One of the most common and challenging questions for businesses is, “how do we improve the effectiveness of our marketing?” The most common answer is a different creative approach, with fresh ideas for designs, headlines, etc. This may be part of the solution, and sometimes it works on its own. But all too often, there is little significant or sustainable improvement. Why? Because the creative approach is not the real issue. It is the lack of solid brand-based marketing.
In many cases, businesses with lack-luster marketing results have one or more of the following issues:
> A brand that is weak.
> A brand that is poorly defined.
> A brand that does not accurately reflect the business’s unique value proposition.
> Inconsistent or lack of adherence to the key marketing points and brand message.
> No brand definition at all – which leaves it up to the market, which is never good.
Why is “Brand-Based Marketing” the best approach?
Because it enables you to carve out your own unique niche in the market by offering customers something no one else has: your Brand. This is critical because it creates:
Differentiation – so your customers have a clear understanding of why your offerings are the best – and only – choice.
Value – research and experience have shown that a strong brand creates a perception of higher value than competitors with weaker brands. This gives customers a reason for choosing you, and it reduces the need to compete on price.
Loyalty – industry research also shows that strong brands create greater loyalty and commitment among customers and employees. The results are more repeat business, resistance to Brand jumping and greater stability.
Positive Image – a desirable brand creates a more positive image of your company, products and services, which can slant purchase decisions in your favor. It also enhances employee pride, commitment and performance.
What is a “Brand?”
Put simply, your brand is a claim of distinction. It is:
> The unique set of characteristics and benefits that only you possess.
> The combination of who you are, what you do and the way you do it.
> The expression of your unique selling points – key marketing points.
> How you separate your company from the competitors.
> How you reach your customers with a focused, powerful message.
> The heart and focus of your marketing efforts.
Your brand is NOT:
A Product – it is much more than just the product name. While many use the word brand synonymously with the product, service or company, that misses the real substance of a brand.
A Tagline – a branding line, graphic, etc., combine to be the expression of your brand, not the brand itself. These monikers are meant to convey an image, idea and feeling that are consistent with the substance of your brand. Taglines and monikers can be updated, even when your brand remains unchanged.
A Headline – a headline is designed to grab instant attention and motivate the viewer to read on. It must make an immediate, short-lived impact. A brand has much more substance. It is designed to create a meaningful impression that builds in awareness and influence over time. The best brand may not have the “wow” factor of a brilliant headline, but it will have more enduring power to influence customers and the market.
A Brand is a combination of who you are,
what you do and the way you do it.
What is “Brand Development?”
It’s the process of discovering the unique set of characteristics and benefits that sets you apart from the competition and makes you desirable to your customers. It is also the creation of a moniker, tagline, visual identity, etc., that effectively conveys your brand. Together, they communicate the things that make you truly different, better and more desirable than your competitors.
What is the difference between “Brand” & “Branding?”
> Brand is the unique set of characteristics and benefits that separates you from your competition and makes you unique. It’s often referred to as brand distinction.
> Branding is tactics. It is the use of color, type, graphics, sounds, people and other elements to consistently communicate your brand distinction. Branding can also be thought of as brand implementation.
Are you doing effective Brand-Based Marketing?
If you answer “no,” “maybe,” or “don’t know” to any of these questions, it’s likely you could improve:
> Can you clearly state your brand? Can your staff?
> Do your customers recognize your brand (not your name) and what it means?
> Does your brand accurately reflect your unique selling points (also called key marketing points)?
> Do you have strong market awareness among current and potential customers?
> Do customers see you as different from the competition?
> Do you have well-established key marketing points and marketing message?
> Are you able to avoid price competition beyond what you think is appropriate?
> Is your brand the basis for all of your marketing materials and efforts?
> Are you happy with the effectiveness of your promotional efforts?
> Are you achieving your marketing goals?
How did you do? At R.J.Conlin, we can help you do better!