The Branding Mirror
Unless you managed to avoid all forms of PR classes in school, you’ve probably done a SWOT analysis before. If not...we’ve got you covered. The goal of a SWOT is to identify 4 key elements of your subject: Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats. Seems easy enough right? Unfortunately, many brands take the easy way out when conducting their internal review. Instead of focusing on the brand, all efforts go into dissecting their product. It is very difficult to take a step out of the embedded brand vision and address the cold facts. By creating a guide to compliment your SWOT, identifying genuine advantages and shortcomings becomes a much easier process.
This is where stepping outside your comfort zone becomes essential. No type of SWOT should be done by a single person, round up your crew for the most comprehensive and accurate results. Because this is an internal inquiry, the company crab will actually prove more useful than your employee of the month.
Starting with strengths, focus initially on humans. What kind of network do you each have? Are you equipped with creative/multi-use skills? Maybe one of your coworkers has a friend high up in the industry? Whatever the result, take the time to flesh out the little details about the communities you are all a part of and how they can contribute to your strengths or opportunities.
Shifting gears to the brand as it’s own entity, this section of your SWOT should be very cut and dry. Focus only on attributes specific to your brand, not the industry. These are the points that determine was distinguishes your brand from the rest of the market and can eventually be used as marketing points.
Threats are out of your control, end of story. Weaknesses on the other hand, can be dealt with on a branding level. To make your SWOT effectively two-dimensional, separation of product and brand is required. Can’t identify brand threats? Take a look at the assets that support you, is one of your employees/partners a part of an additional project? Is there a team member too focused on money or their own gain? These are realistic threats to your brand strength. So then what are weaknesses? Brand weakness lies where you are no longer able to set yourself aside from the competition. These are manageable flaws that can be remedied. Through strong authentic marketing and maintaining a vivid, welcoming culture that emulates not only through your product but the experience customers get when engaging with you. During the Weakness/Threat audit is where you will have the most opportunity to find areas needing improvement guiding you to inflict positive change.
By considering a SWOT for your brand and product you’ve already stepped into a productive, conscious mindset that even large successful brands do not maintain. Make this brand probe actionable by taking meticulous notes on suggestions from across the brand and keep track of how they are being used over time. No one technique is a fit for all but laying out two separate analysis, places you ahead of the pack while remaining grounded to your brand identity.
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