My Commitment to You!
If I agree to help you,
I bring friendly guidance, and loyalty, in the most knowledgeable marketing communiczations advice and development services to maximize your success in every way!
• Marketing strategy
• Marketing planning
• Design & Development
• Website content
• Website Positioning
• Print Production
• Media Production
– Richard Leach
Website Last Revised:
Marketing Smart |
Branding — A Business Strategy
Every business is in business to sell a product or service; therefore, every business must make a presentation to a consumer group. Essentially, your presentation represents every positive, or potentially negative, thought a consumer will have about your company, product or service. If that presentation is to be effective it must be well planned and an organized focus on the strongest, most positive, most explicit communication of product or service and end consumer benefit. This is branding. Branding is the strategy behind every consumer communication made by successful companies and a necessity of every business that must be employed to insure success. Without due consideration to focused attention to answering the communication objectives of brand strategy, your consumer's perception of your business will very likely be scattered, undermined and misrepresentative or even potentially negative. Advertising effort or monies spent without strategic overview consideration to existing consumer perception, and the resulting reasonable answers to counter or augment that perception is truly wasted.
Of course no business would intentionally want their consumer to have a negative impression. However, contrary to that statement the majority of small to medium size businesses know more about their production values than their marketing strategy. Inadvertently they make the wrong or erroneous impression in the marketing steps they take as result of not having a marketing objective focus. Every human feels they are the experts at what they do and as result are easily closed-minded when it comes to strategic planning. Flying by egotistical instinct creates flawed marketing presentations that often come from personal bias of beliefs, or misdirected ideals of alter personal agendas that have nothing to do with marketing and your consumer end benefit perception. Where is your vantage point? More than what you want to say, the question you need to ask is, what does the consumer need to hear? The actual answer will depend on how willing you are to get out of your own way and truly stand in your potential consumer's shoes to consider the buying decision from their potentially limited understanding, in order to decide your most effective marketing strategy. Would you rather be right, or, would you rather be rich?
A good brand is nothing without the right marketing strategy and a good strategy is nothing without the right branding. Can you imagine if Google had not used a solidly focused marketing strategy and mega-dollars to promote the Google name? It may have never become a household word and an unconscious consumer first choice. Would you have ever learned what a google was if they had stood in your marketing strategy and budget limitations?
What does UPS mean to you and why? If you don't have a solid strategy or mega-dollars to promote your business offering or a fleet of trucks to act as constant mobile billboards to get you a ton of free consumer exposure reminding consumers what your company does, you had better have a name that more clearly expresses the essence of your consumer end benefit than Google or UPS, which describes nothing until you pay to promote its meaning in educating the potential consumer. Is a name that doesn't tell your story a marketing lie, by omission?
It's all in a name, and the big boys will show you how it is done if you are observant. Proctor and Gamble spends the most marketing dollars in Canada and they do it brand smart. You look at the line up of P&G winners and find they have products like KleenNShine, SprayNwash to realize they are capitalizing on instant description for consumer understanding. They are getting the most bang for their advertising buck because every time you see the name you get instant communication of what they will do for you; no more need be said. No more money needs to be spent on consumer education; you just need to put the name out there to get exposure.
Strategic Branding of your medium to small sized business or product or service is needed. Most businesses simply do not have the resources of mega exposure or the mega-dollars it takes to promote the Acme product into a household word. In fact, most small to medium size businesses spend very little on advertising exposure, often your stationery is the most you may spend on printing until one day you decide you need more than those in-house inkjet one on one presentations and decide to splurge on a printed brochure. Even then you discover the printed brochure is not any more effective because of unfocused strategy and poor development. In this you will have learned the hard way, hopefully without too much lost revenue, that the concept to market smart rather than expensive, is the most powerful business tool a small business has in the arsenal.
Choosing a "working" name is crucial to saving marketing dollars and gaining maximum value for every advertising dollar spent. No, this does not mean brainstorming to come up with a cool attractive name. You begin with investigation into the market to understand the consumer position and then build your marketing strategy to answer consumer concerns, and then write communication objectives to set the target communication that your name and everything else that follows must meet in order to make the most powerful focused engineered consumer communication and most importantly consistent presentation to your new potential consumers.
You need to define your brand and this begins with defining yourself and what you believe about your business. Doing this is the first step to stepping out of your own way. You will find that what we think we know about our own business is very often disproven by real market research, so beginning with what you professionally know and believe, teaches and arms you with just what questions to ask to find out what the consumer does not know or understand …that you erroneously thought they did.
What is your mission?
What do you hope to accomplish with your business or product?
Define your business, product or service from your perspective?
What do you think your customer knows about you or your business?
What do you want your customer think about you or your business?
What do you think is your current reputation in this business?
What are all your business, product or service features?
What are all the consumer benefits of using your business, product or service?
