During a branding workshop, it’s important to look at three areas that will provide the clues to homing in on the brand’s Authentic Points and Proof Points. Let’s look at what these are, why they’re important, and how to cultivate them when developing brand strategy.
A brand’s success is largely dependent upon building trust with its customers. This relationship starts with the brand being human, authentic, and open about its values, promises, and the impact it’s seeking to make. Without that, customers don’t feel comfortable enough to click “purchase.”
One of the first steps in the brand strategy process must be to lay a solid foundation upon which trust can be built. This means identifying the brand’s Authentic Points and Proof Points. These are the golden nuggets that ground a brand’s strategy so it resonates with your Ideal Customer Persona.
What Are Authentic Points and Proof Points?
Every successful brand can point to several things that make it unique. These can be related to the product or service itself, or they might be the customer service, aesthetics, or even the tone. During a branding workshop, it’s important to uncover these gems.
These one-of-a-kind qualities are the Authentic Points. They stem from the brand’s true essence and help set it apart from all others.
The Proof Points are exactly what they sound like: evidence that proves the brand’s claims about their service or product. It’s crucial that these points are based 100% on truth, or else a brand risks being seen as fake or untrustworthy.
Both Authentic Points and Proof Points are valuable as they can be used effectively in all aspects of marketing. The next section looks at the three exercises that branding workshop participants can do to mine these shiny nuggets.
In the Branding Workshop, Go Back Before Going Forward
When starting the process of developing the Authentic and Proof Points during the branding workshop, it’s helpful to have participants remember the brand’s biggest successes and also it’s failures. This will naturally bring forth some of the brand’s Authentic Points and Proof Points.
Start with the successes. Ask participants to remember the details. Who were the clients? How did they benefit? What worked well for the brand?
If possible, include real examples of feedback that were given. Testimonials are like windows into your customer because they highlight specific things they loved and the benefits they received. (More gold!)
Next, take an honest look at some of the brand’s failures. Although it’s not necessarily a morale-booster, this information is equally as valuable as the brand’s successes.
Identify what went wrong for the client and the brand. There’s no need to point fingers, just keep it about what happened in the situation. Was it mostly due to poor communications? Other problems? What was the client’s part in this? Where did the brand fall short?
End this step on an up-note by discussing what the brand could have done better. Addressing mistakes head-on leads to shoring up problems so everyone can move forward in a productive way.
Identifying the Unique Qualities of the Product or Service
The next step in identifying a brand’s Authentic Points and Proof Points is to simply take an objective look at what is being sold. Even though it might seem obvious, putting language around the product or service itself can lead to new insights.
Have branding workshop participants take the time to do a thorough description of the products and services. Get into the details here. Next, ask questions that go deeper into the defining qualities of what is being sold.
Which are the most unique features? Is anything innovative or cutting edge? What are the biggest strengths? Does the brand’s story give the product/service gravitas or panache?
Think about the three main selling points that are currently being used to market the product or service. Is anything being overlooked? What features or functions do customers most often give compliments on?
Take good notes and don’t rush this session. It’s the perfect set-up for the final exercise that will ultimately lead to identifying the brand’s Authentic and Proof Points.
Take a Respectful Peek at the Competition
First, keep in mind this part is not about trying to copy the Authentic Points and Proof Points of successful brands. As noted above, when a brand comes off as flimsy, fake, or inauthentic, customers and clients get turned off.
That said, a session of compare and contrast during the branding workshop can be an effective way to pinpoint a brand’s true strengths. By looking at the similarities and differences of competitors, it can be easier to identify what the brand offers that sets it apart – this will help reveal the Authentic Points and the Proof Points.
Choose a few brands that are similar. Discuss what’s the same and what’s different. Where do they excel? What are you doing that they’re not?
Remember to consider the full experience of the brand, from first impression to product features to customer service and communications. Where does your brand shine? What do your current customers and clients thank you for? Recommend you for?
All of this leads to the next step in the branding workshop…
Identifying a Brand’s Authentic Points & Proof Points During a Branding Workshop
Here’s the good news: you’ve already done this part! Well, mostly.
The exercises above should have produced lots of good information that will lead you straight to the Authentic Points and Proof Points. Now it’s time to distill it all down into clear and concise nuggets.
You want these statements to be hyper specific about how the brand is unique. Aim for nine Authentic Points and six Proof Points.
Our Brand Strategy Framework and Brand Strategy Kit give you in-depth guidance for how to facilitate all of the exercises above so they generate the best results. You’ll learn how to extract the most useful information and then create the big picture (literally) by adding it into the Brand Canvas.
When you consciously mine the Authentic Points and Proof Points, you can then bring them forward when creating a brand’s identity. Let the gold shine!
Need to run a Branding Workshop remotely?
Brand Strategy Framework provides structure and tools to streamline and gamify your remote branding process.
Brand Strategy Framework