There’s no-one more powerful that a person who knows where they are going and can tell you how they are going to get there. Your brand needs to do the same.
To develop a really great message, you need to ask yourself some very simple questions that you may find very hard to answer! Getting a good answer to these questions will really help you to define the message your brand sends to the market.
Who are you?
A quick, clear, no frills, no spin description of what your sports organisation does. This should be a maximum of one sentence.
Who is it for?
The simple description of your primary target market and your secondary target market, if you have one. Again, a maximum of one sentence.
What top three problems do you solve for the market?
Why is it that people come to you instead of going somewhere else or doing it themselves? Write these down as three bullet points, not long sentences.
Why are you different?
List three to five bullet points that are very clear about what makes you different. If you struggle to find any differences, this is an indication that you are the same as everyone else!
It’s really important here to identify things that are truly different and set you apart. For example, saying that “we provide really great service” or “our staff and volunteers are really friendly” is nowhere near good enough. People expect these things and they do not differentiate you—anyone could say the same things. In today’s world, they are the most basic of things that you need to have just to be in business.
Why should anyone trust you?
Prove your credibility. Do this by explaining your achievements and what you have done well as an organisation or offer feedback you receive from people.
Some sports organisations dismiss this point as unimportant. I often hear people say:
“Oh, we don’t have to do that because everyone around here knows what we have achieved and they trust us.”
This is a very dangerous mindset. Just because you live and breathe your sports environment doesn’t mean everyone else does too. I have personally surveyed people living within a 5 minute walk of one of Melbourne’s largest sporting facilities, who didn’t even know it was there!
People do not know how good you are or that they should trust you. It is absolutely critical to ensure you gather all the evidence you can to provide your credibility … unless of course you want to carry on just like you are now.
What emotional benefits do you deliver?
How do you want people to feel when they interact with your sports organisation? Do you leave them feeling elated, relieved, excited, relaxed, or something else completely? Write down three emotions that summarise how you want people to feel when they interact with your sports organisation.
What is your Big Idea as a sporting organisation?
This is the why. It needs to make an emotional connection with people and make them realise that they are dealing with an organisation that really cares about making the world a better place.
Often, its very difficult to take the first step in defining your own brand message. To help you do this, here’s a sample answer that we developed for a business we are thinking about starting at some stage in the future. When you read through it, consider the ways in which you could develop answers that are just as compelling for your own sports organisation. We think that there is a need for this kind of business – let us know what you think…
Answers to Defining Your Brand Message for fictional business ‘Athletes Game Plan’
Step 1 - Tell us who you are and what you do - simply and clearly
Athletes Game Plan develops brands and marketing for elite athletes who want to continue their careers off the sporting field.
Step 2 - Who do you do it for? Who is your customer?
We work with elite athletes and organisations involved in sport.
Step 3 - What problem do you solve? What are the top three core problems you solve for your customers?
Elite athletes have profile and credibility very early in their lives but often don't know how to make use of this when their playing days are over. We overcome this problem by developing brands for them and their business ventures that ensure continued success off the field of play. We often start this process well before the athlete's career finishes. These athletes often have great personal contacts, excellent leadership skills and the ability to perform under pressure but don't know how to bring it all together. We ensure they have strong brands, effective marketing strategies and a focus on their future.
1. Give athletes a focus after their playing days are over; 2. Develop a sense of worth that is not directly related to their sporting achievements; 3. Identify opportunities and partnerships that are a natural fit with clients.
Step 4 - How are you able to do this? Why are you different?
1. I've been a professional athlete and I have personal experience in doing this for myself. I have helped others do the same.
2. I have extensive experience in developing brands and marketing strategies for people and products, from multinationals to individuals.
3. We use proven systems that have worked for us and others over many years AND we use these systems ourselves - we don't just talk about it.
4. Every client receives a personalised critique of their own situation from someone (me) who is a lateral thinker and has worked with numerous business in many categories.
5. We provide ongoing education and workshop sessions for clients so they are constantly 'ahead of the game' - we don't take your money and forget you.
6. I can quickly and easily gain peoples trust and set them at ease so they feel at ease telling me the truth about their issues.
Step 5 - What makes you credible
I've been a professional athlete and done this for myself. I've run my own successful business using these methods and I've spoken on this subject to numerous groups over the the past 20 years. I have developed brands for athletes and organisations and I'm writing a book for athletes and sporting organisations to do this. I've helped develop branding and marketing solutions for some of Australia's best known brands. I have implemented and used all the technology and systems we deliver in my own businesses and I attend a number of marketing and branding conferences every year to ensure I'm ahead of the game. Some of my teachers are the leading exponents of branding and marketing in the world. I'm an excellent connector and know a number of Australia's most successful business and sports people on a first name basis.
Step 6 - Proof / evidence you can deliver
I have 100's of testimonials from happy clients about the value I have brought to them. I have examples of the work I have done. You can visit the websites of my other businesses to see that I practise what I preach. We continue to work with some of Australia's leading brands.
Step 7 - The ultimate benefit / mission (why will customers life be better with this solution?)
I want to be known as the person who helps make ordinary businesses good, good businesses great and gives people the freedom to do wheat they REALLY want with their lives. My mission is to empower athletes to continue their success and live their real dreams.
Would you like help developing the brand message for your sports organisation? Click below to get in touch with us and find out more: