A well-executed brand experience creates an emotional connection to an organization’s ideal audiences. Defining your essential value is a BIG part of building your brand guide, and it requires the ability to listen. Listen for consistency in the words used by everyone who talks about your organization; team members, leaders, clients, members, and partners. When one or two words keep popping up in conversation, they are clues to defining your essential value.
I remember a recent comprehensive rebrand project that included insights interviews. The Mercury team had completed Discovery sessions with the client’s sales and marketing teams and it was time for me to talk to clients, past clients, and employees. There was one phrase that I kept hearing over and over – “It’s the people”.
I had written this phrase more than 50 times in my notebook. It was said by leaders during the original Discovery, by clients, by salespeople, by employees – literally everyone. It was the breadcrumb that helped us dig deeper with the client to pull out their true differentiator and provide clarity for their brand messaging.
Watch as Justin and I share our brand strategy insights in this 4-minute video:
Do you know the value of your brand?
Can you and your team articulate your value simply and clearly?
Justin: Hey! We’re from Mercury Creative Group, and we’re here to talk about our Mercury Method.
Cheri: These Mercury Messages are a little bit about what we do, how we do it, and who we do it for.
Justin: You had talked about essential value, and this is something that we have a really fun time doing with our clients, and it’s getting their brand value down to a word or two. And we do this to, when we’re working with associations, for example, they have all these other stakeholders, board members who are transitioning out every couple of years. So in order to keep that consistent message, we create an essential value exercise, which breaks down their brand in a word or two. That way they can remember what we stand for in the simplest fashion, but then talk to an ideal member or prospective member in their words to connect and align with them and help them know why I belong to this organization or why I should belong to this organization.
Cheri: Essential value is such an interesting thing to break down into just a word or two. What happens is that word or two, those two words are very powerful. I often introduce myself as the resident word nerd at Mercury, and what I mean by that is, and I’ll say it in discovery sessions, too, is the more words you say, the more I like it. Because throughout that process, throughout that discovery, we’re able to talk to leadership teams, to board members, as Justin mentioned, if we’re working with an Association. We’re able to talk to sales teams and marketing teams and other team members on the periphery that can really influence this brand work.
We also do insights gathering with clients or members or past members or joint venture partners. All of those conversations and all of that discovery distills down to finding common threads that really string through all of that discovery conversation to get to those essential values and distill down into those two words, maybe. And it’s pretty powerful. Those two words can be really powerful moving forward, and they then become how we communicate that brand.
What we’re ultimately designing or helping our client design throughout this is their brand guide, and that is their brand strategy.
It’s the elements of that brand guide, and that includes things like their value proposition, their essential value, which leads to their differentiator of what they do, their brand character, their ideal client, really putting that strategy down on paper. And part of that messiness and that tension of it, is it’s not always a linear process, so we don’t step through those elements. This is number one that we have to do. This is number two. They’ll all be populated through the discovery work we do. But we take the conversation where it goes with the client.
Justin: Yeah, it’s the conversations that get really rich and help inform so many of the things that we do in the end, to express the brand, even change the name of the organization, pull out that character. But that brand guide, in the end, is going to bring consistency with everybody within the organization to talk the talk, all the visuals will match and really simplify that message.