This is our third blog in our series Big Problems Solved… to read the first two, you can read blog #1 here: Big Problems Solved: Be Better at Brand Awareness Strategy or blog # 2 here: Big Problems Solved: Be Better at Marketing Your Business
The definition of branding is discovering “the big idea.”
• What do you do for your customer that is uniquely different from your competition?
• What is your compelling message and visions that clearly communicate your brand?
You start by discovering what needs of your niche potential customers you can fulfill. You then develop or modify services and products that fill those needs in better ways. You begin by making a promise on-time, every time; that becomes your brand. A great logo and tag line based on research, becomes the key image that identifies who you are.
Your website, social media, direct mail and people are responsible to deliver your message to the clients that need what you’re selling, have the ability to pay and agree with your brand. As the markets change, you optimize and innovate your brand to keep growing no matter what happens.
The big difference between large company branding and small company branding is the people. The attitude, knowledge, and wisdom of a company’s people are 70% of the brand. Ten years ago, I wrote a book called the Synergy Factor, People + Process + Profit = a Successful Business. Branding is your synergy factor. The question is: have you done it? Have you budgeted in the new normal marketing and branding?
You can spend no money on marketing and branding and you will not incur any cost. You can spend everything on marketing and maybe lose most of it through waste. I have found the best way is to invest in branding is strategically. Spend money over time based on trial and error, to learn what increases market share, what message works better than another or what communication channel works better than another.
Extending your brand
As competition increases, we have learned that brand is very effective method to reach new markets, create new services and find new strategic relationships.
The Myth of Advertising
Advertising has been sold by the amount of awareness it generates. This is misleading because it has nothing to do with branding; secondly, there is no guarantee that awareness sells and that a huge amount of coverage equals profits.
Increasing the value of your brand consists of measuring a variety of customer attitudes and behaviors. For example, market research is used to find the importance of service levels or convenience and how these attitudes drive behaviors like referrals and price. These will differ by market segments and by product.
The next step is to connect this to financial indicators like sales and cost of generating a sale. Analysis of future cash flow leads to increase in business valuation and profit over the next 3-5 years. This is the only way to justify investment in branding and marketing. You invest money in marketing to create a continuous flow of revenue that continues for years.
Great Marketing Starts and Ends with Smart Research
How have customers changed?
In the U.S. economy customers have become more individual and more demanding, which requires more intelligence to analyze. We live in a time of more a knowledgeable customer. This means promises must be kept and transparency is required. Customer insight becomes tomorrow’s trends. Design, speed and efficiency are common measurable along with price.
Ask the following Questions:
- Who are your target customers?
- What are their essential requirements?
- How do you identify small needs to must haves that make a difference?
- What are the most important differentiators?
- How will you match your findings to your brand promise?
- How do you focus lead generation on the best segments or industries and then on the ideal customer within them?
- How do you define what you do for your customers by articulating benefits in such a unique way that you create superior value over low price?
- How do you map out the process to achieve a great customer experience?
- How do you measure the results?
The use of customer interviews, focus groups, call surveys, and industry reports help determine the answer to these questions and provide knowledge of the market potential of your product and service.
What has been your experience with market research? What is working for you? What isn’t? We want to know your thoughts…please let us know in the comment section below. Questions or concerns? Click here to email us or call 989-791-2475 Ext. 13 and ask for Gary.
Check out the next subject in our blog series: Big Problems Solved: Posting the Right Information!