Out of this introspection you will now have made hard copy notes about all you think you want to say. Now you need to take the time to question yourself and validate your belief with research. Set aside your ego and need to be right, so you can define the truth that will make you rich. It is best if you always approach marketing by assuming the consumer knows nothing. Stand with the average consumer who has never known you or what you know and refrain from telling him what you think in favour of questioning him. What does my potential consumer think right now? What are his gaps of knowledge that will impact his interest or buying decision? What does he need to know? Do not assume you already know, go out there and find out.
In these beginning stages of branding you are without doubt developing your company or product personality. This is like the façade that each of us wears that is either attractive or abhorrent to others. This aspect of branding can accelerate or break consumer perception for potential brand loyalty that drives future business. Unlike a human filled with emotional idiosyncrasies and foibles that often drive personality on autopilot, come what may, your business personality can be strategically set with certain characteristics and policies so there is no reason to just let the chips fall where they may. You should be considering core attributes of policy that will later guide all future developments and consumer presentation with a defined mission. The mission statement is formed from the branded ideals you choose to set as company or product policy and this becomes a tangible guideline to teach others. It is these that will govern how all others may be allowed to present your business or product in the future.
Seize the high Ground! The most honourable corporate personalities have humanitarian objectives to uplift and support the community or the world at large. Creating goodwill in the community is balance sheet asset because we choose to patronize companies and products that are trustable because they care. When considering this aspect as a tangible valuable asset it is logical to recognize that no business persona that is first focused on screwing the completion and shafting the consumer to maximize cash ever creates endearing loyalty of repeat consumers. Your business or product or service should focus first on how it is enabled to serve the community, to make it grow, to empower people, to foster creativity and aid in the achievement of goals and dreams. Focus all activities on doing good things, caring for people, in providing consumer benefits and let the flow of abundance come as a byproduct of goodwill.
Build on Human Emotion! It really does not matter what your industry is, it is the people in any market that make the buying decisions and every buying decision will have an emotional component. People relate to all things on a social emotional level and that is the hidden factor of every decision. Find the emotional components of your business and build your brand with them in mind. How do we make the consumer feel? Can we provide sensory perceptions like pleasure, safety, security, joy, sexy, cool, powerful, etc., that are transferable to the consumer to create a "must have" or "must buy" desire impulse.
Know What You Stand for! What is the single most important thing you want the consumer to instantly know about your company product or service? Trying to be all things for all people is a futile exercise that dilutes you consumer communications and reduces your sales potential. Consider what elements are most important in your differentiation from competitors and focus your branding theme towards this direction.
Dare to be different! Owners and managers of many companies find some ideal of comfort in staying inside the box doing as all other competitors, doing what has always been done before. In this they tend to ignore the competition to write their marketing material as though they were the sole innovators and providers of something wonderful and declare themselves market leaders. The problem is that no one is actually doing or saying anything different and absolutely no one is actually leading anything. If both you and the competitors are saying the same thing, your branding strategy is not effective; you cancel each other out living the consumer with not even criteria to discern the difference. Beyond the fact that humans are by nature resistant to change the marketplace and humanity at large must evolve so unconsciously the consumer is looking for leadership from someone, anyone, to step up and lead by doing and telling them something new, different, interesting, and compelling.
Find and Listen to Feedback! Ultimately consumers, not you, decide what is desirable and acceptable. Once you have created a solid branding strategy run it up the flag pole and see who stops to salute. A test of the market can be as simple as presenting groups of consumers (your acquaintances who do not already know your idea) details about your new venture or product and wait to see what reactive feedback will bounce back. Remember their first responses will be honest reflections of general unindoctrinated perception! This is the truest knowledge of your prospective marketplace that trumps whatever your own educated knowledge may be. Discern incoming comments to evaluate how accurately and how acceptable your concept was understood. Resistance to this is futile path to lost sales. Find the problem communication perceptions and CHANGE. Real consumer response will show the path to constructive options and potential innovative changes to fine tune your strategy.
Once you have formulated a consumer driven knowledgeable branding strategy you are ready to go into name generation mode where all potential names must meet the communication objectives of what your consumer needs to instantly perceive of your business, product or service. Remember this process is not about what you like; this is not about you at all, it is about engineering communications that educate and sell. The most expressive option is the winning name that will make you the most money. From the short list remember you will also want to gain ownership of the dot com so checking this availability is the last vital criteria to be met.
When you have appointed the most powerfully strategic name and secured your dot com ownership, you will now utilize the same market research to come up with the rest of the brand strategy. Whether your business is just preparing to launch or you have been building for years, now is always the time for doing it right; building a solid planned foundation based on valid research before you build the rest of the marketing presentation. Your brand is, or should be, as unique as you are. Your story is often the single most motivating reason why your prospect will spend their money with you. But, your story is not just your history evolving into this business. While that may be interesting, your branding story is the focused description of consumer end benefits that you discovered in research. This is the story of your consumer's experience that makes your business appear different and instantly appeal to the consumer. This is the marketing direction of your basic presentation that you and others will now religiously adhere to.
