“Branding is not for the early days of a startup.” “Branding is an expensive errand and a waste of time.” This is true for those who see branding as a ‘look and feel’ project. Branding is definitely useless if you thought it begins and ends with the brand manual with color palette and typeface. You would have got my point by now. Branding is about identifying the soul of your business for your customers, the culture of your organization for your employees, and your promise for the community that emerges around the business. If that convinces you enough, here is a list of content formats used by a startup or a tech product while a branding exercise.
Top 3 reasons why you need branding:
- Differentiation among competitors: You stand out when your customers are weighing options and making comprisons.
- Brand Resonance among customers: So that you don’t have to repeat each time why you exist.
- Recognition of your value proposition: Setting expectations so that you can reduce disappointment when customers interact with your product.
Branding needs these formats for different stages of content development
You need different assets and experiments as you progress from the foundational stage of content strategy to content marketing and then to content production. Get to the section that is most relevant to you. You will find an elaborate but non-exhaustive list of content formats used for branding.
- Content Strategy for Branding
- Content Marketing for Branding
- Content Production for Branding
Everything that you need for Branding during Content Strategy
Like I always say, “Content Strategy” is the foundation for everything, content. Your brand and the content created to support it depend on the collateral and consensus that you develop across the board.
1. Positioning statement
“Why do you exist?” This will answer everything around your brand’s existence.
Who are your competitors? Why are you better than them?
There are many single sentence templates out there that answer ‘how to craft a positioning statement?’ You can choose anything among them.
2. Brand story
A brand story is a narrative that tells you who is the hero (customer) and how when they use their rare powers (your product and features), the hero changes the world (solution-driven advantage aka value proposition).
Why do you need it when you have it all in your head?
The answer is, “There are other people apart from you who will be creating, tweaking, selling, and consuming your product. They should know it as much as you know about the brand.”
Here is a list of things you need to create during the content strategy stage.
- Research your target audience, stakeholders who form your ecosystem, multi-level customer personas.
- Your competitors, potential substitutes, etc
- Choose your personality: tone, voice, and style.
- Product/ Business name
- One-liners for different contexts. These are repeatable statements that people in your organization use, which become the subliminal jargon of the brand.
- Logo, color, typeface
- Language and visual language
- Product utility
Everything that you need for your Brand exercise while Content Marketing
This stage of content marketing is all about figuring out the right mix of content that you need to establish to march on. Content formats are classified for: you, your team, product-customer interaction, and your community.
During the content marketing stage find out the following:
- Which personas are you going to communicate with about your brand?
- Who would listen to you as a personal brand?
- What is the subject of thought leadership that you would want to stick with?
- Social media formats to support.
- Academy for <your persona>
- Tutorials for <your persona>
- Webinar partnerships
- Podcast partnerships
- Guest posting and syndicate blogging
- Speaker opportunities
- Community building
- Community engagement
- Collaborative interviews (encourage your team too)
After screening this list, you will realize we are focussing on channels that will consume your content rather than the assets to be created.
Everything that you need for your Brand exercise while Content Production
This is the stage when you will start producing content. Use the score + rank framework that will help you understand which among the existing content formats and assets should be produced.
List of content formats for branding exercise:
- Carousels of images bundled for small snippets
- Microformat lesson plans
- Podcast or audio recording
- Outcome-based quotes
- Formulae that you use internally to solve your customer problems
- Famous quotes at your workplace
- Quick hacks
- Audio clips of conversations
- Masterclass PPT
- Gap analysis
- Questionnaire with outcome
- Self-analysis sheets
- Conference partnerships/ sponsorships (don’t miss out on discussing the outcomes with the event partners)
- Event marketing assets
- Speaker bios
- Behind the scenes work
- Milestone announcements
- Team achievements
- Partnership announcements
If you are wondering why developer guides are not a part of this list, that is because they would be a part of activities such as sales enablement, ecosystem building, and customer onboarding process.
This is a part of the series that explains the 3×3 Content Strategy Landscape for B2B marketers. Find the basic overview of how to use the Content Strategy Landscape here.
We can figure out what works for you.