In the ever-evolving business world, brand mapping can be a crucial tool for your company to compete successfully.
A brand mapping exercise enables your company to understand your current brand position, identify gaps in the market and create direction for building a distinctive brand identity. In this article, we will explore the concept of brand mapping and its significance for your company, along with some ideas to develop an effective brand mapping strategy.
Understanding brand mapping
Brand mapping is a strategic process that visualises the perception of a brand in the minds of its target audience and stakeholders. It involves assessing various dimensions that influence brand perception, such as company attributes and values along with brand differentiation.
For professional service-based companies, brand mapping goes beyond just a logo or tagline; it encompasses the entire experience and emotional connection clients have with the company. By analysing how your brand is perceived in comparison to competitors, your company can gain valuable insights to strengthen it’s market position.
Conducting a brand audit
The first step in brand mapping for professional service-based companies is to conduct a comprehensive brand audit. This involves evaluating all aspects of the brand, both internally and externally. Key components of a brand audit include:
a) Internal brand assessment: assessing the company’s mission, vision, and values to ensure alignment with the overall business strategy. Analysing the culture and employee perception of the brand to ensure consistent brand representation.
b) External brand assessment: evaluating the brand’s visual elements, such as logo, colour palette, and graphic elements, to assess their relevance and effectiveness. Reviewing website, marketing materials, and social media presence to ensure consistency and brand message are aligned.
c) Customer perception analysis: gathering feedback from clients and potential clients through focus groups and interviews to understand their perceptions, and expectations of how your business provides your services.
d) Competitor analysis: studying the strategies of the competition to identify areas of differentiation and therefore opportunities to stand out.
Defining brand elements
Once the brand audit is complete, your company can define the key brand elements that will shape its brand identity. These elements include:
a) Brand positioning: clearly articulating your USP that sets the company apart from its competitors. This positioning statement should convey the specific benefits clients can expect from your company’s services.
b) Brand personality: identifying the personality traits and human characteristics that the brand should embody. Is the brand approachable, professional, innovative, or authoritative?
c) Brand messaging: developing a consistent and compelling message that communicates the brand’s values and service offering across all company’s touchpoints.
d) Visual identity: creating a visually distinctive brand identity, including logo, typography, colour palette, and design guidelines.
e) Brand voice: establishing a consistent tone of voice that reflects the brand’s personality that resonates with the target audience.
Identifying target audience
Understanding the target audience is essential for effective brand mapping. Your company must identify their ideal clients, their needs and their likely pain points. Building a strong brand starts with a deep understanding of whom it serves.
Companies can create buyer personas representing their different target client groups. These personas help tailor the brand messaging and positioning to appeal to specific segments, increasing the chances of engaging and attracting the right clients.
Understanding your brand perception
To effectively map brand perception, your company can use various tools and methodologies as set out below;
a) Brand perception surveys: conducting online surveys or interviews to gather feedback from current and potential clients, employees, and stakeholders. This information can shed light on the strengths and weaknesses of the brand and identify areas for improvement.
b) Social media monitoring: monitoring social media platforms for brand mentions and sentiment analysis to gauge how the brand is perceived in the online sphere.
c) Online reputation analysis: assessing online reviews, testimonials, and feedback to gain insights into customer experiences and identify areas for improvement. Google reviews and Feefo can provide the gritty truth!
d) Brand mapping workshops: further internal workshops with key stakeholders to collectively assess the brand’s current position and explore potential improvements.
Understanding your perception data
Once this data has been collected, your company should review this and draw actionable insights. Identifying patterns and trends will help determine the areas where the brand is excelling and those that require attention.
This analysis can reveal gaps between the company’s intended brand perception and the actual perception among the target audience. Understanding these gaps is crucial for making informed decisions to align the brand with the desired positioning.
Developing a brand strategy
Based on the insights from the brand mapping exercise, your company can develop a comprehensive brand strategy. This strategy should outline the steps needed to strengthen the brand’s positioning and align it with the company’s overall business goals.
Key components of a brand strategy could include:
a) Refining brand messaging: based on the target audience’s preferences and pain points, the messaging should be resonant and allow your customers to connect with you, building customer engagement and loyalty.
b) Enhancing visual identity: if the brand’s visual elements need improvement, your company can collaborate with brand consultants like Pier 9 to create or refresh a distinctive visual identity.
c) Internal brand alignment: engaging employees to embrace and embody the brand’s values and personality is vital for consistent brand representation.
d) Integrated marketing communications: ensuring that all marketing materials, from websites to brochures, all aligning with the brand identity and messaging.
e) Customer experience: improving the overall customer experience to reflect these brand values.
Implementation and monitoring
Implementing the brand strategy is an ongoing process that requires commitment and consistency. Companies should continuously monitor the impact of the brand strategy on brand perception and adjust tactics as needed.
Regularly look to gain feedback from clients and employees where valuable insights into the effectiveness of the brand. By looking across these touchpoints you can identify areas that may require further attention.
Brand mapping is an essential process for any professional service-based company seeking to build a strong and distinctive brand identity in the market. By understanding your current brand positioning and developing a comprehensive brand strategy, your company can effectively navigate the competitive landscape and achieve long-term success. A strong brand identity not only attracts and retains clients but also builds trust, credibility and community, all adding to long-term value.
Our experience has helped legal, financial, and risk management companies bring clarity to their offering – www.piernine.co/case-studies