A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Write an SMP Using the Brand Wheel Model

Brand Wheel

So, how do you write an SMP?

Writing an SMP isn’t easy…. but then again, it probably shouldn’t be if you’re taking the foundations of your brand and formulating a phrase which is designed to empower your creative team and be embraced by your customers.

A great way to draw on ideas to create your SMP is by using a brand wheel.

What is a SMP and why does it matter for my brand?

Every brand should have a single-minded proposition (SMP). It is without a doubt, one of the most important phrases that your brand will use to guide your activities and persuade your customers on how your brand is different to the rest.

Without an SMP your marketing campaigns will be more difficult to create and much less effective as SMPs are used as a guide on how you want to portray your brand and what your creatives should convey to your viewers.

Great SMP’s are memorable and motivating and often become taglines.

For example:
M&Ms – ‘The Milk Chocolate Melts in Your Mouth, Not In Your Hand’.
Domino’s – ‘You Get Your Fresh, Hot Pizza Delivered to Your Door In 30 Minutes or Less – Or It’s Free’. Nike – Just Do It!

Why should you use the brand wheel model to create your brand's SMP?

The brand wheel is a templated approach to help you understand your brand by breaking It down into these 5 categories:

Attributes, Benefits, Values, Brand Personality & Brand Essence

By starting from the outside and working your way in, this process can help you define your brand and what your core brand essence is which will help clarify what your SMP should say to your audience.

Step 1: Attributes

The first step is to look at the surface level facts about your company.

You should look at objective data which can be verified such as market share and number of products sold in the last year.

Here you define the physical and functional characteristics of the brand e.g. financial characteristics.

Step 2: Benefits

Next you should think about how your product/service is advantageous for your customers. It may be useful to ask yourself, ‘what business problems lead our clients to work with us?’, ‘How does our product solve our customers’ problems?’ and ‘what does our product/service do that others don’t?’…

This step should clarify what the brand does, and the results achieved from using the brand.

Step 3: Values

The step looks more at the internal-facing message – what your brand strives for and does every day, what you promote and want your brand to be.

If you haven’t already defined your core values, ask yourself: ‘How do I want my employees to describe the way that we conduct ourselves?’ ‘What do I want the outside world to think we value?’

This step should answer how the brand makes people feel about themselves and how others feel about using the brand.

Step 4: Brand Personality

Your brand’s personality reflects how consumers’ respond to a brand and the reasons why they are attracted to it.

To discover your brand’s personality ask yourself: ‘How does the product or brand affect the customer?’ ‘How can the customer best describe the product?’ ‘What does the customer feel like when using the brand?’

Brand personality focuses on the psychological and emotional advantages of the brand and the image it evokes in others.

Step 5: Brand Essence

All of the definitions that you have created and clarified in the previous 4 steps should now help you focus on your SMP.

Look at all of your previous points and extract the most important ones to build a catchy slogan which summarises what your brand stands for.

Step 6: Reflection

Defining a brand is difficult and takes constant reflection. Brands change over time so it’s important that you revisit this process regularly to make sure that your SMP matches up to your brand. As you move forward in the future, looking at where you want to be, it’s important to already know who you are and what you already stand for.

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