Posts Tagged ‘42 Rules’

Branding – The mechanics of Branding

by Laura Lowell on November 6, 2009

mechanicsA well designed brand is like a well designed car – lovely to look at, lots of power, and can really take you places.  The power of a brand is based on how well it can convince people to buy your stuff.  There are countless definitions of what a brand is, and regardless of your definition, if the brand doesn’t help you sell more stuff, then, it isn’t doing its job.

All brands are built with three essential elements:  Personality, Message and Identity.

Brand Personality: Defining the underlying personality of a brand is sometimes difficult, but is always necessary if the rest of the brand elements are to come together.  The personality reflects what the organization wants its brand to be known for. Think about specific personality traits you want prospects, clients, employees, and partners to use to describe your brand. You should have 4-6 traits (5 is ideal), each being a single term, usually an adjective.

Authentic, Creative, Innovative, Approachable

Trustworthy, Trendy, Cool, Desirable, Reliable

Relevant, Honest, Flexible, Unique, Relevant

How you define the personality determines the tone and voice of your brand, and therefore all your communications.  A brand that is “hip, cool, trendy” sounds decidedly different from one that is “honest, trustworthy, reliable”.

Brand Message: What do you customers need from you?  Why should they choose your brand of product or service over another one?  What can your brand deliver that no one else can?  The answers to these questions form the foundation of your messages.    I have found it useful to create three core messages based on these customer needs.  Each of these messages needs to be supported by “proof points” which are specific, measurable and relevant to the audience.  For example, think of Brand X as a car.

Brand X is BETTER:  safety record, flexible seating arrangements, trade-in options

Brand X is CHEAPER:  gas mileage, insurance premiums, maintenance costs

Brand X is FASTER:  redesigned engine, chassis, performance measurements

Which of these messages best reflects the brand is based on the brand personality and the needs of our customers.  It is not based on what we think sounds good, what is easy for us to prove, or what our boss thinks.   At least it shouldn’t be anyway…

Brand Identity: Ask ten graphic designers their opinion of a company logo and you’ll get ten different answers.  Brand design is the aesthetic that communicates the underlying message and personality of the brand.  There are five core elements to any brand identity:

Logo

Tagline

Typography

Photography

Color

How these elements work together are explained in “Brand Guidelines”.  These help anyone working with the brand know what to do and not to do with the brand.  Combined with templates (Presentations, documents or web pages for example) and standardized collateral (business cards, signage and such) your brand begins to take form.  From here on, it is all about execution.

Laura Lowell PicThis article is contributed by Laura Lowell, Author of the Amazon bestseller ’42 Rules of Marketing’ and the upcoming ‘42 Rules to Build Your Brand and Your Business’. You can follow her on twitter at @42_rules.
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Branding – Your brand lives both online and offline

by Laura Lowell on November 5, 2009

There seems to be a perception that online communication is radically different from offline communication.  I strongly disagree.  As Jennifer Jacobson said in her new book, “Communication is communication, both online and offline.”  The tactics are certainly different, but the objective, tone and purpose is the same.  It amazes me when I hear of people pretending to be someone else online – especially professionally.  Yes, there are the stories where it worked to the persona’s advantage, but most of the time, this is not the case.

One of my favorite online/offline stories is about Britney Mason (aka Dave Peck).  Dave was (and still is) a middle-aged father of five, by his own description.  He was new to social media and created a fictional person, Britney Mason, who developed a really big following based on her knowledge of social media and her big boobs (again, Dave’s description).  No one had met her, they had just interacted online. One thing led to another and finally Dave was forced to fess up on national TV with a profile on CNBC.  For Dave, and Britney, things turned out OK. But this is definitely the exception and not the rule.

For most of us, we need to carefully consider our behavior and how it affects our brand, both online and offline.

Online: Online conversations have been compared to a cocktail party.  In “real life” you wouldn’t walk into a cocktail party, or a networking event, or other gathering and start shouting “look at me!”  The same holds true for online communication.  Here are some of the rules of online etiquette you should try and follow:

  • Be authentic: don’t pretend to be someone you’re not.
  • Be honest: lies, even little ones, will come back to haunt you.
  • Be polite: DON’T YELL AT PEOPLE IN ALL CAPS!
  • Be relevant: in a conversation, don’t change the subject to suite your needs.
  • Be friendly: make friends as they are the foundation of your network.

