The Brand Design Checklist

Build your brand with our in-depth brand design checklist. Answer yes or no to the following…

•    Have you carefully defined your target customer on the following dimensions: demographics, lifestyle, values, attitudes, product usage and buying behavior?

•    Is this customer a good target for your brand in the following ways?
➢    market size, profitability and growth rate,
➢    importance of your brand’s promise to them,
➢    their alignment with your brand’s values (i.e., your brand stands for something that is important to them),
➢    the opportunity for add-on sales through brand extension and
➢    their potential loyalty to the brand

•    Do you have profound insight into your consumer’s values and motivations?

•    Have you considered the intangible ways in which your brand adds value to the consumer?

•    Are you constantly monitoring the market for changes in the following?
➢    customer segments,
➢    customer values, attitudes and needs,
➢    customer shopping behaviors
➢    competitive offerings

•    Can you articulate your brand’s competitive frame of reference? Can you describe the universe within which it operates?

•    Have you mapped your brand’s delivery of key category benefits against competitive brands’ delivery of those same benefits? Did you overlay that with a consumer importance scale?

•    Do you fully understand the following for all the categories in which your brand operates: (a) the different market segments, (b) the competitive set, and (c) which consumer benefits are “cost-of-entry” versus “differentiating”? (These alternatively may be referred to as “points-of-parity” and “points-of-difference.”)

•    Do you fully understand the decision making process (rational or not) the consumer uses to purchase your brand?

•    Do you know what benefits your competitors’ brands own in consumers’ minds?

•    Do you have a clear understanding of the things competitive brands do that your brand should and would never do?

•    Do you know how different consumer segments perceive your brand differently?

•    Is your brand relevant to early adopters?

•    Have you defined the role, target consumer, essence, promise, and personality for your brand?

•    If your brand is not the leader in its category, can you identify a way to redefine, re-frame or narrow the category so that your brand can be the leader in the redefined category?

•    Do you know what the most important problem is that your brand solves for its customers?

•    Do you fully understand what factors in your brand’s history built it to what it is today?

•    Do you have a vision or dream for your brand?  Do you know what you’d like it to become well into the future?

•    Do you know what story your brand tells?  Can you articulate its myth?

•    Is your brand vital and vivid?  Does it have the ability to build legends?

•    Is your brand dynamic? Does it learn, grow, mature, adapt and improve over time?

•    Do you know what your brand’s timeless qualities are?

•    Is your brand’s essence aspirational and inspirational, yet concrete enough so that it can own a position in the consumer’s mind?

•    Does your brand embody certain beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviors that evoke widespread admiration and devotion?

•    Do you have absolute clarity regarding what your brand stands for and how it is unique and compelling to consumers?

•    Can you identify the one word your brand owns in consumers’ minds?

•    Do you know what consumers would miss most if your brand ceased to exist?

•    Do you know what deeply felt human needs your brand addresses?

•    Does your brand dominate the category by owning the “core” category benefit or does it lead the category by owning the benefit that best defines where the category is headed?

•    Does your brand stand for something very important to its customers?  Does it capture their imaginations?

•    Is your brand’s promise believable?

•    Can you readily verbalize the proof points to your brand’s promise?

•    Have you identified brand benefits that are invisible to your competitors (and therefore extremely difficult to imitate)?

•    Have you defined your brand broadly enough for it to outlive specific product categories and provide flexibility for ongoing extension?

•    Are you aware of any elements of your brand’s heritage that may limit its opportunities for future growth?  If so, have you devised plans to overcome those limitations without alienating current consumers?

•    Has your brand struck the optimal balance between maintaining a strong heritage and reinventing itself for the future?

•    Have you considered narrowing your brand’s focus to clarify meaning and gain market share?

•    Can you identify the opportunities you have sacrificed to maintain clarity regarding your brand’s promise and positioning?

•    Have you considered “pruning” businesses that are not congruent with your brand’s essence and promise?

•    Have you identified product or service features that are not valued by the consumer or that do not reinforce your brand’s promise? Do you have plans to eliminate these?

•    Have you established brand strategies that are consistent with the brand’s promise – product, pricing, distribution, communications, etc.?

•    Have you designed the brand portfolio, including a sub-brand structure?

•    Is your brand hierarchy simple enough for consumers to easily understand (preferably no more than two levels)?

•    When your brand hierarchy has two or more levels, do you know which name (corporate, parent, endorsed, or sub-brand?) the consumer uses to refer to each product or service offered by your organization?

•    Do you have criteria to help you decide when you can use an existing brand, when a completely new brand is needed, and when a sub-brand is the right choice?

•    Do you find that all of your sub-brands are distinctive? Are you certain that no two sub-brands in your portfolio meet the same consumer needs and deliver the same benefits?

•    Are your sub-brand names distinct from one another so that they are not confused for one another?

•    Do you use existing brands whenever possible to meet new consumer needs or to enter new product categories, offering instant assurance and maximizing communication efficiency? (Providing doing so doesn’t dilute the meaning of the original brand.)

•    Are you increasingly leveraging your corporate brand as a parent brand?

•    Do you find you are spending most of your time creating sustainable competitive advantages (versus matching competitive moves) with your brands?

•    Is your brand so well positioned that there are no acceptable substitutes for your products and services?

•    Did you know that competitors can and often will reposition your brand in the process of repositioning their brands?  Do you know the ways in which they are trying to reposition your brand?  Are you actively doing something about this?

•    If you are repositioning your brand, are you implementing it in a way and at a pace so that consumers can “digest” the changes?

•    Have you designed your brand so that it is, as Kevin Keller says, “memorable, meaningful, transferable, and protectable”?

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