October 12, 2021•991 words
Brand Management - Creating What Sets You Apart
Brand: An idea system, or network of associations and meanings
Very strong brands command more sales.
Concrete clear identity. Conveys purpose or mission that people want to get behind.
Example: Charity : Water
Today, customers have much broader to media. The ability to consume media is much more on their own terms. Have autonomy with engage with messages when they want to and tune out messages that they do not like.
It's much more important to reach people emotionally and inspire them with content that creates value... rather than just pushing an ad out.
With social media, brand becomes more of a dialogue.
Building a brand
- Establish pillars
- Build audience
The discipline of build a system for brand consistency and growth
(Can encompass market research, package design, advertisement development). How do you make it scalable and how to you make it align with your future business strategy?
Brand Elements: Vision, Mission, Values, Positioning, Voice and Tone, Look and Feel
Vision: Do not think too far ahead (fiction) but also not too short term. 3-5 year time frame. Where is the rest of the world going how does it intersect into your narrative? Take a strong stance, even if it is wrong in the future, it can develop and evolve over the way. It should be a little longer and more of a story.
Mission: Should be very succinct, actionable, and aspirational. Everything that your company is trying to accomplish. It should inspire something bold.
Tips: 1. Think about the problem that your vision exposes. 2. Think about the solution, why is it your mission. 3. Whats the most purpose driven way to describe how your company will solve the problem that you identified.
Values: Guiding principles that govern all decision making that your employees make. Code of Conduct for everyone in the company.
Tips: Create a relatively short list of values. Make sure they are aspirational and translate to the whole spectrum of conduct, not just specific circumstances. From what they do in a meeting to how they approach their day at work.
Positioning: Written at the service, solution, operational level. What makes your product different and what do your customers want from it? What is the most important thing that it solves for them.
Talk about solution rather than focusing on details or features. For example, "why do you buy a car" ask "why three times" ... "to get to the store" – "to buy things I need" – "to support my family" – "because I love them" ... etc.
Very sharp and clear and drives at the solution or experience you want customer to experience. Whereas vision and mission may not change too much, your product positioning may change very often depending on how your product evolves (ex. seasonal with fashion lines).
A/B Test different messaging in digital!
Understanding your audience and what makes your brand distinct. Develop buyer personas of typical customer and written language that communicates to that customer.
Sub-positioning: How does a specific product fit within a different category (think about Carpool).
Voice and tone: What is your brand's personality. How do you talk to the market and what are some editorial rules that you abide by? Editorial rules example: Everything we write should be... 1) Thoughtful 2) Interesting 3) Proud 4) Bold 5) Human
Tip: Let your fans know where you come from. Make a "communications audit" often to make sure that the guidelines are working. Everything should sound like it someone from a central source.
Look and feel: Think about colors and visual moods that should carry across to every aspect of the marketing (including store fronts, packaging, store-fronts).
Brand Management: Marketing + Culture
Audience: Know your customers
Communications: Structures like slogans, taglines, marketing messages, call to actions. Invite them to a common experience. Once we know customer, we can start to think about how to develop specific messages that resonate with broad customer audience but also subsets.
Distribution: How to reach audience at scale. Discounts to sign-up for email list, then use email list to sell.
Hiring: Recruit a team that believes in your brand values. Internal communication standards. Distributed across internal documentation, templates and resources, events (like a offsite). Great brands start from within.
Centralization and clear guidelines: A single source of truth for marketing guidelines. Make it easier for different team members to make the same type of good decisions. They will understand what the underlying company narrative is.
Operationalizing your brand strategy
- Stories and Campaigns
- Brand Memories
- Mental and Physical Availability
Advertising effectiveness. Telling stories in a way that your audience will identify with and ultimately share that with others.
– Attract talent that embodies and extends the brand
– Help management teams make informed decisions
Tips: How we onboard new employees. What documentation, what curriculum, what classes, what management team and managers they get exposed to. Dedicated on boarding calendar. Senior managers will give presentations on company values, missions, history, design rules, etc.
Also point them to guidelines in centralized marketing site.
(you want to answer 'yes' to these)
- Does this represent the brand?
- Does this have a business objective?
- Does this engage my audience?
Concept of double jeopardy: The more established your brand is, the more loyal your customers are. The more market-share your brand has, the more customers are willing to use it.
The stronger your brand, the more you focus your advertising on establishing physical and mental availability at an aggregate level across all consumers, that is far more valuable than investing on a specific sub-segment like your customers.
Social-proof: Credibility reinforcement. Case study or customer testimonial. Internet has made social proof have more reach. Focus on large-scale brand building and marketing is more effective than focusing on your smaller customer base.