A Strategy For Putting Ideas into Action
Deciding which tools and techniques make the most sense for your company, who’ll implement them, how and when to do it requires a strategy. Or as we like to call it, a play book.
[This can seem daunting if you’re a brand in a crowded market with multiple competitors, few meaningful points of difference and too few viable positions. If that’s the case, look for new product or service offerings that create marketable points of difference.
Are you currently a CATEGORY OF ONE brand? Build on a strength you already have, such as creativity and innovation, and instead of “selling tools to the construction industry” you’re the brand that’s “reinventing building.” This can then be translated into a tagline, marketing campaign and a guiding force in strategic business decisions.
Four Steps to a (Sensational) Brand Strategy
1 | DEFINE YOUR BRAND
Conduct a brand audit, an assessment of the current state of your brand. The primary goal is to learn, through surveys, personal interviews and website/blog conversations, how customers and prospects feel about your brand today.
Define your brand’s personality. Bold and brawny? Fun and friendly? Honest and hard-working? Smart and sensible? (If your first thought is bland and boring, or you’re just not satisfied with your current brandhood, decide which traits you’d like your brand to embody and work to make them a reality.)
Be the customer. Define your primary and secondary audience members and give each group a persona—Joe Customer, if you will. Literally create a page for each in your brand strategy document, complete with representative photo and profile of likes, dislikes, behaviors and patterns. You’ll be surprised how often you’ll mull an idea and wonder what would Joe think?
Create a positioning statement. Simply put, your brand does what for whom to support the why.
2 | CREATE A BRAND MAP
First, identify all points of contact with Joe Customer. Most B2B’s have at least 100 points of contact, many that have become dormant. Include the points you’re already taking advantage of (you advertise in an industry journal he subscribes to) and others you could be, per the profile you developed (he fans your competitors on Facebook, but you’ve yet to set up an account). Determine the best ways to connect, and develop a plan for integrating your brand.
As you move to Step 3, take a moment to review the first nine installments in our e-series via the links at right. They’re chock full of ideas and how-tos for making your brand the one to follow.
3 | SET GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
Sales goals are always a top priority, however, our concern here is brand awareness. The corresponding objective: To maximize the recognition of, and sustained interest in, your brand via communication touchpoints. (And ultimately, convert more prospects into repeat customers.)
Specific goals depend on the marketing tools you have in place and the results of Steps 1 and 2. Your goals might be to increase website traffic, page views or search rankings…grow your e-newsletter subscriber list (or its frequency)…boost your following in social media…or simply to put more product samples into hands at the next trade show.
4 | DEVELOP A STYLE GUIDE
The key to any brand strategy is consistency (visual and literal) and this is the bible for maintaining it across all platforms. Basic components include rules for logo size, color and placement, as well as guidelines for using taglines and other brand messaging.
Whether your style guide is five pages or 500, make sure it’s comprehensive, current and most important, consistently used.
Some of you may still be wondering why a B2B brand in the building products industry needs a brand strategy. Isn’t selling quality products and offering great customer service enough to set you apart as the leader?
We get that question a lot, and the answer is NO. Your competitors are saying the exact same thing that you are.
So who stands out? Who’s garnering the loyal fans?
Even if you’re a big fish in a little pond, confident in your brandhood, it’s critically important to solidify your brand promise and work to grow your following.
How are you winning over your fans? I’d love to hear from you.
Here’s to creating a sensation! Let’s get started.
Allison DeFord, Trailblazer