Offline: Offline conversations are more natural for most of us since we’ve been having these all our lives.  Not surprisingly, the rules of polite behavior are pretty much the same whether you’re online or in person.  In person, you can tell almost immediately if someone is being authentic, if they are trying to pull a fast one on you, or only care about what you can do for them. These are the folks who say “thanks” but you know they don’t mean it.

In a recent study I conducted I asked professionals to rank a list of activities based on how important they are in communicating your personal brand.  10 being the most important and 1 being the least important.  The results are interesting:

  • Personal presence and speaking ability are the most important elements when communicating your personal brand
  • Twitter, FaceBook and LinkedIn – while important – are less relevant than articles, books or your website.

Branding online and offline

What does that tell us?  Your brand lives both online and offline.  We are no longer one or the other; we are now a combination of our personal presence on our social profiles, our speaking ability and our books and blogs.

When it comes to building your brand, remember, we are who we are.  Who we are doesn’t change based on whether we’re online or offline.  Unless you’re Dave Peck, of course…

Laura Lowell PicThis article is contributed by Laura Lowell, Author of the Amazon bestseller ’42 Rules of Marketing’ and the upcoming ‘42 Rules to Build Your Brand and Your Business’. You can follow her on twitter at @42_rules.
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Branding – Infuse passion in your brand

by Laura Lowell on November 4, 2009

branding with passionToday’s article on Branding is about Branding with Passion. Before I delve into that, though, here are the links to the branding Series, so far:

  1. Branding – What’s the point?
  2. Branding – What’s your brand promise?
  3. Branding – Branding is a balancing act
  4. Branding – Consistency, Consistency, Consistency
  5. Branding – Don’t get caught in the hype
  6. Branding – Get the mix right
  7. Branding – Your brand is being created with or without you

It’s a lot easier to do things you like, than things you don’t like.  You might be thinking…”duh”.  But how many of you spend your time doing what you are passionate about?  How many companies focus on the things they can do, as opposed to the things they should do?

I’m talking about what in most MBA programs would be called “core competencies”.  These are the fundamental things your customers value, and that your company does better than any of your competitors.  Let’s use HP as an example.  HP is a company with many lines of business, many products and even more things they could be doing.  One of the things that has made HP successful it its ability to “stick to it’s knitting”, as my Grandma used to say.  When they have veered off course, they have acknowledged it and pulled back – sometimes not as fast as they would have liked in hindsight, but they eventually realized it and corrected their course so that they play to their strength of innovation.  Their core competencies are the things that HP people are passionate about – innovation is what they are about.  R&D is a vital part of every successful division.  HP Labs holds more patents than any other working technology lab.  The net result is that HP continues to lead in the businesses where it innovates.  Why?  Because it is doing what it loves to do.

When it comes to smaller scale businesses, the idea is even more important.  Brandon Mendelson started his company in response to, well, having nothing else to do (his words not mine.)  The company, Earth’s Temporary Solution, is the production company behind Brandon’s campaign “A Million High Fives” (#AMHF on Twitter).  Brandon is a guy who does good things, because he wants to.  He is sarcastic and a bit wacky, but he is nothing if not following his passion.

Our goal is to empower others to help those in need. In the not-for-profit world there’s a lot of mistrust and people looking to make a quick buck on willing, happy people, so as a for-profit, we want people to trust us and know we are providing them with the right tools to do the greatest good”, says Brandon.

By following his passion, and sticking to his core competencies, Brandon has amassed a huge following on Twitter, FaceBook and other networks.  Currently, Brandon is one of the most followed non-brand, non-celebrity, non-media outlets on Twitter. He is following his passion, and consequently, people are following him.

Now you ask, how can you identify your passion, your core competencies?  Ask yourself these questions about your business and your brand:

  • Why do my customers choose our brand over another?
  • What do we do that our competitors don’t?
  • What is the one thing that we would protect over anything else?

Your answers will lead you towards clarifying your competencies.  Take them, build on them and make them to focus of your branding (and business) efforts.  When your brand is built on passion, it is authentic.  There is an honesty that comes from doing what you like to do.  You can’t make that up and you certainly can’t fake it.

Laura Lowell PicThis article is contributed by Laura Lowell, Author of the Amazon bestseller ’42 Rules of Marketing’ and the upcoming ‘42 Rules to Build Your Brand and Your Business’. You can follow her on twitter at @42_rules.
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Branding With or Without YouThis is in continuation to my branding series that was published from October 1 – October 8. Here is a quick recap of the earlier posts, in case you would like to go back and take a look for the sake of continuity:

  1. Branding – What’s the point?
  2. Branding – What’s your brand promise?
  3. Branding – Branding is a balancing act
  4. Branding – Consistency, Consistency, Consistency
  5. Branding – Don’t get caught in the hype
  6. Branding – Get the mix right

This post is the 7th in the branding series and is about your brand being created… with or without you!

