10 Steps to a Pothole-Free Brand Roadmap

The stronger your brand, the stronger the emotional connection that people will have with you, and the less likely they are to jump ship at the first sign of competition. This is the stuff that business dreams are made of and the reason why you should not just follow your gut, but a well-thought-out brand roadmap.

It’s no secret that a strong brand is your key to a solid business that rakes in the money. The stronger your brand, the stronger the emotional connection that people will have with you, and the less likely they are to jump ship at the first sign of competition. This is the stuff that business dreams are made of and the reason why you should not just follow your gut, but a well-thought-out brand roadmap.

Why have a brand roadmap?

I have often used the analogy that it is possible to jump in your car in Johannesburg and start driving toward your holiday in Cape Town. Do you know how to get there? Without directions, you could end up in Polokwane, Thabazimbi, or even Richardsbay. Not bad places to visit, but if you initially wanted to visit Cape Town and you only have two weeks leave, you might want to get to Cape Town ASAP. The same goes for your brand and why you need a brand roadmap. Faster results with fewer resources.

Step 1: Vision

The first step in your brand roadmap is to have a strong vision. What is your passion and purpose and more importantly, what problems are you trying to solve for your customers? You are in for a very bumpy ride if your focus is not on solving a problem for your customers (or clients).

Step 2: Target Market

Who’s problems are you trying to solve? There are an infinite amount of names described to the people that you are trying to reach and most importantly the people who you are trying to help, but in the end, the best description is ‘target market’. And let’s end the debate right here. The more defined your target market is, the higher your success rate. You cannot be everything to everyone, but you can be the world to someone. From demographics to psychographics, the better you know and understand the people whose problems you are trying to solve, the higher your success rate!

Step 3: Brand Pyramid

Step 3 in the pothole-free brand roadmap is defining your brand pyramid. What is your brand essence, brand personality, and the emotional and rational benefits that you are solving? Essentially your brand pyramid is your company’s story in words.

Step 4: Visual Identity

If the brand pyramid is your company’s story in words, your visual identity is your company’s story in visuals. From your logo design to the colors that you choose and beyond. Everything should tell a visual story. There should be a well-thought-out reason for every single element that you choose. And once you have chosen the visual elements in your brand roadmap, you should stick to it. Don’t get distracted by people who think they know but are more clueless than the blondes at the roadhouse.

If you do use different suppliers for different elements in your brand roadmap, ensure that they stick to your brand pyramid and visual identity like their life depends on it. The ideal is to use one agency to sort out all your elements to ensure that you do not get brand confusion.

Step 5: Product & People

The product that you are offering and the people who are offering it to your customers can make or break your brand. Sounds simple? Wait till you find a really nice girl on the switchboard who is only there for the paycheck or the barista who can’t wait for his next safari. If quality and service to the max are not ingrained into the ethos of your company, you might just end your road trip in Alberton.

When planning your brand roadmap your unique selling proposition or USP should be top-of-mind. In fact, your USP should be a constant consideration. But this is where things get interesting. On the one hand, you have the super cocky gym bunny who thinks everything he touches turns to gold (even though in real life, it is still just the dust on the counter) and on the other hand you have the highly skilled shy lady who keeps on wiping the dust, even though it has turned into gold a long time ago and she cannot see it.

Step 6: Place & Price

As with your product and the people serving your product, the place of availability and price at which it is offered forms a massive part of your pothole-free brand roadmap. You can have the best adverts in town, but if you hit a pothole here, your long-awaited trip to Cape Town is finito.

Step 7: Marketing Mix I – Traditional Marketing Communication

This is the part that people often mistake as ‘marketing’. The reality is that if steps 1 – 6 of your brand roadmap are not solidly in place, you can have all the best adverts in the world but your success won’t last. On the other hand, you can have the best product or service in the world, but if no one knows about it, your well-thought-out brand will go to waste.

Your traditional marketing mix includes all your printed, outdoor, radio & tv adverts, public relations, promotions, and sales.

Unfortunately, traditional marketing has become the nerdy little brother who has to sit in the back corner of the car on your trip down to Cape Town. In the world of social media, AI, and a host of computer-generated exposure, your traditional marketing mix should never be disposed of.

Step 8: Marketing Mix II – Digital Marketing Communication

Remember when everyone thought a website should be handled by the IT guy? Maybe 10 years ago, but not anymore. Your website is the central point of your digital communication strategy. You cannot have a peak-performing digital marketing campaign without steps 1 – 6 of this brand roadmap. Nowadays, your website has become more than just an advert, but also the custodian of your online shop as well as your own well-oiled continuous marketing PR machine.

This is also the step in your brand roadmap where social media, SEO & PPC come into play. Unfortunately, the barrier to entry in this marketing is so excruciatingly low that every Tom, Dick & Harry is giving themselves out as a social media expert with disastrous results.

Step 9: Continous Content Marketing

As with everything in life, our customers and clients are evolving. They need more than just adverts pushed down their throats. If you have not seen the light yet, it is time you sit up straight. All entrepreneurs aspire to create that memorable moment – one that gets people talking and thinking about your brand well after they first see it. And that is what content marketing is all about. Rewarding your audience for spending their valuable time with you with content that is meaningful and intriguing. You want to keep the conversation alive.

Step 10 of the Brand Roadmap

Step 10 of the Brand Roadmap is almost the most important part of the whole process. The realisation that you should never wait for everything to be perfect before you launch. If you wait for perfection, you might as well wait for your death. Perfection is only available in Heaven. Not on Earth. Start testing your product as soon as possible, get feedback, adapt, and test again.

As with content marketing, this is a continuous process that should never end. And if you do find yourself in the high-and-mighty ‘no one can touch me’ space, you should start to get really worried. The brand graveyard is big and expandable and you definitely do not want to end up there.

The Moral of the Brand Roadmap Story

The above steps to build a pothole-free brand roadmap are abbreviated to the highest degree. Each one of these steps validates a full-length book on the what-to-do’s and what not-to-dos. But it is immensely important to understand the concept of solid brand building from a birds-eye view.

addVENTURES Academy does offer a course on the brand roadmap if you are keen to learn more, or you could opt for a one-on-one brand roadmap service from AddVenture Business Coaching & Content. Give us a ping. We would love to give you directions or take you on a fully catered coach tour to Cape Town.

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