October 19, 2022

Paul Sterett

Paul Sterett:

Welcome to the second installment of our 2023 Marketing Planning Webinar Series. Today, we’re gonna talk about why is a brand compass so important. And the conversation we’re gonna have is obviously, you might be asking the question, “What is a brand compass?” And, “How to create one? How to put your brand compass into action once you’ve created one? Beyond the creation, what do you do? And do you go do it yourself or do you get some help?” 

So, let’s take a look at what a brand compass is. So, a brand compass is really an, uh, an enterprise document that articulates the depth and the essence of your company. So, while it’s, you might have for a particular project, something like a creative brief for a, uh, video production that is specific to that project, a brand compass is really this enterprise document that, uh, guides everything that you do from a creative aspect and a, uh, your messaging to, uh, your potential, uh, prospects and internally as well. It’s rooted in your positioning and your reassurance statements. And we’ll talk a little bit more about that. 

It’s also, like I mentioned, a guidepost for your internal and external communication. From an internal standpoint, it is the language that you want your team to be very familiar with and to really understand how they interact with your customers. And from an external communication standpoint, this language that comes from your brand compass is something that you would use to create all of your assets and when you’re communicating to anybody. Whether it’s a current customer or if it’s a new prospect, you want to be able to clearly articulate the things about your company that are most important for them, but also resonate and, uh, make the biggest impact.

So, what is a brand compass? So, brand compass has these elements in it: what you do. Sometimes we can think that’s a little simplistic, but for those who are unable to clearly articulate what they do, um, we often take that for granted, and who do you do it for? So, understanding and articulating who you’re true target profile is for your potential customers. I think it’s so easy to fall into that trap of, “Who is your customer?” “Well, anybody.” Well, that’s not exactly right. 

So, a-a brand compass articulates what you do, but also helps you flesh out and go deeper into who you do it for. And it also helps distinguish you from your competitors. There’s nothing worse than being in a particular market, in a particular industry and you can go from one website to the next, change the logo, change a few words and you really (laughs) got the same thing. So, going deep into a brand compass and, um, taking the time and doing the work that’s involved in mapping out the distinction between you and your competitors and really bringing that to life into some vivid language is really important and it’s gonna, it’s gonna help not only through all of your marketing, um, your, uh, team, uh, their communication about what you do and for whom you do it and your external marketing and advertising. Being able to distinguish for yourself from your competitors in real clear vivid language is incredibly important and it will, uh, produce a lot of results for you.

So, how do you create a brand compass? So first, you need time. This takes time. When we do a brand compass, we set aside sufficient number of, uh, hours to meet together. Essentially, it’s, it’s a in depth interview, um, and you oftentimes need to engage somebody to help you with this because as, uh, David C. Baker likes to say, “It’s a very difficult to read, you know, the label from inside the bottle.” But so you, first you need time. You need to set aside, uh, enough time to put in the work, to really dig in. Um, it’s often likely the first draft that you write is kind of on the surface and you’re really not saying anything. So, being able to get to the source of information and the right sources of information, it’s, it just takes time to do that.

Having a good guide is also very important, somebody that, like I mentioned, is, uh, from an external perspective and can ask you to clarify a question. The, the curse of knowledge is real. It makes sense in our heads and if we don’t have somebody to dig a little bit deeper and ask them the questions, um, to get a little bit more clarifica-, the clarification, very much like that in the, when we talked in the previous slide about distinguishing yourself from competitors, it’s saying, you know, not just, “We have the best customer service.” Well, what does that mean? How do we explain that? How do we bring that to life for somebody when we’re putting together assets for a-a marketing campaign or an advertising campaign? So, a good guide is gonna basically hold you accountable. It’s to not let you cheat and go, uh, be on too much of a surface level when you’re creating this language in your brand compass that’s gonna guide everything else.

