By Michele Kelly
Einstein (has there been a more oft-quoted genius since the late 1800s?) loved questions. He once said that if he had an hour to solve a problem where his life depended upon the solution, he would spend the first 55 minutes figuring out the question.
If I were in his shoes, I would probably Google the answer, then eat a cookie. But therein lies the reason no one has ever called me a genius.
When it comes to brand, asking the right questions matters. In the many brands we help build, we begin by talking to our client's audience - real people outside the organization who either have had contact with the company or who could potentially be buyers. From advocates who wouldn't buy elsewhere to the ones who up and left to complete strangers, their answers give us something every single brand hungers for: the truth.
Here are the main questions I oftentimes ask. I'll call the client Company A:
What is special about Company A - what sets them apart? (this points to their value proposition)
Why did you choose them? (this points to their value proposition)
What problem did they solve that other firms could not? (this points to what makes them different and their mission)
What extra value did they bring? (this points to what makes them different)
What are three words you would use to describe Company A? (this points to their style)
Would you recommend them to a friend and why? (this points to their value proposition)
If Company A were a person, how would you describe him or her? (this points to their voice as a company)
If you did not work with Company A, where would you have gone? (this shows our first line of competitors)
How did their culture or values contribute to your decision to choose them? (this points to values)
If you no longer work with Company A, what ended the relationship? (this points to misperceptions, process issues or possible internal problems)
If company A were a piece of music, how would you describe them? (this uses other creative mediums besides words to show style)
Should there be a zombie apocalypse, how would Company A save the world? (this points to vision; plus it's a fun question to ask)
... from these questions, the conversation multiplies and you get even deeper answers. What brand questions do you ask your clients?