#1: Who are you for?
Nothing’s harder than deciding who you don’t want business from. But brands that try to appeal to everyone eventually find out they don’t matter all that much to anyone. So, who loves your brand the most? What motivates them? How can you serve them better? Learning to activate a fiercely loyal few can generate far more profits than persuading a mildly interested many.
#2: What do you really do?
“Nobody buys a ¾-inch drill,” points out Theodore Levitt. “They buy the expectation of a ¾-inch hole.” Understanding your core competencies—that unique combination of promises, strengths and solutions that keeps customers coming back. That’s the difference between what Charles Revson manufactured (Revlon cosmetics) and what he sold (hope). And it’s essential to developing a strong value story.
#3: How are you different?
Standing out means standing for something. Great brands are shaped by a unique heritage, a distinct belief system, or a strongly-held set of standards or principles that define their culture and choices. Our friends at Lands’ End, for example, are famous for their return policy. It’s a small point of pride that's had an enormous impact on their value to customers. Do you know what your customers can’t live without?