5 Questions Every Early Company Should Answer

The challenge for most startups and early stage companies is overcoming the misconception that you don’t need to consider branding right away.

In reality, you are building your brand from the moment it’s born and you start began asking people to support you. Many fail to reach their potential because they don’t take the time to fully understand and communicate the important meaning behind their brand and craft their story. We see many startups put all of their effort on developing the product or service, but wait too long to start thinking of it as a brand. They skip the most important component of building a brand – foundation and positioning.

Developing a brand is essentially two-fold: the strategy and the design. Here at Plotwist, we’ve worked with companies and brands who skip the strategic development and jump to design. Many of them leave themselves in a far worse position than those who go through the proper process. Branding is a process of self-discovery — it’s important to understand the reason you’re in business far beyond making money.

When we guide companies through process of positioning their brands, we ask tough questions to get to the heart of what their company stands for. Most of the questions are emotionally-driven, some are logically-driven. Our goal isn’t to make it harder – our goal is challenge our clients.

Here’s five questions every company should answer that will lead you to the one meaningful idea at the center of your business:

1. What is your motto?

A motto is a statement of purpose and belief — it serves as your guiding principle and spirit of the cause you are advancing. We ask companies what their motto is and often the answer is “We don’t have one” or “We don’t know.” By defining what you believe in, and encapsulating those beliefs into a brand motto, it gives you, your team, and your customers an inspirational idea to rally around. Examples of great mottos include :

  • Apple: “Think different.”
  • Dunkin Donuts: “America Runs on Dunkin’”
  • State Farm: “Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is There.”

Your motto should be the core of your brand strategy, decisions, behaviors and messages.

2. Why does your story matter?

Stories inspire us all. It is the emotional glue that creates meaningful experiences between brands and their audience. Stories speak directly to the human condition, to our hardwired emotions and instincts. Ask yourself, what is our story? Is it meaningful? Why should anyone care?

3. What is your greatest vision?

If time, energy, and money weren’t an obstacle, what would you do?

Most people would say, “Well, time, money and energy are my obstacles”. This toxic type of thinking limits your ability to think big. By articulating your vision without constraints, you are able to picture what you truly desire and take the necessary steps to move your business towards that vision.

4. What is your plan for growth?

Every business follows a path and that path will undoubtedly include various pivots, turns, and obstacles – it’s the nature of business. You must know where you’re going — what is your destination and how will you get there.

5. Why will you succeed?

This question forces entrepreneurs and organizations to take a hard look as to whether or not they have what it takes to succeed. Do you have the vision? Do you have the discipline it takes to overcome any obstacle? Do you possess authenticity? Are you human enough? Do you show proof that everything you do and say is a true expression of why you exist, and is clearly understood by your audience?

That’s how you know you’ll succeed.

You can’t have vision, but not discipline or authenticity — You must have all three.

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