Peel the Onion

Salty Social was incredibly lucky to be invited to attend Word Camp DC this past July. We soaked in as much information about Word Press as possible. During the final day, we took a break from the technical sessions to enjoy the Branding and Design workshop.

We started thinking about you. Have we prepared you to properly identify your Brand?

Many businesses still believe that they are in control of their Brand, through traditional advertising. Unfortunately, those days are long gone. Your audience now decides your Brand for you. Real-time interaction with your customer equates to real-time Brand promotion, and is not always advantageous. If you are not on top of your social game, your voice is lost in the landscape. Or worse, your lack of social strategy inadvertently devolves into a negative voice, actively repulsing your target audience. The first step to ensuring an effective social strategy is developing your Brand message and your voice.

Our favorite way to develop your Branding is through the Onion Model. Your Brand has many layers. We will take a few of those layers and peel them back from the inside out.


What is your promise? This promise, the core of your onion, should be clear and concise. This can be accomplished multiple ways. But before that promise can be attributed, you must ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is your business/service?
  • What message do you want the customer to receive?

Once these questions are answered, your promise must transmit those two things.

Great! Now you have identified your message, but what’s next? Now it’s time to gauge whether your product confirms your Brand promise. Through substantiation, your product will either confirm or refute your Branding vision.

Substantiation is the truth of your Brand – your benefits, value and skills. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What benefit does this offer?
  • Does this item bring value?
  • Do you offer any additional skill to others?

If the answers are yes, then you have substantiated your product or service and you are able to peel the final layer of the onion – proposition and message. This is your personality and value – what other people think of you. Your reputation proceeds you and will be in line with your Brand promise, if all layers are working simultaneously.

How have you developed your Brand? Do you utilize any layers of the onion? We are always available to discuss how we can apply the onion to your Branding process.

Courtney West is the founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Salty Social Marketing. Courtney has studied Social Media Marketing at Northwestern University, is certified in Google Analytics and maintains her HubSpot Marketing Certification. She is dedicated to helping small businesses find their voice and share their story.

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