July 15, 2022
5 min read
The brand. It’s one of those things everyone believes they understand but finds difficult to put into words.
“Of course I know what my brand is. Just don’t ask me to explain it.”
Things that are about individual perception are like that. Brands are personal, and they are everywhere: cars, universities, companies, hotels, musical groups, celebrities, restaurants, sports teams … The list is endless. Many brands bring out strong emotions, with some referred to as ‘polarizing brands.’ (Could be a good topic for a future chirp. We’re looking at you, Yankee fans.) This ‘I just know’ understanding of a brand is fine until building yours or establishing a new product in the marketplace has a critical role in your business success.
When brands are built and managed well, they seem unified and powerful. When they aren’t built and managed correctly, they disappear into the marketplace, languish, and will likely be overtaken by the competition. In business, anything managed well has been defined and measured, and that includes a brand.
When talking to clients about how they can build their business or establish a new product (brand) in the marketplace, we always have the topic of brand in the back – or maybe front – of our minds.
Here are several best practices to help you build a powerful brand.
Let’s start with how brand is defined at BlueByrd.
A brand is a promise – a promise of the experience a stakeholder will have when they engage the brand.
BlueByrd’s definition is a distillation of the many out there, and ours is specifically designed for B2B with key words.
“Of course we consistently build our brand. I just know that, too.”
For developing strategy and plans to introduce and build brands, we have found no better framework than one offered by Wally Olins, a British corporate identity and branding legend.
If you haven’t heard of this Brit, we encourage you to dive into the rabbit hole.
Among the many gems Wally provided over the years, one stands out for us from his book titled “Wally Olins: The Brand Handbook” in which a brand manifests itself through four brand vectors.
That center box can also be thought of as the brand promise. Setting that out clearly to center and ground your organization can be hard work but well worth it.
Consider the four vectors Wally proposes:
These four categories are great for framing how customers form brand perceptions, what you want those to be, and then moving on to developing business strategies, plans, and allocating budgets. Much of this makes its way into BlueByrd workshops.
For your latest key technology entering the market, you might take a look at your own plans and budgets against these four vectors. Any opportunities to improve things? If so, we’d love to hear from you. (Even if not.)
Positioning outlines why your product is unique in comparison to market alternatives, and messaging describes to your target segments what you’ll do to deliver on the promises made in your positioning statement. It is a powerful one-two punch, and you need to be able to communicate yours before you start spending money on tactics.
Properly understood, the job of a marketing department is to drive revenue for the company. Some marketers do so by building and maintaining a brand, others focus on generating new leads, and others still focus on enabling sales to close more quickly and consistently. A good company with a mature marketing department does all of these things, even if they focus on some areas more than others. But there’s one area of revenue generation where the marketing department is often relegated to a passive participant or even outright excluded: pricing.
Companies everywhere are looking to cut overhead and other costs to keep up with a changing market and an economic recession. That usually means that marketing budgets are the next to go. Much like during the pandemic, businesses will have to pivot and discover new marketing solutions to combat the economic recession, inflation, and other market changes.
Tell us a little about yourself and your business.