So, how do we put this into action? So, we’ve talked about this internal communication. This language that, that is produced from taking the time and digging deep in this brand compass is really the, the guiding light, the, the guidepost for your employees and for your team. They need to be able to clearly articulate the essence of your business. So, we talk about this sometimes in an elevator pitch and we’re always trying to refine our elevator pitch. Well, when your team and your employees go out, they need to be armed with enough information, um, that’s relevant, the way you wanna present it for their elevator pitch, the elevator speech. So, this brand compass becomes that for them. It’s the language, the work that you put in, in order to clearly articulate who you are and what you do, for whom you do it. And so, internally, it’s a very important aid.

Externally, it becomes also a big benefit to you going through this process to create a brand compass because your website copy is going to come to life that’s relevant to your target market. It takes away the generalities. You, you’ve dug deep. You really worked hard to, to articulate this. Vivid language is so informative for website copy. Um, not just the copy but also the images and the user journey that you’re going to express on your website. Your advertising assets are also gonna come to life with the brand compass because you are not just gonna have these mainly shiny, pretty things that really don’t have meat to them. But when you have this foundational language, this, that really articulates the way that you need to speak to your target profile customers, it makes advertising assets the creation of those things so much more important. 

And then just regular content creation, whether it’s a-a social series or anything that you’re creating content to put out to a-articulate your expertise or articulate your differentiation. This brand compass is the foundation of all of that. You’ve got the language to, uh, use imagery, to actually use the words in maybe different formats. So, once you’ve created this, you put it into action and, and externally, your communication, your marketing, your advertising is gonna be much richer, um, if you’ve taken the time and put the effort in to really clearly articulating, um, your company through a brand compass.

And so, going beyond the creation. Yeah, do not set it and forget about it. You need to refer back to it constantly, not just when you’re planning a-an advertising campaign or creating, uh, assets for your marketing plan, but to refresh it and make sure that as you learn things, your updating this. Um, I mean, it’s, be-be a manifesto for all new team members. This is the first thing that they should begin to, uh, immerse themselves in is this brand compass for your, your company. It’s unique to you. You’ve put the time and effort into it, so don’t just set it and forget it. And it becomes guideposts also for contractors. There’s some, uh, nonprofits that we work with and it seems like every time a new board comes in or a new volunteer comes in, they’re recreating the wheel and it’s just, it, it’s not very efficient.

So, when, when we create these things from organization like that, then it’s scalable. It becomes something that outlasts the board member and they have continuity between all of their contractors and all of their, uh, employees and, and their board members. So, going beyond the creation of it is, there’s don’t just set it and forget about it. Refer back to it frequently.

So then the question is, is DIY or get help? If you have an impartial team member, um, that can actually help you and, and really hold you accountable, that’s very important is the ability to hold you accountable and not go just on a surface level, to really dig deep and to, uh, come out with a good clear language.

If you engage outside help, you, somebody who can, again, be that perspective, that outside perspective, that’s a good interviewer, that understands marketing is gonna be very helpful because once you have this multi-page document, your brand compass, i-it really is helpful to have somebody understanding how it’s gonna be used in the end product. And then a good copywriter. Goodness gracious, definitely get a good copywriter. Um, sometimes they can be the same person. Sometimes they may need to be distinct. But when you’re going through a brand compass, you’re getting that interviewer, uh, that outside help and that meeting is recorded, then you can pass that off to a copywriter and then they can work their magic with that.

So, I hope that, uh, this has given you a little bit of insight in what, what is a brand compass, and then why it has a little bit of value. Now, we could talk a lot about this. We’re trying to do these webinars in sound bites that’s accessful to you. If you have any questions, feel welcome to reach out, uh, to my, uh, eel- email address here and join us for our next installment of this 2023 Marketing Planning Series. Um, it is gonna be November 1st, How to Create Powerful Advertising Content. So, I’m very grateful that you spent some time with us today. Um, feel welcome to, uh, reach out if you have any questions and I look forward to seeing you November 1st for our next installment for the webinar series. Thank you so much.