TCii: Ten steps to bring your brand to life
Are you doing everything you can to build the strength of your brand? Advertising is important, of course – but it’s only a small part of what it takes to bring a brand to life. In these challenging economic times, effective branding is what will enable you to stake a claim to a space in the market, carve out a bigger market share, and produce tangible results.
In today’s ultra-competitive marketplace, a strong brand will:
- position your company as a market leader
- allow you to charge a premium price for your product or service
- enable you to attract and retain the best employees.
A focus on branding will keep you in front of your audience and make it much easier to develop new business leads. To build and reinforce your brand, follow the ten essential steps below.
1. Decide what it will take to reach your business goals
Meet with your executive team to establish precisely what it is you’re trying to accomplish. Is your aim to drive revenue, launch a new product or service, gain market share or generate more leads? Whatever your goals are, set them in stone and draw up a plan to reach them.
2. Get to know your competition
The old saying “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer” is never more true than in business. Survey the landscape in your sector and scrutinise your competitors. Get a clear picture of who owns what space in your marketplace and exactly where you stand. You need a realistic view of what your company is up against.
3. Differentiate yourself
Once you have found out everything you can about the external realities of your business, turn the focus inward. Figure out why you’re better than your competitors, and focus on your target market. Only when you have grasped the real value of what you have to offer will you be able to differentiate yourself.
Don’t just say: “We provide great service; we offer the best experience; we have the best people.” Every company in the world says these things. Understand your true differentiators, based on the market space you wish to own. Ask:
- What is the true value that your product or service brings to customers?
- What are the unique reasons why you really are better?
4. Forge your brand
Package your company and your offerings in a way that attracts attention and generates some sex appeal for the targets you’re trying to reach. Envision your brand’s look and feel, and what it should stand for. Make sure that the values that really separate you from your competitors are clear, concise and easy to understand. Make sure, too, that the execution of your creative strategy stands out from the crowd and reflects its status as the true leader in your space.
5. Embrace the workload ahead
Remember that it usually takes 7 to 12 “touches” for a prospect to get to know you, so plan your marketing approach accordingly. How many leads do you need? How much marketing and sales activity will be needed to produce these leads? Establish timelines and milestones, and decide what methods of measurement you will use to track your progress.
6. Develop a holistic brand plan
Holistic branding means having one unified message and being able to effectively communicate it, market it, sell it and deliver on it, based on your brand’s value proposition. The most successful businesses incorporate their brands holistically – not just through marketing, but through sales and operations, too.
7. Roll out the brand internally
Get all your people on board. Make sure that they:
- understand the brand and the value you bring to the marketplace
- know their role in making your brand come alive
- realise that they are brand ambassadors for your company.
8. Commit to reaching your business goals
Start by taking a hard look at how you plan to produce leads and bottom‑line results. Develop a strong call-to-action for your customers. Consider introducing a partner programme with those in the periphery of your industry as a way to provide incentives for business referrals.
Develop an online marketing strategy that makes best use of your budget and produces quality leads. Consider things such as search engine optimisation (SEO), Google Adwords and blog strategies. To prepare for the launch of your brand, you must coordinate the implementation and work hard to make sure you are doing everything you need to do to generate leads, gain customers and drive revenue.
9. Monitor your progress
Track your branding efforts to check you are hitting your goals and objectives, and measure against your sales matrix.
- Are the marketing efforts working to generate leads?
- Are you gaining customers?
- Are you delivering on your brand value proposition?
- Does everyone know what they need to do to produce results?
10. Don’t stay static
Make sure your brand is evolving the way you want it to. If it’s not evolving, modify your plan. Don’t stay static – your competitors won’t!
For more information, contact Terry Irwin on 020 7099 2621, or via firstname.lastname@example.org.