Brands are dynamic.  Customers use our products and services. They like or dislike their experience and they say so, publicly.  This type of customer engagement directly impacts your brand.  In this way, your brand is being created with or without you.  You can’t control it.  What you can control is how you deal with it.

You’ve probably heard the saying “feedback is a gift”.  It’s also a gift that you can’t return or exchange if you don’t like it.  It’s yours to deal with whether you like it or not.  Since most brands have some sort of an online presence today, customers have a very public option when providing feedback.  They can leave their comments on your 1-800 customer feedback line or send their concerns to some anonymous email.  More likely, however, they will post their issues to a website, blog or user group.

When customers provide this type of public, direct feedback, we basically have two options:

1.  Engage – and hopefully influence the nature of the discussion

2.  Remain passive – and let the discussion continue without us

I encourage companies to engage in the discussion.  That’s the point of the internet, social media and online communities.  We have the capability to have these discussions in real time with many more customers than we could have ever have done in the past.

Yet, there are hundreds of examples where companies have had negative comments appear online about their products and they chose not to engage, or even acknowledge, the feedback.

In most cases this sort of “head in the sand” approach doesn’t work out very well for the companies involved.  They appear aloof, disconnected and uncaring.  Customers post comments on corporate blogs and social media sites, and the damage is done.  Companies then spend a ton of money and time trying to “manage their online reputation” – which usually means feeding good content into these sites in order to push the negative stuff off the first few pages of search results.

While this may work in some cases, it seems to be that it is a lot more effective, not to mention efficient, to just engage in the conversation to begin with!  Here are some ideas to help you proactively manage your brand online:

  • Pay attention:  Create Google alerts for your company name, brand names, etc.  Monitor where you brand is being mentioned and in what context.  It’s next to impossible to influence how the brand is being represented if you don’t know where you’re being mentioned.
  • Be active:  Identify the key places where your brand is being mentioned and get involved.  Participate in discussions relevant to your brand but not where you are directly mentioned.  You will get insights into the tone of the conversations and understand more how to position your brand appropriately.
  • Acknowledge feedback:  When someone posts something negative, acknowledge their issue.  Let them know you heard what they were saying.  Explain your response, but don’t try and justify your position, as you will only serve to annoy them further.

Your brand is being created. Its up to you how big a part you play in it… to make it look like the way you want it to be!

Laura Lowell PicThis article is contributed by Laura Lowell, Author of the Amazon bestseller ’42 Rules of Marketing’ and the upcoming ‘42 Rules to Build Your Brand and Your Business’. You can follow her on twitter at @42_rules.
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Branding – Get the mix right!

by Laura Lowell on October 8, 2009

get the mix rightConstructing the optimal mix is part art and part science.  The art lies in understanding the nuances between the different marketing vehicles, how to craft copy tailored to the marketing vehicle, and how to combine copy with creative for the optimal impact. The science lies in the measurement and tracking of the effectiveness of various vehicles at delivering your message to the target audience in the context of the stated communications objectives.

There are two pieces of information that directly inform how we create the marketing mix.

  1. How does our target customer gather information? : Who do they go to for recommendations?  Do they search online or do they ask for suggestions from colleagues, friends or family?  Who influences the purchasing process?  Answers to these questions help us to target the influencers as well as the target customers.
  2. How does our target customer want to receive information? : Do they want a lot of detail but not very often?  Do they prefer to get more frequent information with less detail?  Do they like phone, email or old-fashioned paper and envelopes?  Again, this information will directly impact the types of marketing vehicles we invest in.

Marketing vehicles have a defined purpose and should be used according to the stated communication objectives.  The following is a summary of the primary marketing vehicles, definitions, purpose described in terms of awareness, demand generation or lead conversion, and examples of each.  This is not an exhaustive list, but is a great start.

