branding, crowdfunding, Lioncastle Creative, Crowdfund Better, small business owner

Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog by Josh Ellis of Lioncastle a Community Resource Partner


What is branding?

Branding is an ever-evolving concept. Consider the hundreds of thousands of results on Google and the over 10,000 books on Amazon on the topic. Let’s make this simple:

Your brand is the unique combination of thoughts and feelings that arise when someone considers your company and products.

This means that your brand isn’t just your company’s logo or name. It’s actually what the people who encounter your company think of when they see those things. Another way to think of it is that branding is the unique territory that your company occupies in the minds of the public.

branding, crowdfunding, Lioncastle Creative, Crowdfund Better, small business owner

Cody Davis via Unsplash

It’s important to remember that these thoughts and feelings can be positive or negative. For example, “worst oil spill” still counts as branding since most people would associate a specific company with it. Negative branding is not always that bad, though. Great brands will always be negative for certain people outside their target audience. For example, a board game might seem “nerdy” or “dorky” to people outside its target audience, but that’s not important. Your job is to occupy a unique and positive space in your ideal consumer’s mind, and if you do it right, you’ll occupy negative space in at least a few people’s minds. The goal here is for people to see your idea and think one of three things:

  1. “That’s for me”
  2. “I don’t know if that’s for me”
  3. “That’s not for me”

Great brands don’t allow people to have the second thought. You’re either in or you’re out. Eliminating ambiguity leads to more loyal customers and allows you to sell more product or raise more money. In general, people don’t spend money on products that “might” be for them. They spend money on products after thinking “that’s for me.”

Positioning + creating a unique category for yourself

Positioning is the most foundational aspect of great branding. It’s simple, but very challenging. The goal of positioning is to set yourself apart from the competition. If you’re launching a crowdfunding campaign for a backpack, consumers need to immediately understand what makes it different or else they’ll consider it “just another backpack” and move on.

At Lioncastle, we have a simple format we like to use for positioning statements. Here’s how it would work for a fictional travel backpack called “TravelEasy”:

TravelEasy is

the only backpack (what)

that makes repacking at the end of a short trip easy (how)

for busy traveling executives (who)

in the United States (where)

who want to simplify their life (why)

in an era of increasing complexity (when)

For your product, you would replace the underlined parts with your own answers. The next step after filling this out is to see if there’s any other product that matches yours.

branding, crowdfunding, Lioncastle Creative, Crowdfund Better, small business owner

Andrew Neel via Unsplash

Since I just created this product as an example, there’s a good chance that a similar product exists. If that’s the case when evaluating the first positioning statement you come up with, don’t panic! You don’t have to ditch the product altogether, but you do need to re-think one of the aspects of the product.

With the TravelEasy, maybe the “when” can be “in an era of increasing urgency” because urgency is a different problem than complexity. In this case, we’d also have to change the “why” and “how”:

TravelEasy is

the only backpack (what)

that makes repacking at the end of a short trip fast (how)

for busy traveling executives (who)

in the United States (where)

who want to spend less time on chores (why)

in an era of increasing urgency (when)

In the next section, we’ll look at how these changes in the positioning statement can have a major impact on messaging.

Developing your messaging

Here’s an example of messaging when positioning the TravelEasy as a solution for complexity vs urgency:

Complexity

You’re at the end of your business trip. You’ve spent the past few days in important meetings on the other side of the country. All this while responding to calls and emails to make sure everything is running smoothly at home. The last thing you want to do is think about packing at the end of your trip. With our SimplePack(tm) system, we’ve made it easier than ever to pack at the end of your busy trips so you can spend your mental energy on the important issues. The bag practically packs itself!

Urgency

You’re at the end of your business trip. You’ve spent the past few days in important meetings on the other side of the country. And in every spare moment, you were responding to urgent calls and emails to make sure everything is running smoothly at home. The last thing you want to do is spend time packing at the end of your trip. With our FastPack(tm) system, we’ve made it faster than ever to pack at the end of your quick trips so you can spend your time on the things that matter most. The bag practically packs itself!

Notice how without changing anything about the product, we’ve totally changed what we emphasize, and therefore changed the place we occupy in the consumer’s mind.

Don’t Worry If You Get Stuck

At Lioncastle, we understand that developing a unique positioning statement is extremely difficult when looking at your own company or products. That’s where consultants like Crowdfund Better or Lioncastle can help. We often hire consultants to help Lioncastle when working on our own branding because of how helpful an expert outside perspective can be. If you’re struggling with the positioning statement or if you have any questions, send me an email at josh@lioncastlecreative.com. Also, stay tuned for our upcoming blog about Brand Archetypes.

To determine if crowdfunding is a good fit for your business journey, before you launch your campaign, get started with Crowdfund Better’s Crowdfunding Rapid Assessment.

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Showing 2 comments
  • Reply

    Thanks for sharing this information through this article. Thank you so much and appreciated is positive. And also waiting for the next one.

    • Scott Madsen
      Reply

      Thank you for your comment! Glad you enjoyed this article – keep your eyes peeled for the next one later next month!

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