The strategy is set. You clearly know who you are, you’ve decided on your brand difference, you’ve found folks who want what you have, and you’ve mapped out the great experience you will deliver. Now you must employ the big brand bang and let your message resonate through every point of market contact.
The next step in building your brand is tactical. What specific weapons are you going to launch, at whom, and with what frequency? How will you be heard, noticed, and remembered in a crowded, chaotic playing field, possibly working with less money than your competitors? I refer to this engine as ‘‘speaking loudly even when you whisper,’’ by which I mean making sure that even your smallest effort is on target, relevant, and working to build the brand.
Tactic 1: Visual Identity
The footprint of a brand—your corporate identity, graphic system, or visual voice—can take your brand many good places. It can also head you straight into a wall if it does not accurately project what the brand is and consistently stick to the story. Continue reading →
When we speak of branding most of the time people try to relate it to big business house, however, the fact is that every business needs to establish their brand in order to survive the competition. You might be having a very small business but would you like your client to perceive your business as a small time entrepreneurial effort?
Getting a professionally designed custom logo and an easy to remember punch line are some of the very important elements of branding a business. A logo is not just a symbol or a piece of graphics; it is actually your corporate identity. A properly designed logo can leave long lasting impression on your clients and will never let your business slip out of their minds.
So, if you think you are tired of being a “small business” and its time to grow up, take the first step; establish your brand!
Product branding is a well-known phenomenon in marketing. A brand is a promise to the customer that goes beyond the generic product, the technical and physical attributes. When selling a branded product the company promises that the consumer will achieve special qualities by using the product, different qualities than when using a similar non branded or different branded product. A typical message from the company is “when using this product you will be more attracted, become better looking and signal a higher social class“. By using the branded product the consumer can communicate his/her lifestyle or wanted lifestyle.
On the other side corporate branding refers to the practice of using a company’s name as a product brand name. It is an attempt to leverage corporate brand equity to create product brand recognition. It is a type of family branding or umbrella brand.
Corporate branding employs the same methodology and toolbox used in product branding, but it also elevates the approach a step further into the board room, where additional issues around stakeholder relations (shareholders, media, competitors, governments and many others) can help the corporation benefit from a strong and well-managed corporate branding strategy. Not surprisingly, a strong and comprehensive corporate branding strategy requires a high level of personal attention and commitment from the CEO and the senior management to become fully effective and meet the objectives.
Among the advantages of a corporate branding strategy we can count:
the corporate brand is the face of the business strategy, portraying what the corporation aims at doing and what it wants to be known for in the market place, is the overall umbrella for the corporations’ activities and encapsulates its vision, values, personality, positioning and image among many other dimensions.
corporate branding strategy creates simplicity; it stands on top of the brand portfolio as the ultimate identifier of the corporation.
a coporate branding strategy can drive some cost efficiencies that can often be achieved as opposed to a large multi-brand architecture where the corporate brand plays a smaller or insignificant role.
On the other side among main disadvantages of this strategy is that products may not be treated individually, which reduces the focus on the products’ unique characteristics or that the corporate name can become synonymous with a product category
Three different strategies can be approached for corporate branding:
Branded identity is when a company uses different brands for their products that function independent from each other and the company’s brand. The strength of this strategy is the flexibility. The company can build different brands in different marked segments and for different products. If a brand is involved in a scandal it will only damage that brand, and will not hurt the other brands of the company.
Endorsed brand identity is when an organisation has a group of products or companies that it endorses with a group name and a common identity. The strength of this approach lies in the relationship of the products/companies, they can benefit from the goodwill given to others with the same common identity.
Monolithic brand identity is when a company uses only one name and one visual style for all it products. The strength is the simplicity and the potential for growth. The weakness is that one happening; one scandal can cause severe damage even to big strong brands.
Do you stand for stability, like Prudential insurance? Innovation, like 3M? Educational curiosity, like the Discovery Channel? Social consciousness, like Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream?
From the company’s personality can flow ad campaigns, kinds of special events to sponsor, company colors and typefaces, corporate gift selection, even the talent chosen to record company voice mail messages.
Your company’s image includes not only how you promote yourselves but also how you act toward customers and the public. Things like how you answer the phone, how you greet shoppers, how cheerfully you correct mistakes or accept returns, how aggressively you negotiate contracts all become bound up in one composite image.
How much you cost in comparison to competitors often becomes part of your image. If you’re tempted to keep price out of the equation until someone expresses a desire to buy, think twice.
Customers should understand the spectrum of products and services that you sell.
6. Geographical roots.
Where did your company come from? If you’re a locally owned family business competing with multinational giants, make sure people know that. If you’re selling nationally but rooted in a picturesque corner of the country, make hay out of that.
Moody and Regan, a printing company in Waltham, Massachusetts, wisely and impressively uses as its tag line, “Established 1898.” Whenever you’ve been around much longer than competitors, you can profitably incorporate that into your image.
Which brand “tastes good like a cigarette should”? Which car is “the ultimate driving machine”? Even local or specialized companies can achieve this kind of awareness with their clientele.
What do buyers get when they purchase from you? Most companies provide intangible, emotional benefits as well as tangible, practical ones (Burger King: inexpensive, satisfying meal; Boston Pops: a fun night out; Kodak: photos with true-to-life colors).
Marcia Yudkin is the author of 6 Steps to Free Publicity and ten other books hailed for outstanding creativity. Find out more about her new discount naming company, Named At Last, which brainstorms new company names, new product names, tag lines and more for cost-conscious organizations, at http://www.NamedAtLast.com.
In a world full of confusion and contradictory messages, effective identity and brand can be the reasons why a consumer chooses one product over another. Market and production departments often pull in opposite directions. The competitive power of most companies are decreased because their [tag]corporate identity[/tag] is insufficiently defined.
Brand is often limited in its definition to awareness of a product or service. A company markets its brand – creates the name, broadcasts it to target customer segments, and applies it to its corporate identity or a set of products and services. The brand makes the company, product, or service recognizable.
This limited view of brand is destined to fail in today’s business environment. Marketing, which orchestrates only a small part of the brand-customer relationship, puts the face on the brand, making a set of promises.
Creating a coherent brand experience requires aligning every touchpoint of your organization with your brand. The more perfect that alignment, the more perfect the customer brand experience. You can’t escape your brand. Either you make the customer experience, or it gets made without you. Brands are essentially the collective perceptions of an organization’s key constituents (customers, suppliers, investors, employees, etc.) and are defined more by deeds than by words. Brand is how your customer experiences what you do.
Visionary companies recognize that responsibility for brand management belongs with the organization as a whole.
It’s your choice: deliver an effective brand experience or don’t. If you’re active in shaping the customer experience you can develop a rich and long-lasting relationship, firmly based in your brand. Where you fail to create a strong relationship with customers, a competitor will. Here are five places to start:
1. Clearly articulate your brand identity. If you can’t clearly articulate your brand identity, you’ll be unable to control how customers interpret it. A clear brand identity sets expectations across your organization for your products and services.
2. Establish a customer value proposition and use it to guide each department. The various departments responsible for delivering against your customer value proposition need to understand what the customer value proposition means to them.
3. Define the optimal customer experience. Identify the contact points where customers interact with your company.To create a holistic brand experience, you need to create a consistent and compelling experience at each of these touchpoints.Take an outside-in perspective when aligning each department with your customer value proposition and brand identity.
4. Cultivate relationships with customers. Treat these relationships carefully. Listen attentively to what you’re being told, learn from it, and respond.
5. Strengthen your brand over time. Based on what you learn from your customers, recalibrate your brand. Always be aware of how your brand can strengthen your brand-customer relationship.