Awareness:  Ensure that customers know you exist – eyes and ears

Demand Generation:  Attracting customers to your products/services – call, click or visit

Lead Conversion:  Converting prospects to revenue – customers

Marketing Vehicle Definition Purpose Examples
Advertising Mass communications that broaden perceptions. Awareness

Lead Generation

Broadcast (TV, radio), Print  (newspaper, magazine), Online (banner ads, site ads)
Collateral &  Sales Tools Material describing a product, service, or solution used to support sales and marketing efforts. Demand Generation Brochure, card/flyer, catalog, cover letter, envelope, datasheet, folder, binder, video, presentation, promotional item, poster, banner, magazine, newsletter, competitive brief, instant reference guide, order and configuration guide.
Customer Testimonials Customer endorsements illustrating the impact of the company product, service or solution. Demand Generation

Lead Conversion

Quotes, case studies, success stories, references, speaking engagements.
Direct Marketing A method of contacting individual customers directly and obtaining their responses. Lead Conversion Direct mail, telemarketing, addressable media.
Event An in-person or online occurrence designed to increase awareness, accelerate sales, and build relationships. Awareness Tradeshow, road show, seminar, conference, hospitality, executive briefing, webinar, online seminar.
Incentives Providing equipment, discount or rebates to entice customers to try and/or purchase products, services or solutions. Lead Conversion Demo equipment, evaluation and trade-in, free sample or trial, mail-in or instant rebate or gift with purchase.
Internal Communications Use of any marketing vehicle to keep employees informed. Awareness Broadcast/webcast, leadership meetings, internal websites, newsletters, webinars, etc.
Internet Marketing The use of the internet to promote, advertise and sell goods and services. Awareness

Demand Generation

Lead Conversion

Websites, pay-per-click advertising, banners, e-mail marketing, search engine marketing, search engine optimization, blogs, webcasts, podcasts.
Co-Marketing Funds and tools provided to partners to enable them to execute specific marketing strategies and tactics on behalf of the company. Awareness

Demand Generation

Affinity marketing, affiliate marketing, lead generation, co-op marketing, channel incentives, partner compensation (SPIF)
Market Research Research undertaken with the purpose on increasing understanding of markets, customers, competition, design and positioning of products, services, or solutions. Demand Generation Primary, secondary, syndicated, campaign testing, ad testing, competitive benchmarking.
Merchandising Materials created and displayed in retail locations for the purpose of affecting product selection and purchase. Lead Conversion Brochure, demo, samples, lugon, highlighter, posters, banners, rebate, selection guides, tear pads.
Packaging The physical material used to contain product including materials on-box or in-box designed to improve the customer experience. Lead Conversion Physical packages, inserts, literature, software, stickers, illustrations, installation guides, user manuals.
Public Relations Activities that focus on industry influencers to establish the public image of the company and its products, services or solutions. Awareness

Demand Generation

Press releases, endorsements, article placement, interviews, news conference, press tour, press kits, media briefings, product reviews, 3rd party releases, speaker’s bureau, white paper placement.
Viral Marketing Activities that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness, through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of pathological and computer viruses. Awareness

Demand Generation

Word-of-mouth with online enhancements, blogs, audio and/or video clips, flash, games, advergames, etc.

Laura Lowell PicThis article is contributed by Laura Lowell, Author of the Amazon bestseller ’42 Rules of Marketing’ and the upcoming ‘42 Rules to Build Your Brand and Your Business’. You can follow her on twitter at @42_rules.
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Branding – Don’t get caught in the hype!

by Laura Lowell on October 7, 2009

hypeSo…you have an exciting strategy; your messages are relevant and consistently integrated throughout your brand and all customer touch points.  Now you need an actionable marketing plan that delivers your message to your customers in ways that will increase the chance that they will pay attention, and ultimately buy whatever it is that you’re selling.

There is a lot of talk about the latest new trend (Twitter, vlogs or who-knows-what’s-next) and the coolest new technology.  However, these things are only useful if they are being used by your target customers.  This point bears repeating…these things are only useful if they are being used by your target customers.  This is the kind of thing that sounds so simple – it is common sense.  Unfortunately, it isn’t commonly practiced.

It is critical to the success of your brand that you identify customer-preferred communication vehicles and prioritize those above things that are “really hot” at the moment.  While they may be the latest fad, they might not generate the results you want.

Different marketing tools are good at doing different things – think screwdrivers and hammers.  This is, again, why it is so important to know what your goals and objectives are so that you can select the right tools for the job.  The right balance between online and offline marketing vehicles ensures that you are reaching your target customers in a variety of ways which will improve your overall results – whether they are to increase awareness or to generate demand.

