A Strategic Approach to Modern Branding
Each person is unique with their own personality, businesses are no different . Following the lead or approach of other business does not develop an company's unique strengths or help it capitalize on its' opportunities. Your corporate brand is the promise to your customers, encapsulating what your audience(s) perceive about your company. When executed correctly, branding is a fundamental business function important as any other area of your business. It is the —sometimes intangible— thing that entices people to trust an organization in a positive way that will enhance lead sales and if executed correctly, a loyal customer base. Just selling a random product to the odd person, who passes by, is OK on a busy street corner or in a mall, but for a successful business customers need to understand who you are to repeatedly purchase products and services.
To build this loyal customer base requires instilling trust and providing value with quality products or services guaranteed and backed with service and support. A brand is often not a tangible thing, but an emotional issue that people respond to and can associate with quality.
When working with 76West, we help to make your brand as concrete as possible so your staff can recognize and support it in their day-to-day activities, and so your customers know who to look for. When we're engaged in a program, you'll often hear us talk about brand as an identity, which is one aspect of a modern brand. We believe the brand is the most powerful selling tool your company can ever have, and can be the jewel of the brand strategy.
Today, it's easy to see the effects of a powerful brand program, because it's so identifiable it underscores the value of the brand and the importance of a strategic approach. Think what the Apple brand means to millions of people or the symbolism on of the crest on a Cadillac. Consider the round script monogram of General Electric and the Golden Arches or McDonalds. Each of these organziations have built and maintained their brand through a strategic application. And even though each of these companies are household names, these organizations still put tremendous effort in the maintenance of their branding, marketing, communications and advertising. The long-term results have a profound effect for each of these companies. To their customers the brands imply quality, consistency and reliability. Customers respond by having favorite brands and by chosing Apple over Lenovo, purchasing their products, services buying into their platform and have an excitement that they share with their friends and family. Having a cohesive, flexbile brand strategy is critical for all modern successful organizations large or small, private or public, engaged in B2B or consumer products.
Branding, is the process that informs your customers what to expect from the products you sell and endorse as well as the services you provide for them. It starts to paint the picture of how you are different from your competitors and the unique properties only you possess. We develop brands through a number of different strategic tools and processess. To get started, we investigate your organization through a series of eight simple questions, sometimes called the 8Ws.
8 Ws Process:
- What is your company's mission or purpose?
- Who is your primary target audience?
- What are you offering or promising your customers?
- What is the impression you want to give your customers?
- What makes you different from other companies that are selling similar thing to you?
- What is your company's personality?
- What are your competitors doing right?
- What are your competitors missing and how can you capitalize on this?
Through this process, we're able to identify opportunities, and begin to develop insights to help your company develop a strategic approach for the application and growth of your brand. These simple questions are a tool that we use to begin an investigative process to uncovering the facts about your company that make it unique.
When we develop brand programs we ensure it extends to all areas of the business. No detail is too small or trivial to consider. We work with our clients to develop an entire brand program and consider daily interactions such as scripts for answering telephones, uniforms and dress codes. We'll consider visible items that include website design and functionality, business communications, and human interaction. Most importantly, we'll provide a framework for the growth of the brand to ensure an organized and coherent presentation of products and services that help influence postitive sales trends.
Defining a brand takes time, skill and dedication. All successful companies employ a diverse team to ensure they keep to the ideas and are consistent to their company's goals and values. For a business with growth goals, this is not the domain of a "one-stop-shop." A strong brand team is often a mix of on-staff and external brand experts like 76West. A small company will require a different scale brand management team, perhaps 0.5 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE). A larger, more established company may engage with an effort of 12FTE or even more. Regardless of the company size, a strategic brand program is important to establish. Working with a firm like 76West that has expertise in brand strategy, management and development will prove to be an asset by helping to diminish chasing short-term goals in favor of long-term gains.
Once the foundation of the brand is in place, then the strategy must be maintained by a dedicated group of professionals. This strategy will evolve and grow with the business to meet sales goals, and is applied through tactics such as a website, advertising, social media, trade shows and other on-going efforts as appropriate for the business, market sector and size of the company.