Interesting article by Clyde Fessler, former vice president, business development, Harley-Davidson Motor Company.
In today’s international business world, it is becoming more difficult to compete successfully and, ultimately, provide a return to investors.
The proliferation of competitors, short term objectives, and opportunities to place investment dollars elsewhere also make it difficult to invest in building brands
Building a brand takes commitment, focus, and three to five years of complimentary programmes. It is not just an advertising programme. It is a company-wide effort that unifies everyone’s energies, toward the same common objective.
It takes dedication and a focus of limited resources to execute the various strategies in the different functions of the company. Each department had to take its turn, develop its plans and execute a defined strategy.
But first, there are three strategic questions to ask yourself when building a brand:
Who are we?
Is your company a house of several brands, or is your company a branded house with sub-brands? What does your company do? Provide a service, promote a cause, build a product, or create a lifestyle? Whatever it is, your statement of who you are should differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Who are our customers?
This is one of the most difficult aspects of the process. Are they the people who buy our products now, and how many of them are there? Or is our customer someone who aspires to the brand and what it stands for, and wants to be included?
Is our definition going to be exclusive, or inclusive to show the potential of where we are going and who we want to reach.
The analysis of the customer should understand the trends in the marketplace, the motivation behind the buying process, the unmet needs of the customer, and the subtle differences in the segmentation. Another important aspect in creating a brand statement is understanding your competitor’s brand, if it has one.
What do they expect from you?
Believe it or not, this is the easiest part of the process. If you have done your homework, the expectations should flow from your findings. Understanding your brand identity, and what it means to your customer, is another way of addressing it