For example, if you are a start-up just launching your company, you need to generate awareness that you exist. PR is a very cost-effective tool to do this.  You also need a website to explain what the company does.  To get the ball rolling you might launch an email and/or direct mail campaign with an introductory offer so that customers connect their business problem with your company.  If you are a small company trying to generate demand, a combination of webinars and SEO with speaking engagements and telemarketing could prove to be very effective at generating quality leads.  It is important to focus on the quality of the lead rather than the volume generated as the conversion rates tend to be much higher.

It is easy to get excited about the latest technology and cool marketing techniques.  Be careful, and remember that the end result is to achieve the business objectives – which is typically to sell more of your stuff.  This means you don’t need to do everything, but you need to strategically select a few key vehicles and do them exceptionally well.

Online and Offline Tactics for Lead Generation:  Ranked as % Very Effective at generating Quality Leads

Online Tactics for Lead Generation

%

Offline  Tactics for Lead Generation

%

Webinars

45

Speaking engagements at trade events

49

Searh engine optimization

44

Telemarketing for lead qualification

46

Paid search ads

34

In-person seminars/roadshows

44

Solo emails to house list

29

PR

35

White paper syndication service

28

Telemarketing for lead generation (cold       calling)

28

Online ads (industry specific)

20

Winning/publicizing awards

24

Offers in your email newsletter

18

Trade shows booths/marketing

24

Offers in 3rd party newsletters

13

Print newsletters

18

Online Ads (general business sites)

12

Direct (postal) mail

16

Solo emails to 3rd party lists

9

Print ads (industry specific)

11

TV and/or radio ads

8

Print ads (general business)

5

Source:  Business Technology Marketing Benchmark Guide 2006, MarketingSherpa, 2006

Laura Lowell PicThis article is contributed by Laura Lowell, Author of the Amazon bestseller ’42 Rules of Marketing’ and the upcoming ‘42 Rules to Build Your Brand and Your Business’. You can follow her on twitter at @42_rules.
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Branding – Branding is a balancing act

by Laura Lowell on October 5, 2009

balancing actAll too often companies find themselves with a brilliant strategy – on paper at least. When they try to implement the strategy, they run into obstacles such as channels, partners, technology, infrastructure, competition, or lack of resources. The reverse is also true. Companies can spend so much time executing that they lose sight of the business objective. They might end up with an awesome website, but no real results.

Effective brands, that is, brands that deliver on their promise and help companies sell more stuff, are those that find the right balance between strategy and tactics, between images and words, between effect and affect.  Every brand is made up of several different components:  visuals, messages, voice, and personality, for example.  Each of these is integrated into specific deliverables like a company logo or tagline or photographic style.  The trick is to find the right combination and then apply them consistently throughout everything you do.

It starts with strategy – how will you achieve your objectives?  Depending on your brand promise some strategies are going to be more effective than others.  For example, you probably won’t see Nascar investing in “environmentally-friendly” campaigns; you would expect it from Starbucks. There are lots of different ways to achieve your objectives.  Make sure that your strategies align with your brand promise and that you can actually implement them.  This is what I call the “duh” test.  Run the strategies by a colleague, friend or spouse and see what they think.  If they ask you a question and your reaction is “duh”…you might want to rethink the strategy.

Next come the tactics – what exactly will you do to implement the strategy?  If your strategy was to grow your market share by expanding into new markets, a tactic might be to partner with a complementary brand in the new market to jump start your brand recognition.  This might require a joint email campaign, billboards and local ads on radio and TV.  The key is to align the tactics with the strategy so that everything is in support of the brand.  Otherwise, you end with a lot of random activities – all of them are probably pretty cool on their own – but together they don’t deliver.

To be valuable, strategy must be practical, and tactics must be integrated. With the right balance of strategy and tactics, your brand will grow and so will your business

Laura Lowell PicThis article is contributed by Laura Lowell, Author of the Amazon bestseller ’42 Rules of Marketing’ and the upcoming ‘42 Rules to Build Your Brand and Your Business’. You can follow her on twitter at @42_rules.
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Branding – What’s your brand promise?

by Laura Lowell on October 2, 2009

brand promiseIn research conducted for my upcoming book ’42 Rules to build Your Brand and Your Business’ respondents clearly indicated that what affected their perception of a brand were visibility, authenticity and honesty of the brand.  Ok, great…what does this mean to someone trying to build a business and establish their brand? Or what does it mean to a company with an established brand trying to break into a new market with little brand recognition?  You may be surprised to hear me say (or type) that it means the same thing in both situations.

