Posts Tagged ‘brand strategy’

Branding – Consistency, Consistency, Consistency

by Laura Lowell on October 6, 2009

brand consistencyJust as in the world of Real Estate it is all about “location, location, location”; in the world of marketing it is all about “consistency, consistency, consistency”.

In conjunction with a sound brand strategy, you need a clear and concise message that resonates with your customers. These messages need to be integrated across your brand and into every customer touch point.  Now, you don’t need to use the same words over and over. However, each communication needs to reinforce the key messages that have been developed to support the brand.  It is a case where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts – when the brand is consistently conveyed across multiple touch points, the customer is left with a clear understanding of what the company, product, service, or solution is and how it solves their problem. Simply put, they know what your brand is about.

Unfortunately, as marketers we often get bored with the messages we’ve developed.  We’ve spent hours fine-tuning them and testing them.  Finally, our campaigns launch and the messages are out there, but by that time they feel old and stale to us.  There is a difference between a “fresh” message (with unique language, a clever play on words, a connection to a current event) and a “different” message (not aligned with strategy, not related to existing messages, different for the sake of being different).  Research shows that it takes anywhere from five to nine impressions for an individual to actually internalize a marketing message.  That means they need to see it over and over again.  Not the same words, but the same idea supported by the same brand.

For example, an article in a trade publication mentions the company and their new product; the customer sees an online banner ad, they click on it, and get to a landing page with a compelling offer; they do a Google search to see what else comes up and there is a link to your latest white paper; at an industry tradeshow the company has a booth and is hosting a panel discussion…and the story continues.  With consistent use of key messages across multiple touch-points your customers comes away with the sense that your company is worth their consideration.

Now you have a place to start engaging and driving purchase decisions.  This model holds true for consumer and business marketing.  People are people, whether they are buying high-end mission-critical software or a new plasma HDTV for their living room.  They have a problem.  Through your consistent messages, you have convinced them to consider your product or service as they evaluate their options.  You still have to convince them that your product or solution is really the only one that really addresses all their needs – from technical specifications to user support, maintenance and financing (again, these apply to consumer and business purchases.)

Again, consistency is key.  Your customers need to see and feel that your company is honest and trustworthy.  If there is a disconnect between what you say and what they experience, you will lose the sale, and worse, probably the customer.  So, while consistency in messaging is important…consistency in execution is critical, too.  Both pieces of this puzzle need to be addressed in order for the whole thing to work.  If you only focus on the messaging, then your experience will fall flat.  If you don’t explain your differences and benefits, then you won’t get the chance to display your stellar experience.  No matter how you look at it, consistency is the key to growing you brand and your business

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?