20 Steps to a Powerhouse Brand – Part 3 Of 4

March 20, 2017

Footprints in snow.jpgWelcome to Part 3 of a four-part, step-by-step tutorial on how to build your brand from the ground up. This is offered as a general roadmap for small businesses, solopreneurs and all those with a DIY mindset. We’re laying out all the steps you need to take but, while it might be readily apparent how to accomplish some of them, some may be difficult to complete. That’s because every brand, every business is unique. So we can only suggest general guidelines. It will be up to you to assess your own business situation and customize each step to your own needs. If you’re just discovering this process, please START at the beginning. Going out of sequence will only make the path more difficult. If you’ve stayed with us for Parts 1 and 2 of this series, congratulations! You have only one more step to complete and you’ll have established your brand strategy. At that point, you should have clarity about your marketing path and can begin setting up your communications plan.

STEP TEN From a branding point of view, the positioning statement is the most important document of all. It describes how you want to be perceived by your market. More than that, it describes how you want your market to feel about you. It outlines the kind of relationship you want your market to have with you – not with your products, your services, or your advertising – but with you (or your company). Working with the knowledge base you’ve gained from your research, write a positioning statement that is honest and truthful and will resonate with all your constituencies. It bears repeating: the positioning statement should ring true, and mean something, to all of your constituencies, not just your customers. The statement should include your brand promise – that one promise you can make, based on your true competitive advantage, that none of your competitors can match (your Capo d’Astro bar). Again, it will take you a few drafts to get this right. Once you’re comfortable with your positioning statement and all the other planks in your brand platform, you have a working brand strategy. Now it’s time to put it into action.

STEP ELEVEN Review your brand’s name in light of your newly adopted brand strategy. Does it still make sense? Will your market still accept it? Will it need to be modified or revised in order to to drive the brand strategy forward? Will it have to be replaced altogether? Names can be emotional anchors that weigh down brands unnecessarily. Any name that does not support the brand strategy should be corrected or replaced unless there is so much brand equity in the name that changing it would cause unbearable disruption. Always consult a trademark attorney before falling in love with a name. There are different kinds of names and, for some of them, it will be almost impossible to register the trademark.

STEP TWELVE Develop your key messaging. Key messaging should be extrapolations of your positioning statement. If, at any time, some media outlet wants to include a little bit about your brand in a story, you should have the copy ready to go. You’ll want variations in 250 words, 100 words and 50 words. You’ll also want to write boilerplate for a press release. Again, this should be extrapolated from your positioning statement. You’ll want an elevator introduction. These are best told through short stories that illustrate what you do and how you add value but, once it sparks a conversation (and it should), you need to pivot immediately back to your positioning statement. Finally, use your positioning statement to help you create a tagline if you need to use one to nudge a difficult name into better support of the brand strategy. While you’re developing your key messaging, you should also be developing your brand’s tone or “voice”. You should be finding the voice with which all your future communication should be written.

STEP THIRTEEN Just like your brand name should support the brand strategy, so should your logo and visual identity. Review your logo to ensure it still makes sense in light of your newly adopted brand strategy. If it does not provide strong support for it, change it. It’s amazing how many business owners fall in love with bad logos that are working against them. Don’t make that mistake. Even when they are on-brand, clunky, dated logos should be “refreshed” or replaced altogether.

STEP FOURTEEN There’s more to corporate identity than just a logo. Most brands will need a complete visual identity system that includes a family of fonts and a color palette. But these systems also, often, include associated icons, patterns, borders and other graphic elements. Any packaging, signage, store interiors and other built environments, websites, apps, collateral and other items should be designed as part of an overall, integrated visual identity system. Depending on the nature of your brand asset, you may also want to incorporate sound signatures (think of NBC’s three-note chime or the MGM lion’s roar) or even aroma as part of your complete corporate identity system.

STEP FIFTEEN If you haven’t already determined what your annual marketing budget is going to be, now is the time to do so. Unless you have a better system, use the Three-Line Approach. The budget you set will determine what mix of media channels you can realistically exploit to maximize ROI on the spend.

You’re heading into the home stretch now. The next installment will complete your journey. Be sure you don’t miss it. Subscribe to Brandtalk here.

Best Branding Reads – Week of March 20, 2017

Fashion brands — including several L.A. retailers — are dying off as consumer habits change
A good brand strategy should last 15-20 years … or 10-15 if you’re in fashion. 

Nation Branding: Swiss on a Roll in 2017 Best Countries Ranking
Oh those Swiss with their positive business climate, universal healthcare, high quality of life, etc., etc.

Marketing is not what it used to be, says Nestle's Arvind Bhandari
Counterintuitive views on branding and marketing from the Sr. VP, Nestlé South Asia

3 Ways To Establish A Meaningful Brand
Brands exist and grow in the space between you and your consumer.

New Name and Logo for Digix
From Brazil: A great example of how simplifying a name and visual identity creates a stronger, more memorable brand identity.

New Logo and Identity for Brighthouse Financial by Red Peak
Great new name.Very clean logo with a well-executed (and interesting) gradient. Excellent applications.

Branding By Halves: 5 Questions With Yamaha’s Julian Ward
Conundrum: How does Yamaha break every rule of branding, with its illogical product mix, and still succeed?

Download Branding In Five Movements white paper.

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Best Branding Reads
Week of June 26, 2017

57% of Consumers Will Boycott a Brand That Doesn’t Share Their Social Beliefs
And that percentage seems to be rising rapidly.

Pride 2017: Raden’s LA Pop-Up Embodies the Brand’s Commitment
Raden is putting its brand values on full view.

Society Wants More From Brands
Excellent, short article on how to stay authentic as brands strive to become “purpose-led”. Don’t be Pepsi. Don’t be Audi.

Simplicity: The key to great customer experience
Simplicity is not a silver bullet but it is important and hard to achieve in this complicated world.

New Logo for Syfy
This new logo for Syfy is just edgy enough to feel uncomfortable. And that’s a good thing.

The Year’s 15 Best Commercials, as Picked by the Cannes Lions Film Jury
This is how it should be done. Every ad here is worth watching if you have the time.

Renew Your Brand Strategy: Customer Experience Advice From Leading Brands
Here are some strong, useful branding insights that you can integrate into your business right away.