by Dan Crask, Creative Director & Co-Owner, Brand Shepherd
Brand development for products is an exercise of examining what the brand is and is not, and then codifying those discoveries in a way that the brand owner(s) and stakeholder(s) can easily leverage to grow the brand.
Quick hit examples might look like…
- Our product is for a specific type of people.
- Our product is for the general population.
- Our product is for women, usually, Baby Boomers, who live alone.
- Our product is for up-and-coming GenZ who live in households that earn $75k/year or less.
- Our products rethink the way people do a common task.
- And so on.
Developing product brands comes from a great process, and I believe there are four key ingredients to creating something special.
This series is called The 5 Key Ingredients To Creating An Exceptional Product Brand, and I will share what each key ingredient is and why it is important.
You will walk away from each key ingredient with something actionable for your product brand.
Here is what I know to be the first of the 4 key ingredients for building a brand:
Part 1: The Brand’s Voice
The brand is always speaking, always communicating.
Product brands are always persuading, selling, and providing delight for their users.
But what is the tone of voice the brand uses? What words, specifically, make up its lexicon?
Would the brand use humor or maturity to describe itself?
Does the product brand know what is important to its users – what they find valuable?
Speaking of value, does the product brand share the same current values that its users do?
While it’s true that the brand should reflect the values and even personalities of its key stakeholders, the brand ought to present as an entity of its own: Its own personality, unique value propositions, and tone of voice.
Developing the brand voice is done through a number of exercises with key stakeholders, product managers/owners, and user research – all with guidance from experts who know how to sort and organize the information into useful, actionable data.
There are 3 exercises that can be done to define a product brand voice:
- Developing a set of words (lexicon), a list of things the brand would never do or say. This should be in an organized set of words, such as a word cloud where common words are visually larger and seldom-used words are visually smaller, or even a spreadsheet can be used to list the product brand’s lexicon.
- Tell the origin story of the brand. Where did it start and in what context? Did the brand start out as a response to a challenge, opportunity, or problem to be solved? People like stories, so this is the place to tell the brand’s story.
- Visualize the lifestyle(s) where the brand thrives. Pinterest is a fantastic resource for doing this because you can create Boards for each lifestyle and then pin anything – images, video, other similar brands, etc. – to that board. What’s more, you can make the Board private for in-house use or Public to let your customers see where the brand belongs. And most importantly, Boards can have multiple people contributing content (Pins) to. The purpose here is to create a collection of like-minded images, beliefs, and content where your product brand would thrive. Consider it like a garden of rich soil where your brand would really grow well.
These are just 3 of many exercises that can be used, and a brand development pro is going to use the exercises that are proven successful for their process and/or are best suited for your brand.
The end result is a foundational element to the fully-developed brand: The brand voice.
And this is crucial because if the product brand is on the flip side of all this, and doesn’t know its users’ values, doesn’t speak its users’ language, and so on, it will take a lot more effort to regain lost trust. Sometimes it is impossible to be seen in a relevant light and the brand is lost.
So this is the first ingredient for good reason: It’s foundational to creating an exceptional product brand.
In the next segment, I’ll cover The Brand’s Customer Personas. This is where we define who the brand is talking to.
If this has helped you identify that your product brand needs to define its voice, please get in touch. Brand Shepherd would be delighted to consider working alongside your product brand.
The Full Key Ingredient Series
Part 1: The Brand’s Voice
Part 2: Customer Personas
Part 3: Brand Identity
Part 4: The “Why?”
Part 5: The Chef