We will begin today’s class by sharing your Branding Case Studies from last week. This is an opportunity to receive feedback before the assignment deadline at midnight. If your work is not ready to share, that’s okay.
How Important Is Branding to Your Marketing Strategy?
The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a
“name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.”
Branding is not simply about getting your target market to choose you over the competition, but it is about getting them to see you as the only one that provides a solution to their problem.
The objectives that a good brand will achieve include:
- Delivers the message clearly
- Confirms your credibility
- Connects your target prospects emotionally
- Motivates the buyer
- Concretes user loyalty
To succeed in branding you must understand the needs and wants of your customers and prospects. You do this by integrating your brand strategies through your company at every point of public contact.
Your brand lives in every day-to-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
In larger companies, every division must be aware of, and commit to, your brand:
- Product strategy
- Sales strategy
- Communication strategy
- Quality assurance strategy
- Technical development strategy
A strong brand is invaluable as the battle for customers intensifies day by day. It’s important to spend time investing in researching, defining, and building your brand. After all, your brand is the source of a promise to your consumer. It’s a foundational piece in your marketing communication and one you do not want to be without.
How to Define Your Brand
The first step in developing your brand strategy, defining what your brand is allows you to create the foundation for all other strategy components to build on.
That is, your brand definition will serve as your measuring stick in evaluating any and all marketing materials and strategies. You begin this process by answering the questions below.
- What products and/or services do you offer? Define the qualities of these services and/or products.
- What are the core values of your products and services? What are the core values of your company?
- What is the mission of your company?
- What does your company specializes in?
- Who is your target market? Who do your products and services attract?
- What is the tagline of your company? What message does your tagline send to your prospects?
- Focus on your target audience when answering each question.
- Compile each answer in a journal or notebook specifically designated to the Brand Development of your company.
- Be honest with your answers, answer each question thoroughly.
Discovering the answers to these questions creates a personality or character for your company that represents your products or services. What is the character like? What qualities stand out? Is the personality of your company innovative, creative, energetic, or sophisticated?
Use the personality that you created, and build a relationship with your target market (desired customers) that you defined last week. How does that personality react to target audience? What characteristics stand out? Which characteristics and qualities get the attention of your prospects?
Determining Your Brand’s Objectives
Critical to effective brand management is the clear definition of the brand’s audience and the objectives that the brand needs to achieve.
What are the objectives that you hope to achieve with your brand?
Your brand should be comprised of the company personality, image, core competencies and characteristics. The impressions that you make, as well as the words people will use to describe your company to others, are the basic framework of your brand.
With a strong brand you build credibility, have more influence on your market, and motivate customers and clients to purchase from you. If done correctly your company will be looked at as a leader, not a follower.
To determine your brand objectives, ask yourself the following questions:
- What is it that you want your brand to do for your company?
- What do you want others to know and say about your products or services?
Sample objectives may include:
- Being recognized by receiving a specific award
- Picking up a certain number of choice projects
- Gaining a specific number of new clients in the next year
- Positioning your company as an industry leader in the next five months
You will find that by defining your objectives with specific timelines it is easier to develop a plan of action to achieve those objectives. By defining your objectives you are able to map out a plan on how to achieve those objectives.
Say for example your objective is to position your company as an industry leader. How can you go about doing this? You could:
- Have members of your team speak at Trade Shows
- Schedule lectures at professional group gatherings within your industry
- Write and publish articles in newspapers, magazines, or online media
Focusing on Your Target Audience
It is necessary to find the right balance when defining your target market in a way that causes your audience to recognize that you are talking specifically to them. This often requires companies to narrow down their target market.
Why is Your Target Market Important in Branding?
It does not matter what your Brand mission is—identifying and gaining the devotion of your target audience is the necessary means to reaching those objectives.
To achieve your brand marketing goals, it is important that you know your target market inside and out. This requires conducting a market analysis. This market analysis must be as in-depth as possible, providing you will all the data you need to reach your target effectively. By knowing your target audience you will be more confident in the steps to take to connect with that audience.
The power of your brand relies on the ability to focus. That is why defining your target market will help to strengthen your brand’s effectiveness.
Conduct Your Informal Market Analysis
The following questions will help you create your market analysis. Make your study as complete as possible. Use the Internet to conduct research. You can also read news stories that are related to your target market. This will help you to narrow down your target by interest, demographic, and common trends.
- Who is your target audience?
- Where is your target audience located?
- What would you like them to think about your brand?
- How will you attract them to your products or services?
- Who else is competing for their loyalty and devotion?
- Are you targeting business or consumer sectors?