I admit it, it’s taken me a long time to REALLY understand how to brand and position a company and produce tangible marketing results. The best companies don’t just blast a message out without careful thought and consideration. First and foremost, they take a step back and look at things strategically.
One of my favorite sayings is the old, “ready, fire, aim” analogy, which I see all the time when it comes to branding and positioning. The best companies take the time to, “ready, aim and then fire” when approaching their branding, their position and their go-to-market strategy. They really understand the value they bring to the marketplace and how to effectively communicate it.
I can’t tell you how times I’ve heard, “we’re going to throw some stuff against the wall and see what sticks”. Bad idea. You will damage your brand by going straight to the market tactically without first figuring out strategically what you want your brand to be.
Why figuring things out strategically is so important:
- Throwing things at the wall and coming off half-cocked makes you look like you are still trying to figure out what you want to be when your company grows up.
- I would estimate 90 – 95% of companies say what they do but not why they do it or why their product is better then their competitors’ products.
- Do you really want to be just like everyone else? Or do you want to be original, unique and stand out from the crowd?
- Do you want to be a leader or a follower?
- Can you clearly and concisely communicate your value proposition in a compelling 30-second elevator pitch?
- Does your brand help position your company for where it wants to go in the future (i.e., acquiring funding, going public, selling the business, etc.)?
- Have you figured out how your brand is going to become a reality with a company-wide, holistic launch? What’s your plan to launch your brand internally and externally?
- Will your brand have legs and resonate for a period of time or is it just a one hit wonder?
If you are committed to getting your company to the next level, following these strategic guidelines will help you develop your company’s brand and position – and will greatly increase the chances of a successful implementation. Add that to a holistic, managed brand implementation while pro-actively getting your message out to your target audience – you have a winning recipe for success.
Written by Michael Doyle, President of Brand Iron
As gas prices hit over $4.00 nationally and the economy continues to fall, it is inevitable that people and companies are struggling. That said, it is even more vital to measure yourself against your competition, ensuring your current efforts are properly focused to set yourself and your company up for a strong second half of the year. Unfortunately, we are currently in an arduous game of survival of the fittest, and it is time to focus your marketing efforts.
While this conversation is a continuous topic internally, I was pleasantly surprised to find a new client that had the same ideas. I was in a planning session the other day and our client communicated that their industry was experiencing a slow-down given the economy and being that we are in the middle of the summer. They realized that it was the perfect time to position and brand themselves against their competition in order to separate themselves from the herd. This client wanted to take advantage of the current situation in which, a fair amount of companies are pulling back their spending. Our client wants to step it up and set themselves up for a strong fall and second half of the year, as well as prepare for 2009. Needless to say, I agreed with this client, and was refreshed at their goals and strategy to step up their game.
We are halfway through the year, an excellent time to review your yearly goals and objectives. See what is working, what’s not, and what needs to be adjusted in order for you to keep things going strong, maintain, or try to catch up. Going strong is the key phrase, while playing the game of catch up seems to be the reality for too many companies today.
A perfect example of the “catch up game,” was when American Airlines and United announced they were going to charge $15 and $25 respectively, for checking bags. While these airlines are trying to play catch-up, Southwest is focusing its efforts on marketing, sales and operations to boost sales and keep customers happy. They are responding directly to the competition and the consumer by announcing that they aren’t charging premiums for extra baggage and rising fuel costs.
The summer is a slower period and many people take time off, thus creating a great opportunity to not only look at your goals, but figure out how you can position yourself against the competition. Take advantage of the tough times and really separate your company from the herd by communicating your key differences and why you are a better choice than the competition.
Now is the time to evaluate, focus, and take advantage to be the fittest. If your company wants to be around when the economy turns around, call Brand Iron today.
written by Michael Doyle, President of Brand Iron
Brand, Brand Strategy, Brand Strength, Branding, Clients, Consistant, Holistic, Holistic Branding, Marketing, Sales, SMO
Brand Iron’s new web site showcases our many offerings. We combine branding, positioning and business consulting with marketing, advertising and public relations to help companies increase sales and meet their financial goals.
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With our holistic branding process, Brand Iron analyzes every aspect of your business to identify the real barriers to growth and develops a strategy from an SMO (sales, marketing and operations) perspective.
Sales, Marketing and Operations Integration
Each of your sales, marketing and operations departments are critical for the success of your business, but if they are working independently of each other, you are not creating a consistent and strong brand in the minds of your customers. One or all of these areas may be the reason you aren’t achieving success (or increasing your bottom line).
Brands aren’t built with four-leaf clovers, soft kittens or fairy dust. A strong brand requires an integrated strategy that produces results. We are a great match for companies experiencing declining business growth, those who are committed to change and companies who want to grow rapidly.
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