Developing Supportive Elements
Now is the time to develop and evolve that compelling and unique story of your business into various presentation pieces. These will consistently meet your prospective consumer with a powerful motivating message in numerous ways. You will achieve this by understanding the elements of presentation and carefully choosing to always maximize them in a constant and mutually supportive way.
Logo: Most people believe and even some educators will tell you that the right logo will speak volumes about your business but this is a pedestrian view of what successful imagery is about. A logo or formally called logotype, is a designed graphic symbol meant to universally represent a business, product or service. The only thing this symbol truly says is this business spent money on being impressive but without a fleet of trucks or a bag of promotion money this symbol will not leave a lasting communication of what you do or how you will benefit the consumer. A month or two after meeting a prospect he is likely to come across your business card with its fancy logo and not remember who you were or what your were about. Your imagery is then round filed. Many failed businesses have been buried with their wonderful symbolic icon.
Wordmark: A wordmark is a stylization of your company or product name that is building on your communication objective driven marketing strategy. Even if all you have to distribute is business cards, every time a consumer looks at your expressive name stylized in a wordmark they read the meaning and know exactly what you are going to do for them. And even years down the road this presentation will continue to speak its meaning to the reader. As long as they have interest in what you offer your imagery will be valued and saved for later use.
Tagline: A good tagline adds to the strategic communication of what you offer and adds a communication that is difficult to share in a name or wordmark stylization. You want a few punchy words that expand consumer perception to further define your brand. Stay far away from cheesy 1950's slogans that are a cutesy but meaningless play on words.
Theme: A design theme must be developed to answer your communication objectives and that theme must be the continuity between every marketing presentation you make. Your theme then, must be designed in such away as to be mobile from one application to another. From Stationary to Website, Brochures, Print Media ads, Bus-boards, Public Benches, etc., your presentation must be consistent in order to build brand equity in consumer trust for loyalty.
Integration: Your strategy has been developed based on specific communication requirements. You have developed you branded imagery and it's now time to implement your strategy, everywhere and in everything. It needs to be the constant theme threat of connection in everything you do in your business. Everything from the signature you use on email or brochures, to how you answer your phone or the way you present or explain your business, product or service aloud.
Consistency: While change can be good, even large advertisers promote in campaigns for a reason. There is a huge need for consistent promotion to gain brand recognition, consumer memory, and develop brand loyalty. The effect of advertising is cumulative. You have to put the same imagery in front of the prospective consumer numerous times to create the perception of an established brand for the consumer to believe in and trust. It will take more than four to six or more repeated exposures of the same branded imagery within reasonable time duration to establish positive memory for the consumer to come to even consider a buy decision. It is funny that the marketer with the lowest promotion budget also seems to be the one to desire constant change in developing each presentation. However, they need to consider how often the consumer has seen the current presentation theme before undertaking redesign. While you may think this theme is old because you live with it daily for a few years, most likely with limited public advertising exposure you have barely begun to develop brand equity of that presentation in the consumers mind. The larger your budget for exposure and potentially achieving consumer saturation in shorter time period, the greater is your need to modify the theme on a cyclical basis. This is to avoid boring the consumer. However, marketers and especially those with lesser budgets need to be cautious because all change must be evolutionary in order to not alienate the market equity that you have spent much time and effort developing.
Stay Focused: If you stray from your brands marketing strategy, that established stability perception every consumer requires to make the purchase decision will rapidly fade. Certainly, there will be constant tweaking as you go along. All change will be evolutionary developing from your strategy foundation but never lose sight of the original objectives. After all, this is strategically tailored to suit your consumer, and this presentation is how they recognize, know, and believe in you. The seduction of techno-gimmickry is the place where we are most often derailed from a solid foundation of engineered consumer communications because its so easy to think slick technology will sell! It may impress people with desire for more techno-entertainment, but what will it truly do to communicate your objectives. Very often slick is actually a diversion away from your strongest consumer communications… and you paid to derail your own prospect from the purchase decision. The only time those original communication objectives should change is if you stop and redo the consumer evaluation to discover your consumer's attitudes have changed.
Public Relations: It is not uncommon for finances to restrict advertising budgets so often your advertising exposure can be limited to simple stationary and maybe a brochure. Armed with business cards and brochure you can do a lot of public relations networking to create a splash in numerous social and business circles. Word of Mouth advertising while least expensive can be the most potent because personal conversations always carry an element of endorsement. Social media is an evolving marketing phenomenon that provides extraordinary PR opportunities on steroids. Here you can reach an unlimited marketplace with seemingly unbiased knowledge as an authority on the topic that educates the consumer, stirs interest, and possibly drives sales.
Share this website
with someone you believe has interest.
Designed by RichartImages.ca © Copyright 2004-2011 Richard Leach - Richartmages.com - All Rights Reserved