So what’s in a brand, really? Is it the image? Is it the company behind the name? Of course, anyone with enough sense will say it’s about all these things, and more. It works for every business, big or small.
A commonly used term in marketing, branding is often the subliminal process by which a business employs marketing strategies to guide people to easily remember their products and services over a competitor’s.
Essentially, it’s applied psychology. Branding is also a method to leverage success, expand market share, and fend off competition. The problem is, companies are turning to branding as a panacea and the cold, hard fact is branding will not create a spike in cash flow or market share. Therefore, it makes sense to understand that the purpose of branding is not to make your target market choose you over the competition, but rather to urge your prospects to see you as the only solution to their problem.
A good brand is one that can convey a company’s message throughout a wide array of audience, ideally one that is timeless and one that sticks.
A strong brand is invaluable, as the battle for customers intensifies day by day. Brands of the future will be those able to surround their products and services with ardent advocates and loyalists: passion brands.
All other brands will be left to compete in the price wars. It is important that the TV, radio, print online and offline images of your business be harmonious and that time is invested in researching, defining, and building your brand. After all, your brand is your promise to your consumer. Your brand resides within the hearts and minds of customers, clients and prospects. It is the sum total of their experiences and perceptions regarding your company, some of which you can influence, and some that you cannot.
How do you connect with the consumer when they’re calling all the shots?
View your consumers as both customer and collaborator and employ game-changing thinking. In order to change the game, you need to audit how you think, comparing rational versus intuitive decision-making strategies and identifying common mistakes made by even the most experienced professionals. The process is based on the premise that the answers to your company’s brand strategy reside in the heads of the CEO and the key management group.
YOUR COMPANY’S BRAND STRATEGY MUST BE OWNED BY EVERY EMPLOYEE FROM THE TOP DOWN.
Eleven key attributes necessary to become a passion brand include:
1. You must recognize that your brand is a key asset in delivering strategic targets at a level that is higher than the industry standard.
2. Do not consider the brand as merely a communications issue—your brand must be recognized as the key platform to link the company strategy with customers and employees.
3. Make sure your brand management processes are integrated seamlessly into the company’s processes—i.e., “branding” is not a separate activity.
4. Your senior management is accountable for the brand’s continued health—brand responsibility resides at C-level.
5. All of your employees need to share a belief in the brand as well as a common understanding of the brand. With this mindset in place, the power of the brand will act as an incentive to employees.
6. Ensure your employees’ activities are aligned with the brand values and contribute to the building and strengthening of the brand.
7. Your employees should be measured and rewarded by the success of these brand-guided activities.
8. Your marketing department must be able to talk in terms of expected return on their investments and marketers must be able to leverage customer insights to make the most effective marketing decisions. Future strategy should be built based on knowledge of the customer, product and practices.
9. All marketing activities should be closely aligned with the core brand values.
10. It is necessary to invest in sufficient IT capability to capture data on customers, segment customers in order to efficiently respond to their needs, and implement marketing techniques to deliver increased ROI.
11. You must identify your company’s brand equity (the financial value of your brand) by understanding the brand’s value drivers and the levers required to influence these drivers. This action leads to success.
Always remember that your BRAND IS EVERYTHING that you and your company stands for. People may not know the name of your company, but it is important that they remember the brand you carry — especially when they decide to make a purchase.
GET INTO THE GAME.
BUILD YOUR BRAND. MAKE IT STRONG.
For discussion of Brand Building and Strategic Marketing Solutions, call me at (632) 514-5868. We’re building brands not just for “awareness”, but to deliver “day-after” sales results.