Our Branding Approach
A branding strategy (a.k.a. brand development strategy) is the long-term plan to achieve a series of long-term goals that ultimately result in the identification and preference of your brand by consumers. A successful branding strategy encompasses the brand's mission, its promises to its customers, and how these are communicated.
StrategyMaking the complicated simple
Looking at the big picture.
What type of company do you want to grow? A strong, well differentiated brand will make growing much easier. Your overall business strategy is the context for your brand development strategy, so that’s the place to start. If you are clear about where you want to take your company, your brand will help you get there.
Who are your target clients? If you say “everybody” you are making a very big mistake. Our research clearly shows that high growth, high profit companies are focused on having clearly defined target clients. The narrower the focus, the faster the growth. The more diverse the target audience, the more diluted your marketing efforts will be. So how do you know if you have chosen the right target client group? That’s where the next step comes in.
Researching your target group. Companies that do systematic research on their target client group grow faster and are more profitable. Research helps you understand your target client’s perspective and priorities, anticipate their needs, and put your message in language that resonates with them. It also tells you how they view your companies strengths and your current brand. As such, it dramatically lowers the marketing risk associated with brand development.
Charting a course for success.
Develop your marketing positioning. You are now ready to determine your companies brand positioning within the industries marketplace (also called market positioning). How is your company different from others and why should potential clients within your target audience choose to work with you?
A positioning statement is typically three to five sentences in length and captures the essence of your brand positioning. It must be grounded in reality, as you will have to deliver on what you promise. It must also be a bit aspirational so you have something to strive for.
Develop your messaging strategy. Your next step is a messaging strategy that translates your brand positioning into messages to your various target audiences. Your target audiences typically include potential clients, potential employees, referral sources or other influencers and potential partnering opportunities, to name a few of the usual suspects.
While your core brand positioning must be the same for all audiences, each audience will be interested in different aspects of it. The messages to each audience will emphasize the most relevant points. Each audience will also have specific concerns that must be addressed, and each will need different types of evidence to support your messages. Your messaging strategy should address all of these needs. This is an important step in making your brand relevant to your target audiences.
CreativeDesign with persistence
Applying the idea into the art.
Develop your name, logo, and tagline. For many company, a name change is not required. But if you are new, are undergoing a merger or are burdened with a name that no longer suits your positioning, a name change may be in order. Even if you don’t change your company name, a new logo and tagline may make sense to better support your brand positioning.
Your name, logo and tagline are not your brand. They are a part of your brand identity, the ways to communicate or symbolize your brand. You must live it to make it real.
User experience at the top
Develop your content marketing strategy. Content Marketing offers a tremendous opportunity for businesses to boost their results. By delivering valuable and relevant content to users, you can improve your online reputation, build a community and grow advocates of your brand.
Remember that your brand strength is driven by both reputation and visibility. Increasing visibility alone, without strengthening your reputation, is rarely successful. That’s why traditional “awareness-building” advertising or sponsorships so often yield disappointing results. On the other hand, content marketing increases both visibility and reputation at the same time. It is also the perfect way to make your brand relevant to your target audiences.
Develop your website.Your website is your single most important brand development tool. It is the place where all your audiences turn to learn what you do, how you do it and who your clients are. Prospective clients are not likely to choose your company solely based on your website. But they may well rule you out if your site sends the wrong message.
Further, your website will be home to your valuable content. That content will become the focus of your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts so that your prospects, potential employees, and referral sources will find you and learn about your company. Online content is central to any modern brand development strategy.
Bring it outKeep your fingers crossed
Launch it and watch it sail.
Implement, tracking, and adjusting. The final step in the brand development process may be one of the most important. Actually implementing the brand development strategy. You would be surprised how often people get busy with client work and then brand development tasks get put off… then forgotten. We tracking both the implementation of the plan as well as results. Did the strategy get implemented as planned? What happened with the objective measures, such as search traffic and web visitors? How many new leads, employee applications and partnering opportunities were generated? Only by tracking the entire process can you make sure you are drawing the right conclusions and making the right adjustments.