Ultimately, the key is to have a defined brand promise – what is it that your brand stands for?  Based on this you can then begin to prioritize your strategies and define your tactics accordingly.  I have seen, over and over again, where companies jump into the tactics with out understanding how they fit, or don’t fit, into the bigger picture.  For example, I once worked on a brand re-design project with a major high-tech computer manufacturer.  We had a well established brand and were trying to reposition it within the confines of the overall product portfolio.  Plus, we wanted to target a new demographic audience.  Off we went to the branding agency who created several different graphic treatments.  We reviewed them and made changes and came up with what we thought was a brilliant idea – very “off the wall”, especially for this company – but the new demographic “would be drawn to it” we explained to senior management who were having heart palpitations at the very thought of it.  Picture this…a gorilla sitting on top of a PC. Something was definitely “off”, and it turned out… it was us!

This project never saw the light of day…why?  We completely forgot the established brand promise we had been making, and continued to make, to the market.  This design had nothing to do with the real world – it was graphically outstanding and visually compelling, but who cares?  It didn’t relate at all to our brand promise.

So how do you start defining your brand promise? Here’s a list of questions to ask:

  • What does the company stands for? 
  • What is the single most important thing that the organization promises to deliver to its customers?
  • How do you want customers to feel about your organization after interacting with you?
  • What is it that the organization wants its brand to be known for?
  • What unique value to you deliver to customers?

Make sure you have agreement across the company – whether it is large or small.  People should be excited about this.  They should be able to rally around this promise and use it to make appropriate business decisions.  If not, then you still have some work to do.  But, I guarantee you, it’s well worth it.

Laura Lowell PicThis article is contributed by Laura Lowell, Author of the Amazon bestseller ’42 Rules of Marketing’ and the upcoming ‘42 Rules to Build Your Brand and Your Business’. You can follow her on twitter at @42_rules.
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Branding – What’s the point?

by Laura Lowell on October 1, 2009

whats the point brandingWe’re all bombarded with thousands of messages each day – personally and professionally. Maybe it’s because of new media like Twitter, LinkedIn or FaceBook. Maybe it’s the internet in general.  Whatever the cause, the effect is the same. The volume of marketing messages is overwhelming to most Americans. In fact, 60 percent have signed up for the do-not-call registry; 33 percent have installed Web pop-up blockers, and nine percent have signed on to a do-not-e-mail list (and 40 percent may want to). So the question is: “How do you break through in this environment?”  One answer: Branding.

Everyone has a different definition of branding – everything from your logo, your message, to your visions and personality.  Each of these is correct in a way.  My definition (just so we’re clear) is that a brand is a promise; a promise of authenticity and value and sets our expectations about the product or service we associate with the brand.

That’s all well and good, but here’s the real question:  What’s the point of having a catchy slogan if it doesn’t strengthen or support your business? Why invest in PR if it doesn’t translate into increased awareness and recognition? Why go to trade shows if they don’t produce high-quality leads? Branding, or a promise to your customers, is a way to differentiate yourself in a crowded market so your company can sell more stuff.  Short and simple.

Independently, without a coherent brand strategy, these tactics do little to attract customers and drive revenue. However, as part of an integrated brand and marketing strategy, these and other tactics are the foundation that will deliver results for your business. Sounds simple, right? Well, often the simplest things are the hardest to do.

Here are three things you can do today to make sure your brand is doing it’s job – helping your company sell more stuff.

  1. Look at your website: Is your brand consistently applied on your website?  Do you use the same logo, or do you have multiple logos scattered about the place?  What about your messaging, are you delivering similar yet different messages and confusing your customers?
  2. Ask 10 people what they think: You want to know what they think your brand stands for.  Hopefully you get similar responses, and hopefully they are right on target.  If not, well, you have more work to do.
  3. Step out of the box: Life doesn’t happen in a vacuum.  Step outside your company and look at what’s going on around you.  Is your brand relevant in today’s market?  Are you linking with current events and trends?

Marketing should get people’s attention, and convince them to consider your company’s products or services over the competition. An integrated brand including strategy, messages, visual identity, and other marketing tactics extends the impact of your marketing investments. You can more efficiently and effectively improve awareness, produce leads and ultimately drive revenue. After all, isn’t that the point?


Laura Lowell PicThis article is contributed by Laura Lowell, Author of the Amazon bestseller ’42 Rules of Marketing’ and the upcoming ‘42 Rules to Build Your Brand and Your Business’. You can follow her on twitter at @42_rules.
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