage?

Expressing your Value Proposition


Once your value proposition is defined, the next stage is to ensure that it is being effectively communication through your brand’s messaging, visual design and your marketing strategy.

Our next blog, we’ll look at how you can express your brand positioning through visual design and why this is so important.

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