Brand Strategy

Six Free Resources to Help Define Your Brand Without Hiring an Agency

We’ve compiled some team exercises to help define your brand that you can implement today!

In our 20 plus years of building brands in Atlanta we have witnessed first-hand the benefit businesses experience from having a focused and strategic brand. Unfortunately, most young or fast-growing businesses rarely have the budget or time to hire a branding or marketing partner to help define their brand.

Because of this, it’s not at all uncommon for these companies to create their own materials internally or in tandem with freelance designers. While this approach can create a professional appearance, rarely is the end result a brand that uniquely stands out from its competition. Thankfully most of their competition is doing the same thing, so they find themselves in a sea of sameness with everyone selling the need for their industry versus educating the customer as to why they are the best partner for their needs.

We at Reckon feel a strategic approach to branding should not be beholden to only those who have the money to hire professional support. To address this, we created some simple resources and exercises you can lead your team through today to start to define your brand. 

Please understand we are in no way implying that these free resources should replace the guidance a branding or marketing partnership can provide. But we do promise that the results of these brand definition exercises will promote clarity, consistency, and an increased ROI on any immediate efforts you make. And when you are ready to hire a professional, you’ll be working from a stronger place to craft even stronger materials.

Steps to Define Your Brand

Regardless of what “proprietary” name they may call them, these 3 exercises are most commonly utilized in the brand definition engagement you’d get when hiring a branding agency:

  1. 1 – Defining your brand essence
  2. 2 – Identifying your brand archetype
  3. 3 – Crafting your brand positioning statement

These exercises create a foundation for your outbound efforts because they are supported by competitive research and interviews. This foundation allows you to uniquely address the needs of your potential customer, and to convey why you are the best choice among others in your space. This can take time and requires a certain level of skill to ensure the results are being applied correctly.

Since that kind of partnership isn’t in the cards for everyone, we have created six free exercises you can complete internally to take the first steps to define your brand:

Exercise #1 — Brand Awareness

The first exercise is in lieu of heavy research. Have your key brand stakeholders fill out this worksheet as they review your top three competitors’ websites just as your potential customer may. Then, use the same criteria to evaluate your own site as objectively as you can. Very quickly you’ll likely identify everyone is saying nearly the same thing, selling what they do instead of what’s unique about them. This exercise also helps keep you from developing similar content which allows your story to be that much more memorable.
> Download Worksheet #1

Exercise #2 — Brand Personification

Call it “Archetypes for Dummies,” but having your team select which famous actor would be the best spokesperson for your company can provide valuable insight. It can inspire discussion about how your brand should walk and talk, just like identifying your archetype would. Brands are living organisms and associating yours with a famous person helps align your team on how you should be behaving as an entity.
> Download Worksheet #2

Exercise #3 — Brand Qualities

This exercise is not quite as in-depth as identifying your Brand Essence, but it will help shed a light on how aligned your team may or may not be on how they’d describe your brand. While the adjectives they pick are helpful, it’s the conversations about why the words are chosen which get to the deeper attributes, helping your brand stand out.
> Download Worksheet #3

Exercise #4 – Brand Values

In this exercise, you’ll see sets of adjectives on opposite ends of a column. These adjectives aren’t good or bad, but they help identify where on the spectrum you stand for some key brand virtues. Just like the brand awareness website audit, charting out your competition will likely identify a lot of similarities and unearth opportunities for your brand to carve out more unique messaging.
> Download Worksheet #4

Exercise #5 – Brand Statements

The goal of this exercise is to begin unearthing your company’s “why”. Today’s customer looks to align themselves with brands who have the same values they do. Understanding “why” you do what you do (beyond making money) helps you begin to tell a story that is much more emotional and memorable for your audience.
> Download Worksheet #5

Exercise #6 – Brand Consistency

Brand consistency can be reviewed by looking at how your customer experiences your brand. By filling out a customer profile worksheet, not only will you document what your team feels is most important to your ideal customer, but you’ll also be able to chart out a customer’s brand journey and identify who is responsible for each step. Once this process is formalized you can then ensure each brand stakeholder is speaking from the same platform, creating consistency and increased awareness on why you are the best choice for your potential customer.
> Download Worksheet #6

After completing these 6 exercises, not only will you have identified some critical information about your brand, but more importantly your team will be aligned on what you are about. Alignment leads to consistency. Consistency leads to uniqueness. Uniqueness leads to increased ROI on any marketing spend you’ll make moving forward.

Need Some Guidance?

A few questions or surprises may arise during this process, and we are here to help as needed. Please reach out, and we’d be happy to offer a free 30-minute consultation to share our thoughts on your results and how to act against them.

We have also created a video which discusses the importance of defining your brand and briefly walks through each of these exercises. The video may be a good way to introduce your team to this topic and why you are having them complete these exercises.