In many ways, branding is the heart of your business’s values. You can think of it as the through-line by which you infuse your company’s core principles, mission, and message, in everything from product packaging and web design to your social media. A brand map can help you bring all of this together.
What’s in a brand map?
In a nutshell, a brand map is a visual representation of your brand against competing brands in your space. You’ll usually see a brand map laid out on a basic grid with the logos of each company across the field. The axes of the grid will compare particular attributes. For instance, if you’re a chocolatier, you may have “sweet” and “bitter” on one axis of the brand map, and “timeless” and “trendy” plotting on another axis. A brand map is an excellent tool to pinpoint what makes you stand apart from your competitors, explains Oliver James, a brand strategist, designer, and founder of Oliver James Designs.
“It provides a simple visual comparison where it’s easy to see what’s missing, and where you could develop an advantage while creating your brand,” says James. “You can also create maps of content and brand messaging to give you a feel for what’s going on in your niche.”
As you can see, a brand map can serve as a super helpful tool to reveal where in your space you shine. Plus, it can help you create a unique brand for your target customers to take notice. “Brand maps can also show you what kinds of messaging will help you connect to your audience and also bring something different to the conversation,” says James.
Here’s how to go about creating a brand map.
1. Study the competition.
First, you’ll want to gather information from at least five other brands in your space, suggests James. So what type of information should you gather, exactly? Well, that depends on what you want to compare. If you primarily want to focus on copy, then study brand messages, slogans, and the tone, voice, and style of their copy.
To create the actual map, draw two perpendicular lines. Next, label the quadrants in a fashion that makes sense for what you’re trying to compare. “You can categorize them in any way that seems applicable, but let’s say you’re looking specifically at the aesthetics,” says James. “One quadrant of the grid might have contemporary logos, another more traditional, and another with rustic logos, and so on.” Basically, it enables you to see what kinds of brands are already in the field and show you where you might have a unique advantage.
So if you’re mapping out brand messaging and taglines, you’ll want to map out different quadrants with varying attributes. Do it for several types of content – for example, product packaging, web copy, social media copy, and blog copy. You can even map out the targeted audience personas, explains James.
2. Analyze all aspects of your niche.
Once you’ve created brand maps of the top companies in your space, look for emerging patterns, explains James. Next, examine both similarities and differences. “Most importantly, notice where the gaps are. Those gaps provide the greatest opportunity to offer something unique with your branding,” James explains. “Do you naturally fit into one of the gaps, based on your own aesthetic or with the type of messaging you want to lead with? If not, what could you do to set yourself apart with your newfound knowledge from the brand maps?”
3. Stay true to your brand.
While uncovering the space to do something different, be sure to keep things authentic with who you are and what your business represents. “Stay true to who you are, but also know where you can stand out from your competition,” says James. “That’ll be your key to success.”
So let’s say your chocolate brand is one that embodies eclecticism and zaniness. You might be experimenting with different ingredients for unique flavor combos. In that case, you’ll want to take on a bolder, “out-of-the-box” voice and tone to your copy than, say, a more longtime brand that is known to stick to the tried-and-true.
4. Play with different types of copy.
After creating a brand map and studying the competition, experiment with different styles that are in the ballpark of what you’re aiming for. You can check out Fiverr’s marketplace to work with a seasoned Fiverr Pro sales copywriter to wordsmith different types of copy in varying styles.
Remember: During this exploration stage, all things are a go. Don’t be afraid to deviate from what you’ve tried before – you never know what might stick. After you’ve landed on a few solid options, ask yourself if the copy is true to your brand messaging and if it helps you stand out from your competitors. Taking the time to drum up a brand map is a super useful tool to help you write copy across your platforms and products, so your messaging is consistent, genuine, and memorable. And if you feel a little lost while making your map, hire a Fiverr Pro branding expert to steer you in the right direction.
How will creating a brand map help with your business’s copy? Tell us in the comments below!