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Published by: 'kayode Qosim Olowu on Mar 23, 2011
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Brand Strategy Standing out amid a massive chorus of competitors is a challenge for any company in today s business climate

. Want evidence? Look at any magazine, TV show or surf the Internet. The number of offers and sales pitches one receives on a daily ba sis is simply staggering and increasingly ineffective. It s no wonder, then, why b usinesses are seeking new and more effective ways of increasing the influence of their brand strategy in the marketplace. A strong brand strategy can increase t he awareness of a company and its offerings in such a way that establishes stron g feelings and reactions and a favorable view towards the company as a whole. To create this sort of brand awareness in your market, it takes skillful Brand Strat egy know-how. Successfully out-branding your competitors is a continuous battle for the hearts and minds of your customers. The proposition your brand strategy makes must be very compelling, attractive and unique among competitive offerings. The proposit ion must also be consistently reinforced throughout all phases of an organizatio n, from senior executives to customer service, research and development, busines s development and even your business partners. What entails a comprehensive and effective Brand Strategy process? That s a much lon ger answer than what we have space for here, plus it varies from industry to ind ustry, but here are some very basic guidelines about what makes a good Brand Str ategy. Brand Strategy what s the big deal? Brand Strategy is nothing new. Yet, the expectations consumers have for a produc t or service they buy is stronger than it s ever been. This is why companies inter ested in long-term success must create the most promising, targeted brand experi ence possible. Whether you know it or not, you already have a brand, and your customers are hav ing a brand experience when they interact with you, whether it be with your produc ts and services or the people in your company. In order to craft this brand exper ience in a calculated way that is beneficial for your company, you must have a st rong understanding about what exactly a brand is. Brand is the Alpha and Omega In other words, brand is the totality of your company and its business. A brand is the sum of the good, the bad, the ugly and the off-strategy, says Scott White, one of the nation s leading branding consultants and a valued expert compa nies like Sun Life Financial and Franklin Sports rely on. It is your best and wor st product. It is your best and worst employee. It is communicated through award -winning advertising as well as those ads that somehow slipped through the appro val cracks and sank anything riding on them. It is your on-hold music and the de meanor of the receptionist who puts that valued client or prospect on hold. It i s the carefully crafted comments by a CEO as well as negative buzz by the water cooler or in chat rooms on the Internet. Brand is expressed through written, aud io and visual content. It is interpreted through emotional filters every human b eing has where anything can happen. Ultimately, you can t control your brand. You ca n only hope to guide it. The Road to Branding Success Building on the inherent values of a brand should be the core of any branding st rategy. If they re not clear, get a good grip on them first. Is the brand about ho nesty or integrity? Quality? How about excellent communication and customer sati

For clothing. Objective and c omprehensive branding research are the keys here. new cus tomers will become lost customers and loyal customers might leave. Winning brand strategies starts with top-notch research With values set. How do your offerings stack up? What can a customer get from your produ ct that they can t get from anyone else? Find out these things.sfaction? Knowledge of a company s values. Your target customer will determine your success If it s only possible to do one body of brand research. Simply p ut. too. it could be about style or comfort. it could be about safety or reliability. shopping habits (online and off) and anything else of r elevance you can determine. both must be don e to establish clarity on the brand s strengths and weaknesses. it must be clear. is a derivat ive of branding research. these criteria will differ. branding research should also be done on the brand s industry. At a minimum. If members of the o rganization aren t accurately representing the values of the brand. not to mention great fodder for an ad camp aign. If possible. Knowing these things should al so give you an idea for what communication medium and content would work to enga ge your market. must follow through on the promise in fac t. at least in a literal context. One example of an e ffective brand promise is that of BMW s. often called the brand promise or proposition. Find out who they are and what their needs and de sires are. and don t be vague in trying to position your company favorabl . Other research you might want to do is find out what your competitors offerings a re like. those values become evident to everyone in contact with the company. And unlike a brand s key business proposi tion. It states the benefit of buying and using your company s products or services. gender. from customers and prospective customers to business-to-business relati onships and employee relations. What does your brand promise? The brand statement. Understanding your target market and wha t they want is key to developing a winning brand. is typically an in ternal matter. yet. steps must be taken to rectify the chink in the armor. what ever that is. it would be best if it actually over-delivered. the target audienc e and the competition. depending on the industry. discover as much as possib le about your target customer. the status of the market and possibilities for fut ure expansion. If you re targeting a business market. income. and you have the s eeds for a winning branding strategy. Your promise should be golden If your company s products and service don t live up to their brand promise. but welcome Don t reuse something a competitor has already promised even if it works for your product or service. e ngaging and presented in a context relevant to the customer. a brand proposition is ready to be established. Make it your mission to get as detailed information as possible on th eir age. your deliverable. Your promise should be unexpected. It s stated right in the company s tagline: T he Ultimate Driving Machine. Consistency is the key here. its history. values should never change even though the landscape in which the company operates and even its products may. For a c ar. Whatever it is.

president of Brand Identity Guru Inc. Su ch positive emotional associations are built over time through good branding pra ctice and a time-tested relationship between you and your customer based on intr igue. It can create want and desire by the mere mention of your brand.com.. our search engine optimization and PPC advertising programs offer better value than you ll find with anyone else. people expect you to be good. To create a brand promise that creates such emotional connections. 5. Besides. ). branding. 2. White at 617. Grounded in the brand s core values Clearly relevant and engaging to your target market Able to create some sort of positive emotional attachment beyond just being go Repeated internally and externally within your organization Adaptable to the business climate Continually reinforced Consistent across advertising and marketing mediums Known and echoed by business partners Scott White. wallets later Creating a positive emotional association in your market for your product or ser vice is key. Otherwise. For instance. We have one of North America's best searc h engine optimization experts on staff. Hearts and minds first. it should be: 1. If you re interested in having one. If you're looking for Web site development that will build brand awareness on th e Web. Bring us your Web site. 3.2305 or via email at swhite@brandidentityguru. Cherry Garcia). Needless to say. understanding and support. 7. is a highly sought-after bra nding consultant and speaker. He has conducted hundreds of proprietary Pump Up Yo ur Brand workshops to companies of every size from large multi-national public co mpanies to one and two-person shops. trust. Follow these links to learn more about brand strategy. pr oduct or service name. 8. that s powerful. the mere me ntion of Ben & Jerry s conjures up images of numerous unique premium ice cream fla vors and with the anticipation for your favorite (in my case. 6.y against your competitors (such as saying you re the best pizza in town. contact M r. they wouldn t give you their business. .504. Be speci fic because specific is exponentially more memorable. along with bran d design. and we ll create a brand presence on the Internet you've only dreamed of. od 4.

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