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  • Writer's pictureJoel Alpert

Is your BRANDING a “sticker”…or a "stick-shift"? Does your brand really produce business results?

guy  on mountaintop - does your strategy and branding really produce business results?  Can you add strategy and branding... later?
Can you add strategy and branding... later?

Strategy > Branding > < Business Infrastructure > Website, Social, Promo

Many business owners and directors of small and large companies fall into the trap of jumping into marketing, before the "marketing infrastructure" is reasonably complete. That could be company branding, for a product or service, or even an event.

They’ll say: let’s start marketing now, so we can produce real results faster. Then we’ll add the branding… you know, the logo and the other stuff.

However, there’s a significant problem with that.

”Branding” is not a kids “sticker” that you peel and place anywhere…it should be a driving force in your business

Branding is not a separate component. It’s both the face of your business, the retail storefront, and a central driving force of the business. You don't "stick" branding on your business or marketing communications.

Branding drives business. It's cited as being a significant part of business valuation… because it drives business.

It’s the first impression, the center spoke of the communications engine, and process behind the communications and customer interaction.

Shouldn't this "branding stuff" be a driving force that guides and integrates all the rest?

Think through where “branding” sits in your company’s business, positioning, marketing, sales, and customer interactions.

Branding is your business "stick shift"!

When you think it through, and figure out what your company, products and services provide for your customers — including such key elements as the buying process (Customer Journey) and customer service — you’ll develop effective plans to turn prospects into customers.

Your branding will be driven by your company purpose, your strategic direction, your brand focus.

Remember, this “branding stuff” is how you're presenting your business… what you’re saying to customers. It's how they understand you.

You want to think through your offerings fully. And if you’re doing something rare for most companies, you'll tweak the product and services offerings to really fit the prospect’s interests. From the big broad brush strokes… to the copywriting and visual style of your communications.

Then you figure out how to have this be the foundation of your communication… and THEN you get out there with your SEO, your marketing, your promotions, your sales, your metrics and more!

"Can't we just add it later," you ask?

If you do a crappy job at branding, and go after your best prospects… (unless you have a monopoly on the market)…

…you drive people back to your website with your promotion… and they don’t get it. Or they don’t love it. Or it looks kind of ancient. You’ve enticed your best prospects… but they’ll go elsewhere. Someone else eats your lunch. Tsk, tsk.

(So you'll want to get it right at the get-go — don’t think "build it and they will come," … because you'll want to ask: Come to whatsomething that's "just okay," something they're not sure they really like and respond to?)

If you pause long enough to fully think through you're brand identity and its development and scope… you'll level-up your branding. Not because it looks pretty. But because it makes your business results look pretty good!

A friend asked me as this was posted: "How could you market without a brand?"

As if that's impossible. Being "without a brand," happens often (even though it's a contradiction in terms).

A company may have a name, a logo, products and services… but hasn't thought through how to articulate a range of product positioning, marketing messages (and their language and style in ciontent and visuals), processes, product tweaks, training for customer interactions…and more,

In that case, you have a company. That company has a brand. But it's a very weak brand, without an identity and focus. Of course you don't want that, you want to use branding to build company value..

In the book "Brands and Branding," one chief executive notes that "companies that move from the (basic) traditional idea that the brand is about advertising and marketing to using the brand as an organizing idea in their corporate strategy, to touch and inform everything they and their people make, do and say, may find that they ‘have made more progress as business then we achieved in the previous ten years.’ ”

In fact, if you want to talk dollars and cents, they also note…

“The intangible element of the combined market capitalization of the S&P 500 has increased to around 80%, compared with some 30% twenty years ago, and is likely to grow even further.

And that book shows lots of other specific examples of financial value to be gained with stronger branding.

Some businesspeople run together the definitions of “Strategy” and “Branding”

No problem.

What you call these, is less important than what each should do. The focus of each discipline is clear:

In essence…

Strategy defines your business and its markets, how you sell to them, “how” you do business, and more. If its not clear and distinctive, your work in sales and promotion (and even "branding"!) is compromised at best.

Branding is that first impression, of course it starts with the logo, tagline, website, business card… but when done well, it includes all the customer interactions they'll have with your company — your brand!

So, for example…

If you focused your business efforts for your vitamin-fortified apple juice on senior citizens ( that's “strategy,” but you coold call that "branding")… you wouldn’t have a photo of a baby on the label to represent your brand (even though that’s also a market for your juice).

Combine strong strategic thinking with strong branding, and you’ll start gaining market share, profitability, and growth!

Game on!

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Insight 3 in this Series: DON’T TREAT BRANDING LIKE A STICKER!

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Next set installment:

Gain These 7 Powerful Insights On Strategy & Branding"

Insight 4: Tired of Playing "Business Whac-A-Mole"?

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Bonus: If you want to explore this idea and its implications, check out Do What Now?” right here on the PowerBlog

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Joel Alpert is Chief Lightbulb at MarketPower. But don’t be singing “You Light Up My Life”…unless you can do it on key!) Joel is into this “integrated idea” that strategy > drives branding… and branding > drives marketing,… and marketing > drives sales.

What were you thinking?


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