I would like to discuss how to unlock the power of brand in your business. I would like to clarify some marketing jargon and give you simple but valuable tips on how to bring your inner brand to life.
What is branding or brand?
- Is it a logo, no
- Is it the feeling a company or product gives you, kind of.
Branding is the total experience your company delivers to its customers from start to finish.Branding is about where you fit in the market, how you are perceived, what you look like, what you sound like and in some case what you taste like. Brand is everywhere in your business, you just may not have admitted it to yourself yet.
But Boyd we agree with you. How do we get ‘that’? I would like to give you some real ways to do this today.
More than ever brand is critical. Why?
- The market is more competitive; the Internet has dramatically affected this notion.
- The market is more price sensitive; the customer expects more-
- The customer has more choice than ever; they are not as loyal
I know you have heard this all before but most people I meet to consult with are not entirely open to accepting these factors and not prepared to really make understanding their customer their number 1 priority. All the great brands take this simple care to the highest level. So the first step to unlocking the brand in your company is to be open to this idea in the first place…
The first place you need to start is at 30,000 feet.
What’s 30,000 feet? It’s a concept to understand the big picture. Understanding your own vision and big picture is the most important driver in your branding discovery journey. When you view your business and your brand from 30,000 feet and keep it really simple you can make sense of everything. How does this happen? I believe the every business needs to define specific strategies in the following 3 key areas:
- Brand strategy
- Communications strategy
- Marketing strategy
But these all sound like the same things. Don’t they? No, they are distinctly different but connected intimately. Let’s break them down.
Your brand strategy is:
- Your belief system
- You essential purpose
- Your ‘why’ for existing.
Put simply where do you want your brand to fit into the market? This must be defined clearly in the beginning.
Involving staff in this process is strongly recommended. Start thinking of your staff as your brand ambassadors. Recruit people who fit your brand ambassador profile!
Think about the personality of your brand. This is often referred to as the tone of your brand. This subtle and intangible element is really important to understand. Most people’s brand personality tends to represent them. That’s Ok but make sure you think that it’s relevant and you’re comfortable with it. In fact, my original brand was Corporate Image and whilst I love the brand because it was my first, my real passion and core brand strategy is with my umbrella brand Big Picture Group because. Why? Because it now most accurately reflects me and my way of thinking. Remember, your brand strategy may need to change as you do. When your brand does not represent your real and deep desires and purpose you have already failed in my opinion.
This outcome may be as simple as we want to provide the freshest fruit with the shortest delivery time with the friendliest service. But how can we convince people that this belief is true?
The next step is to develop your communications strategy. Your communications strategy is:
- The brand story or the ‘pitch’
- It’s your brand messages
- It’s about proving to the market you are living your brand strategy- these are often referred to as ‘proof points’
Knowing how to layer the messages and balance the mix of messages over time is really the key here. Many businesses tend to shove all their strengths and features into one advert and repeat the advert with little benefit. It’s about telling a story over a period of time adding more and taking some away each time.
So bottom line, you need great content to push your brand strategy and core-positioning objective. Many people don’t value great content in branding and tend to think it’s purely a visual thing.
Your essential brand building blocks are:
- Brand Personality (tone, emotion!)
- Brand Name (not your initials, something which really means something)
- Brand Visual (logo, break the visual cues of your market)
- Brand Slogan (positioning statement / brand promise – be bold)
- Brand Story (content)
- Brand Imagery (people, offices, product, theme based)
- Brand Tools (stationery, signage, brochures, website, video etc etc)
- Brand People (staff! No matter how well your staff adhere to using the new logo if they couldn’t care less about they job they’re doing, that’s your brand)
- Brand Place (are the lights on, or is your team working in darkness? Is the office clean and uncluttered? Does it have signage that’s consistent with your brand? Does it look and feel alive? Your work place is your brand).
Once you have defined your brand and communications strategy as outlined above you need your brand to have a marketing strategy. Your marketing strategy is the vehicle for your branding experience. It’s the way you get your brand out there.
So you can see I have covered three key pillars of thinking from developing your brand strategy (your essence or singled minded belief), your communications strategy (all the great things you want to tell the right people to prove your brand strategy wins) and then the marketing strategy.
We won’t cover marketing strategy in this session but for the purpose of today’s process these are my top 5 tips when taking your brand to market:
- Be memorable, be prepared to be bold to stand out
- Dominate the web (SEO, SEA, SMO, Banner Advertising, Email)
- Use direct marketing and build your database (email, mail, SMS)
- Ensure your staff know what your marketing strategy is, particularly the sales team!
- Ask your clients for feedback on your marketing strategy; the cheapest and most effective market research tool available.
In fact, use your clients to test your brand, communications and marketing strategies.Small business can have a great brand and deliver a great brand experience for its customers. It really is about being true to what you believe in, committing to it and living it through your service, tone, messaging, visual cues (such as your logo). It’s about creating staff belief in your brand and getting their commitment. Lastly, choose carefully where you want to promote your brand.