9 Secret Branding & ReBranding Questions To Empower Your Growth (Part 1)
If you haven’t taken a good clear look at your company strategy and branding in the past 2 or 3 years — along with the products and services which are part of your brand — you probably should!
The marketplace isn’t waiting for you to take this fresh look, it is always evolving… and expects you to keep up.
Your branding impressions are made in just instants! That's why you should put some time into thinking this through. Make that work.
There are a range of branding components which are relevant to your business — company name, tagline, your strategic focus, overall brand identity, website first impression and ease of use, overall marketing, social media posts, customer service...and, believe it or not, "more" (wait a second, I'll tell you about a key area that most folks miss).
These are the "central organizing forces" in the way you present your business. Strategy and branding are on a "continuum" — and you could make these components distinct or not with terminology — as long as you take the time to make these vital business functions work for you. And don't even think of them as band-aid patches you can slap on when you have the time — these form a vital compass that unifies and guides your direction.
One major mistake I see is as obvious as the nose on your face, but gets missed most of the time: Your products and services are not separate from your brand. They are intrinsic to your brand.
So don’t miss these in your company branding. Your brand will inform how your products should be presented (not only style, but substance!)… and your products will inform how you should present your brand. Makes sense when you think it through, right?
You have the real opportunity to create significant increases in engagement, sales, market share, a more efficient sales process, and profitability, when you align your company and the deliverables and processes it produces with your prospect and customer interests.
WARNING: These are Q’s to explore, fast answers to fill in the blanks don't work. Take your time. The biggest business asset you have is in between your ears! When we do this with you "for real," we take about a half-day to explore these thoroughly.
If you fly though, you’ll miss a lot on the ground.
Your business branding is worth thinking it through, right? You’ll Want To Cover These Key Questions!
While these questions seem simple, when answered with depth and perspective, they open up new pathways to break through the branding and communications clutter. When we do our PowerBranding strategic working sessions, most often in a group setting, we spend ample time exploring these questions (outlined here), and encourage you to do the same. Here's some of the big picture:
1) What is your product or service offering?
Sure, the "obvious description" of products and services is okay. To start with. But you want to know what it really does for its users. How it impacts their life and work...that’s why they want it. If you’re doing a rebrand, you need to be particularly aware of the trap of “knowing”....if you know, you won’t look. And you’ll miss some aspects of why people buy.
2) Who are you Customers?
Include buyers, influencers, referral sources. In some cases, you might explore personas. You may very well come up with new sales and marketing avenues, and new ways and messages to engage your audience(s).
3) What do they want?
Go beyond vague interests or expected answers, to the motivations of your prospects. (Not what they say they want...but your best understanding of what they really need from you.) If you can subtly (or overtly) hit these points, you’ll accelerate your sales and marketing impact.
4) What does the company want?
"Customer Focused" ain't the whole picture. Yes, the company agenda should be part of the agenda. What your company owners and employees want should also be part of the picture. You’d be surprised that “greater profits” is not the only thing a company may want. It can include any range of responses, expected and unexpected.
5) Why Do "Prospects" Make The Move To Being “Customers”?
What is the match of interests...why do they say “yes”?
This “match” of interests is the "handshake," after sales and marketing, where the agreement makes sense. Make sure you’re flexible at this stage, could be some simple adjustment in your process or service makes it easier to buy, and that could lead to new approaches. The deal works when it works for both your team and it's business interests…and your customers.
Your Brand Strategy & Brand Identity Has Specific Content, plus Context
6) What’s the context?
How are you interacting with referral sources, prospects, customers, and investors. Be accessible. What’s the style of company in the marketplace? You don’t have to be "corporate" or “grunge” or anything else in particular, in order to be accessible. You just need to be focused on who you are, and what your target market wants. Are you willing to explain what’s “under the hood”? You don’t have to give away the shop, but transparency tends to be attractive.
7) Do your products and services match your brand?
That includes company name, to how you describe company services. Company, product and service names are usually strongest when they integrate under a brand umbrella and make sense as a unit (not disjointed) to your prospects.
And even in the services you provide, think about what the customer is looking for. If you’re a cable television company, remember that only one definition of your business is “cable service”...and another definition is “providing a fun entertainment and communication service,” for starters. If so, make sure you deliver that service well – such as a “2 hour service” window that makes life a little more pleasant for customers, and reinforced in your marketing communications before and after that service.
8) Create a Copy/Content/Communications style.
Don’t be scared to be human, and talk normal. No MarketSpeak. Screw the corporate facade... if you ain’t a people, then people don’t want to talk to you. Be a people.
9) Corporate Brand Story?
I can be important. But a Human brand story is often more engaging. See point #8. Relax, and talk about the business, and why it exists, how it became your calling. herther it's about the company or its founders, there’s your brand story. And if it doesn't exist, no worries.
Exploring a brand story should be done casually...maybe even "secretly." Manyatimes if you tell a client in advance you want to hear their "brand story," they'll dictate, pontificate, attempt to monumentalize this story as their last will and testament. You might have a conversation over a coffee, without any preparation and record the conversation. Get the essence down, edit later.
I had a client who didn’t seem particularly good at explaining his business....but when he told me he was working part-time as a security guard, and his peers were wondering what he was doing online on his breaks, trading stocks, He showed them, and wound up training lots of people casually at first... it's a great story on how he developed a specialized stock trading workshop.
So those are some of the Q’s. The A’s depend on you and your team, really being willing to explore the impact of these answers.
It's definitely not a race. Just the opposite. Closer to chillin' out in a lotus garden, b-r-e-a-t-h-e and think, where you don't access automatic answers from a churning mental database... and you do some real powerful thinking. If you finish in less than a half-day, cut back on your coffee, practice meditation, and put in the focus needed. After all, you spend most of your time on your business, give it the time it needs for a strong foundation!
That fresh thinking is what we as humans are best known for....and you could be doing some of your best work here! The answers you explore and develop are key to your company brand identity and brand strategy.
► Go To Part 2: http://bit.ly/2gUFizr This post introduced the "What" to consider...now check out Part 2, HOW to think through your branding! http://bit.ly/2gUFizr
► See my profile for a links to more on blogging, strategy, marketing, and thinking! And I invite you to connect....
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Joel Alpert of Market Power is a branding and marketing consultant who has developed strategic and tactical consulting, business strategy, branding and targeted marketing programs, for Fortune 500, one-person consultancies, startups, non-profits...in a ridiculously wide range of business categories. This perspective comes from PowerBranding — our signature process which merges proprietary consulting tools of the Robert Fritz, Inc. organization and MarketPower Com visit: www.MarketPowerOnline.com