BRANDING 101

There seems to be some confusion about the topic of branding and how to develop a brand that has enough depth and longevity that it transcends marketing and embodies every touch point and experience a customer with the company. Some of this confusion is due to the way customers get their information. Since most customers do their research about a company and their products online, companies have the idea that as long as they have a website, they’re on social media, and they push out digital content, their brand will be well received by their customers. If only it was that easy, everyone would do it, right?

As marketing professionals for over 25 years, the team at Engage Marketing & Consulting thought we’d do a simple Branding 101 list to show you what you need to consider when you’re putting together your brand platform.

Step 1:  Conduct a Brand Assessment

Take a close look at everything about your company to see how it stacks up to your competition. This includes doing a comprehensive review of your competition to see what their unique selling propositions are, how they are marketing themselves, what their brand position is and how their brand story is being told across all the various digital channels.

After you’re done looking at the competition, turn your attention to your company and do an internal marketing assessment. Take a close look at your website, your marketing materials, your digital content strategy, your customer UX, the way your operations team interacts with customers, and your online reputation. All of these things need to be in alignment with your brand story and should be integrated and seamless across all platforms.

Step 2:  Develop your Brand’s Four P’s

  1. Promise – The brand promise is a one-sentence statement of the largest value proposition the brand can credibly make to its audience. This provides a clear, easy-to-understand message of the overarching benefit the brand delivers and helps to organize and prioritize all other benefits.
  2. Personality – The brand personality is the brand’s personality attributes that will always be delivered through all communications – visually and in written and spoken communications. The brand personality will guide the development of a clear, well-integrated visual and written identity.
  3. Position – This is how your brand is currently positioned within the competitive landscape. The brand position determines how your company compares to other industry leaders and establishes your unique selling propositions and differentiators.
  4. Pyramid – The pyramid contains the core values are important to your brand and shows how those are communicated throughout every part of the company. These values should resonate with your staff as well as your target market. This is a list and description of the beliefs and ideals that guide the behaviors of the company and its employees. It helps to create a strong, cohesive culture, helps stakeholders to “live” the brand, and establish trust in the brand on behalf of customers and business partners.

Step 3:  Create/Update your Brand’s Story, Marketing Messages & Marketing Assets

Now that you’ve established your brand platform, you can develop your brand story. Your brand story integrates all the elements of your brand platform in a narrative story that tells your customers who you are, what you stand for, and how they can expect to be treated when they interact with you. After your story is developed, you will have a clear idea of how your company should be presented across all your marketing channels. The brand story will inspire the development of your creative materials. The images your brand story evoke will be a huge part of how your story will be told across print, digital, and in-person.

Step 4: Develop your Comprehensive Marketing Plan

After your brand platform and marketing assets are developed, it’s now time to develop your comprehensive marketing plan to guide your marketing across all channels. This plan should include an Executive Summary, a SWOT analysis, Strategies, Objectives, Goals, KPIs, and Tactics/Channels you will be using to promote your brand. Of course, no plan can be implemented without a realistic budget, so make sure you have the appropriate budget to be successful.

Step 5:  Implement, Test & Assess

Now, you’re ready to implement, test and assess. It’s important to be open and flexible with your marketing plan and be ready to make changes if a tactic is no delivering results. Of course, every channel needs enough time to work, so make sure you are giving each channel the proper reach and frequency that is appropriate for the channel. A good rule of thumb is to give a channel a minimum of 30 days to deliver results. During that timeframe, make changes to your creative or content through various A/B tests to see which message will best resonate with your audience.

If you need assistance with developing your brand platform and marketing plan, reach out to rmarston@engagemarketing.biz. Our team of professionals is ready to help!

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