Branding & Marketing: Do What Now? You've Got To Take Action Right Now To Boost Your Results…Right?
You already know that to be successful your business needs a clear purposeful direction. Empowered sales and marketing. And a branding impression that’s a turn-on... not a ho-hum…
…however, your prospects’ first impression of your website is:
“Um...so I think I sorta get what you do…”
"I think you do something that might help us, but TLDR..."
Or: “Yes, saw your site, we'll keep your business in mind....”
Whether you're in a small or large company, you might suspect your website, collateral, product/service offerings, and overall marketing are a little weak or disjointed.
Sometimes brands are halfway there (not enough). Sometimes a logo isn't backed by strategy (that's not really much of a brand). Sometimes product and service descriptions and customer service are on target (but not offered the way prospects want to buy). Sometimes a website doesn't address prospect questions with a clear logical flow. And there can be many other issues (many easily solved).
The boss might say: "Whatever. Don’t worry about that, we need to bring in more business now. We’ll fix that strategy and branding stuff when more sales are made. And we don’t really need it anyway…we’re in a relationship business. So forget a new logo and tagline and some fancy-pants website, we’ve been doing business without them."
You’re a git-er-done guy or gal.
So you spring into ACTION:
• You contact more prospects than a Nigerian prince with a fortune that just needs depositing in your U.S. account (and grab $2MM for that effort)…
• Your new keywords pulverize the SEO out of every paragraph…
• You post on Instagram more often than a caffeinated influencer pushing the new caramel mocha latte with sparkly sprinkles…
• You hand out flyers with discount codes more efficiently than a one-armed paper hanger…
• You power-up the new business presentation to anyone who mentions your line of business in the next elevator…
You're pushing hard with all kinds of marketing tactics, expos and trade shows and sponsorships, and…and…
Your marketing and promotion efforts bring your prospects back to your website and presentations…driven by your brand and all related marketing communications! Is you brand ready for that action?
With your fuzzy strategy… fuzzy branding… fuzzy product and service offerings… fuzzy processes… and fuzzy marketing communication! That's a lot of fuzzy!
Do you really want to present your “sorta good enough” site to your best prospects, smart buyers — shopping the market and making buying decisions — and wonder why it's getting just a lukewarm reception? You’ve just wasted a whole lotta effort! And you likely have cut off some good prospects (because once they say "Nah..." it's pretty hard to get them to change their minds).
They may have visited your site, but some other company wowed them and got the sale -- not necessarily with a better product or service, but with a thought-through product or service and branding and messaging and customer experience that spoke directly to their interests. Damn… they just ate your lunch!
And it might not be such a good idea to rely on "relationships" to save the day — these days “relationships” can be fleeting, like the attention of your prospects and customers. These days the "branding and marketing stuff that you can always add later ” shouldn’t come later. It's costing you business right now. Really.
This is a very big question: Is your "Branding" just a logo as part of a Things To Do List to pop onto your website...or is it a central strategic driving force?
If you look at the Strategy/Branding as something on your TTD list -- not as generative and the core of your integrated thinking -- you will screw yourself royally.
Strategy and branding are not stickers you slap on…they're the engine that drives your business. Your business strategy and branding should guide most things you do — from the markets you select…the way you develop, customize and present your products and services...your website content and SEO…and everything else.
>> Good strategy should lead to good branding >>
>> Good branding builds the foundation for strong website and marketing materials >>
>> Content and marketing programs build leads and sales.
These are not plug-ins…this is a “continuum.”
This Strategy/Branding “continuum” affects everything from product/service development… website architecture/UX, content, and design… through all marketing communication (outbound, inbound, guerrilla, presentations, and all marketing tactics)…and straight through a spectrum of company activities and functions, from customer service to your annual conference. In that order.
If you do this in a "different order,” and present something muddled … you’re really presenting a different offering to your prospects. It might as well be a different company — a company that has no clear identity and direction. And the prospects you've tried to cultivate will meander off with "Hey I’ve got to make a call…"
And look further at the practical aspects of trying to "add branding later" – do you really want to muddle with your website forever? Do you want to reprint those business cards and brochures again, or keep using the “bad ones” because you printed so many?
Most businesspeople are moving way too quickly to explore the epiphany that good strategy and branding programs often lead to new ways of doing business, new markets, or sales and marketing… that are a jump ahead. You don’t have to be an Einstein to quote him — “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” And if we don’t approach growth or innovation freshly, we miss capitalizing on our biggest asset — our ability to think!
Set Your Business Direction — Where Are You Going? And Is Your Brand Development Keeping Up With You?
First, get the destination straight. Are we going to the beach, or skiing? Urban staycation or mountain climbing? When you know, you pack your bags. Not the other way around. You don’t want to bring your ski parka and insulated gloves to Jamaica, mon. Do you feel me…are you feeling irie?
Practically, if you shift the order of what you do — strategy and branding first, as guiding forces — you'll change everything. You'll have your destination, map and compass. So you can produce the business results you want with clarity and alacrity. Guaranteed.
Joel Alpert develops a continuum of strategic, branding, marketing, and creative marketing communications for companies of all sizes, startups to SMB to Fortune 500. He somehow thinks he knows when to "do what now."
Come visit: www.MarketPowerOnline.com (you might want to hit the "Strategic Consulting" tab, and there are some eye-opening blogs there, too.
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