Clarity of Purpose

Use this brainstorming exercise to clarify what matters to customers.

Diana Lillicrap 5.06.2016


You probably already know that for effective branding it’s important to know who you are, what you do, and why it matters to customers. But did you know, clearly defining what you ARE NOT is just as important?

Why? Because great brands are not all things to all people. Having clarity around what you offer and what you don’t helps define your brand position and creates deeper meaning with customers.

Need a little help figuring out what’s not true to your core and what you should tell your customers you don’t do? Here’s a brainstorming technique to get you started.

Things you do well

First, make a list of all the things you do really well as a business. Keep it broad. Include products, services, processes, elements of your culture—anything that is unique to you.

Things you don’t do well

Next, make a list of things customers might think you do, but you don’t. This could be related to products or services, wrong perceptions about price or quality, or anything else that might be true of your competitors, but not you. Add to your list any attributes that conflict with things on your “do well” list. For example, if you provide services that are high-end and detailed, maybe fast-turn and cheap belong on your “don’t do” list.

Narrow and prioritize

Next, group similar things and narrow down duplicate ideas on both lists. Then, prioritize your lists in order of most important to least important. When you are finished, you should have two concise lists of “do’s” and “don’ts.”

Pair for clarity

Now get creative and pair each “do” with a “don’t” to bring deeper meaning to your brand voice. For example:
“We are smart, but not elitists.”
“We are designers, but not PR experts.”
“We are rugged, and not for the faint of heart.”

Try to find pairs for each of your top 5 – 10 do and don’t traits. If you can’t get them all to match up perfectly, it’s ok to come up with a new phrase or opposite trait that helps to clarify your offering.

Going through this exercise can help you create consensus within your organization about your niche, bring more clarity to your true brand voice, and ultimately more meaning and depth to your communications with key audiences.

Did this spark an idea? Let's talk!

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