Monday, January 18, 2010

how to develop your brand strategy

Brand Strategy

Brand Strategy:  This graphic shows how other subjects depend on your brand strategy.  BLUE subjects drive it; GREEN subjects are dependent on it.  RED = additional tools that can help.

What is a brand? Is it a logo? A name or slogan? A graphic design or color scheme?

Your brand is the entire experience your prospects and customers have with your company. It’s what you stand for, a promise you make, and the personality you convey. And while it includes your logo, color palette and slogan, those are only creative elements that convey your brand. Instead, your brand lives in every day-t0-day interaction you have with your market:

  • The images you convey
  • The messages you deliver on your website, proposals and sales materials
  • The way your employees interact with customers
  • A customer’s opinion of you versus your competition

Branding is crucial for products and services sold in huge consumer markets. It’s also important in B2B because it helps you stand out from your competition. It brings your competitive position and value proposition to life; it positions you as a certain “something” in the mind of your prospects and customers. Your brand consistently and repeatedly tells your prospects and customers why they should buy from you.

Think about successful consumer brands like Disney, Tiffany or Starbucks. You probably know what each brand represents. Now imagine that you’re competing against one of these companies. If you want to capture significant market share, start with a strong and unique brand identity or you may not get far.

In your industry, there may or may not be a strong B2B brand. But when you put two companies up against each other, the one that represents something valuable will have an easier time reaching, engaging, closing and retaining customers. A strong brand strategy can be a big advantage.

Successful branding also creates “brand equity” – the amount of money that customers are willing to pay just because it’s your brand. In addition to generating revenue, brand equity makes your company itself more valuable over the long term.

By defining your brand strategy and using it in every interaction with your market, you strengthen your messages and relationships.