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The big idea is a catch-all for your company or service.  It should encapsulate what makes you different, what you offer, why you’re doing it and how you’re going to present it. The other ingredients are slightly more specific, but they should all feed from the big idea.

The big idea is also a uniting concept that can hold together an otherwise disparate set of activities. Ideally, it will inform everything you do, big or small, including customer service, advertising, a website order form, staff uniforms, corporate identity, perhaps right down to your answer machine message.

To pin down your own big idea you will need to look very carefully at your own business and the marketplace around you, asking these types of questions:

How can you stand out?

What is your offer?

What makes you different?

What is your ‘personality’?

What do consumers want or need?

Is there a gap in the market?

Once decided, the articulation of these ideas can be put into action through branding which includes design, advertising, events, partnerships, staff training and so on.

It is these activities that set up the consumer’s understanding and expectation of your company; in other words, its brand.

And once you’ve set up this brand ‘promise’, the most important thing is to ensure that your products and services consistently deliver on it.