Building a product into a brand leader is not easy, but I truly believe that you can improve your branding impression if you follow these 2 rules; Passion & Consistency as well as the 4P's of Branding that I have developed, PRODUCT ? PLACEMENT ? PROMOTION ? PEOPLE. These 4 P's will enable you to check the way your brand is interpreted. Each of these very distinct headings has an impact on your brand, and the brand in turn will affect each of these areas. For those of you who have gone through Marketing 101, you will see that the only difference between the 4P's of Marketing and my 4P's of Branding, are People, and people affect the brand more than any other area.
Imagine this scenario, it's lunchtime, you have decided, after working in your office all morning, that you would like to have an orange for dessert. You drive to the local supermarket, go to the fruit department, and find that there are only 2 oranges left, they both look the same until you pick them up. That's when you notice that one of them has Sunkist stamped on it. Which one will you buy? Well if you are like 99.999% of the country, you will by the Sunkist orange. Why? Because over the years, Sunkist has promised you an orange that not only looks good, tastes good, but is also good value for money. Now comes the kicker, you see, there is very good chance that you would probably still buy the Sunkist brand, even if you had to pay a penny or so more for it. That is what building a brand leader is all about. At the moment of truth, if all things are equal then there is a good chance that the "brand" will be the purchase choice, and even command a premium price for the product.
Next is Placement. In my brand concept overview I have listed Distribution, Location, Stores, Transportation and Plant. Now these are generic headings, and you may well be able to add more that are pertinent to your specific industry. I want you to imagine that all of these areas are like a full-page advertisement for your company. They should all have the communications message that is consistent with the rest of the campaign approach you are now working on. I know that this is somewhat unusual, but every single piece of communication affects the end user or consumer in some way shape or form. You see it really is the logo on the truck, but it's also the logo on the driver's shirt, the cleanliness of the truck and the way in which the delivery person interacts with the customer. They should act the way you want them to, the way you want your brand to be enacted. This should all be scripted, leaving nothing to chance or choice! They are your brand image.
Promotion is the area that we think of most when discussing brand and brand impression. Promotion covers the vast area of communication. From the very essence of the brand to it's image, Advertising, Sales Promotion, Direct Mail, Internet advertising, Public Relations, Marketing, Sales Force, and Point of Sale. There are so many different elements, that it would take a whole series of articles to even get started. However, I would strongly recommend that you remember what I said at the beginning, "Consistency" should be pervasive throughout all of the components. Sometimes you don't have to have a great design as long as you are consistent with the creative and the message.
As I mentioned earlier, People are the one area that makes my 4P's of Branding different from the 4P's of Marketing. People are involved in every step of the production of your product or service, and people are the Brand. Your employees, Dealers or Distributors, End Users, Vendors, Friends and honestly the Rest of the World. Every employee represents the brand, the people in the Accounting Department, Shipping, Research, Legal, Shop Floor, Marketing, and on throughout the company. It's not just the Sales Department! Think about this - your accounting department calls someone in your clients accounting department on a regular basis. Maybe it's to chase money, to clear up a billed consignment that perhaps got lost. But this is also a chance for your accounting person to get a little closer and find out how your company is doing with them, the customer. This is a great opportunity to get inside information.
How are we doing? Why do you think our competition is getting the lion share of the business? How can we do a better job for your company? And many other questions that you would like answered, I would go so far as to try to get these two people together, give them the opportunity to get closer, go out to lunch on you. It will pay back dividends in the long run.
There are many more opportunities to make your brand grow, make sure you follow the golden rules, passion, consistency of message and multiple quality impressions, and your brand will be on it's way to becoming a brand leader.
To measure how strong your brand is copy and paste: (brandidentityguru.com/bightml/brandmasterpiece.html). Then click "Take the brand strength test". This is a short survey that measures the strength of any company's brand. It's a great tool to see where you are today.
Scott White is President of Brand Identity Guru (brandidentityguru.com), a leading brand consulting and market research firm located in Easton, Massachusetts, USA, near Boston.
Brand Identity Guru specializes in creating corporate and product brands that increase sales, market share, customer loyalty, and brand valuation. Over the course of his 15-year branding career, Scott White has worked in a wide variety of industries: high-tech, manufacturing, computer hardware and software, telecommunications, banking, restaurants, fashion, healthcare, Internet, retail, and service businesses, as well as numerous non-profit organizations.
Brand Identity Guru clients include: Sun Life Financial, Coca Cola, HP, Sun, Nordstrom, American Federal Mortgage, Simon (America's largest shopping mall manager) and many others, including numerous emerging growth companies.
Scott White is a very enthusiastic speaker and has the gift of being able to explain the principles of branding in a compelling and entertaining manner so that people at all levels can understand.