A good place to start in your content planning is by defining the mission of your brand. What does your company aim to provide? What role does your business serve in the lives of your customers? What is it that your brand provides that others do not?
These are the key questions at the core of your branding efforts. And by answering them, you’ll get closer to not only understanding what you need to create content about, but also what your brand stands for and how that can define your wider marketing strategy.
Defining Brand Mission
One way of narrowing down your brand purpose is by utilizing a method called “The Five Whys”. Developed by two Harvard University academics, The Five Whys method is a simple, basic process that aims to get businesses more aligned with their over-arching mission.
It works like this:
You start with a statement, either ‘We make X products’ or ‘We provide X services’, relative to your business.
Then, once you have an answer down, you ask: ‘Why is that important?’
Then you ask the same again: ‘Why is that important?’
You ask this same question five times, and each time you’ll get a little deeper into the purpose behind what you do, as opposed to the process or product.
Here’s an example provided by the researchers:
“An asphalt and gravel company might begin by saying, ‘We make gravel and asphalt products’. After a few whys, it could conclude that making asphalt and gravel is important because the quality of the infrastructure plays a vital role in people’s safety and experience; because driving on a pitted road is annoying and dangerous; because 747s cannot land safely on runways built with poor workmanship or inferior concrete; because buildings with substandard materials weaken with time and crumble in earthquakes. From such introspection may emerge this purpose: ‘To make people’s lives better by improving the quality of man-made structures’.”
The process is one of the simplest and most effective ways to get you thinking about more than just what you do, to consider the actual purpose behind why you do it.
And that understanding can then define everything you do.
This process has been used by some of the biggest brands in the world. For example, here are the core purpose statements of some massive brands, established through The Five Whys:
Nike - To experience the emotion of competition, winning, and crushing competitors
3M - To solve unsolved problems innovatively
Wal-Mart - To give ordinary folk the chance to buy the same things as rich people
Walt Disney - To make people happy
The value of defining purpose in this way is that it then enables these brands to get down to how they serve their audience, what they provide to people in all their content and marketing efforts and what people really want to see from them in their communications. For instance, if you sell golf supplies, it’s not ‘we sell golf clubs’, it’s what people do with those products. Why is selling golf clubs important?
Understand this and you’re on your way to understanding the perspective of your target audience, the place where your brand fits into their world.
And once you have that purpose statement in place, that can define all your content, all your interactions, every part of the customer engagement process.
It’s simple and effective – through The Five Whys you can get more in tune with what your audience wants, and that, in turn, will help fuel your wider marketing efforts.