4 steps to build your brand

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  • 1. AS SEEN INBUSINESS BUILDER MARKETING by STEVE CARPLESways to cope with information over-load, and to simplify the choices thatwe make in managing our daily busi-ness activities.Promises, promisesStrong brands make it easier for usto make choices they are promisesthat we can depend upon when tryingto get a specific job done. We donthave to worry, we know what to expect so the choice of a supplier for aproduct or service becomes a quickdecision. Strong brands stay top-of-mind and help us to be efficient. Dur-ing these more challenging econom-ic times, strong brands become even more valuable. Resources are tighter. Desired results are mandatory.A brand is much more than just alogo or a clever tagline. Its the out-ward expression of the unique and rel-Your message[tips] 1must be sim-ple, so thatprospects and customers can inter-nalize it. They must embrace it andwant it.A core purpose should be more 2 than just the sheer pursuit ofprofits. Successful enterprisesBuilding your brand,set their sights on seemingly unat-tainable objectives, and stay true totheir core values as they pursue afrom discoverybold vision.Use your brand strategy to guide3 your growth, whether it comesthrough diligence from internal product develop-ment or outside acquisitions.evant value that you provide. Its howITS CRITICAL TO KEEP inment that you simply cant afford.you satisfy your customers needs, daymind what your company stands for inWrong its an investment that you in and day out. Your message must bethe minds of your customers, employ-simply cant ignore. The marketplacesimple, so that your prospects and cus-ees and other stakeholders. This is in which you do business is complex.tomers can internalize it. They must CHARLES STUBBSyour brand, and every action you take Your customers have lots of choices for embrace it, and want it.should be consistent with it, and makethe services and products they use. JustYour brand should also serve as theit stronger.like you, they are apt to be over-guiding framework for your business. You may think that branding is a whelmed by e-mails, junk mail, mediaResource allocation decisions, internallarge company concept an invest-ads and phone solicitations. We all seekpolicy formulation, organizational cul-30 AS SEEN IN UPSIZE MINNESOTA, MARCH 2003 reprinted with permission, all rights reservedwww.upsizemag.com

2. [contact]tural refinements and new product results you hope to achieve. Finally,Steve Carples is thedevelopment strategies should all bedistill a creative expression for your principal of Synergisticsdeveloped with your brand in mind.brand design your identity elementsConsulting in Min-The relationships that you build, the and craft your messages to ensure that netonka, with more than 21 years ofway in which you go about your dailyyour promise is communicated withexperience helping companies artic-business and the internal culture thatmaximum clarity and optimal impact.ulate and implement brand market-you create for your employees alling strategies for growth:shape your brand. Oftentimes, its theThird, delivery952.525.3199; scarples@mn.rr.comperception of who you are and whatGo to market. Develop and execute ayou represent that makes customersmarketing plan to build brand aware-want to associate with you, and doness, motivate initial and repeat pur-customers and prospects feel aboutmore business with you over time. chase and build customer loyalty over your products and services. Conduct So lets assume you agree that creat-time. Choose your communication market audits and solicit customering a strong brand is critical. How dovehicles carefully, recognizing thatfeedback.you go about accomplishing it? We oftentimes the medium is the message. Facilitate open and honest dialoguerecommend a four-stage block and Think about how to optimally leverage up, down and across your organization.tackling process that involves hardadvertising, promotion, PR and collat-Dont allow silos to form keepwork and a commitment to stick withit. Much like an annual plan, a brand[quote]must be nurtured and continuallyrefined to keep it fresh and relevant.Heres an outline of the four stages: You may think that branding is an invest-First, discovery ment that you simply cant afford. Wrong Think about what your business isreally about. Define your companysits an investment that you simply cantcore competencies, unique assets, driv-ing goals and potential Achilles heels. ignore.Analyze the marketplace to discover Steve Carples, Synergistics Consultingemerging and existing needs that are notbeing addressed. Understand how yourproducts or services can best addressthese needs in a differentiated andunique way. Be honest in looking atyourself, the market and your competi-tors. Understand your competitions eral to project the right image.everyone focused on the same objec-strengths and how are they likely toUse your brand strategy to guidetives. And use the feedback to continu-respond to your actions and emergingyour growth, whether it comes fromously improve your offering and brandtrends. internal product development or out-expression.side acquisitions. Design your sales and Of course, this four-stage process isSecond, distillationcustomer care protocols to reflect your only a roadmap. Success comes from Formulate your strategy. Begin bybrand, and make sure that your inter- execution, execution, execution. Beginarticulating your core purpose and val- nal organizational culture is consistentwith a clear vision. F.R.E.E. yourselfues. A core purpose should be morewith the core purpose and values youfrom the constraints of current think-than just the sheer pursuit of profits. have articulated. ing: Forget the boundaries, the how-Successful enterprises set their sights we-got-heres and the way-weve-on seemingly unattainable objectives, Finally, diligencealways-done-its. Recreate the market-and stay true to their core values asBe a brand steward measure and place structure based on your histori-they pursue a bold vision.refine. Stewardship is about keeping cal strengths and core competencies. Next, develop a concise positioningthe course and ensuring that all yourEnvision new ways that you can meetstrategy. This should highlight a bulls- actions stay true to your brand strate- customer wants see the futureeye target, a competitive frame-of-ref- gy. Dont chase an opportunity just through their eyes. Engage your targeterence, the unique benefits that youbecause it presents itself. Stay focusedaudiences in this new vision, bothoffer and support reasons why. Your on your vision, values and positioningintellectually and emotionally.strategy should also include a clearstrategy. Define metrics to measure Through this process, you will create adefinition and prioritization of theyour progress, and to assess how your unique and relevant brand platform.www.upsizemag.comAS SEEN IN UPSIZE MINNESOTA, MARCH 2003 reprinted with permission, all rights reserved 31