Your brand is the sum total of a client or prospect’s holistic impression of your company or initiative. Creating a crisp brand requires putting together communications that evoke the right blend of cognitive/emotional resonances which cause you to be memorable and differentiated from others in your space.
Often, brands can end up unfocused and lack the ability to slice through the noise because they have not been properly crafted and then cared for afterward. It’s key that your communications follow certain principles – the first being clear positioning: Where do you fit into the universe of related entities? What primary characteristics should you be remembered for? Positioning is about establishing your location in the market space. Are you the fastest? Most configurable? Most durable?
Your brand must also artfully embody the various elements that frame out your spot in the grand scheme of things. Messaging must be focused and meaningful for your audience segments. Presentation must be appropriate and aesthetically strong. Technical execution must be tight, well-suited and robust.
Too often, organizations run into problems in putting their best foot forward, because they have not pulled their brand into sharp focus. This happens for a variety of reasons, but these three are very common:
This is pretty straightforward. Sometimes it happens because the venture is in start-up mode. Sometimes, it’s just cultural – “marketing has always been done internally.” However you find yourself in this situation, the secret is that you need someone who is well-versed in crafting communications by interleaving the visual, linguistic, and contextual elements together employing the utmost craftsmanship and working according to a proper strategy.
This scenario is what happens when the key differentiators you choose to locate yourself in the universe of alternatives are unclear, poorly matched to your audience, or otherwise not making your message resonate. One of the most common positioning mistakes is to have your brand come off as a commodity. If prospects perceive what you bring to the table as being generic and pretty much the same as the other guy, then in their mind, you are easily replaced, and their decision defaults to a matter of nothing but price (and maybe delivery time). It is essential that your offerings provide value that breaks you out of the commodity space, and that you clearly articulate that value in your brand messaging.
This is what’s called the “graduate” stage. You’ve been doing business for a while, and your existing clients love you, but the way you represent yourself is just not in sync with the caliber of work you do, or the way your focus has adapted over time. It’s time to step up and communicate to new prospects that you are a serious player, and not a wannabe.
In the final situation, your current communications portray a focus on how you are structured and how you do things internally. They need to speak to your audience in ways that relate to their world, their needs, their questions. The strength of your connection is tied directly to how well they feel you understand them and put your offerings forth in ways that address their needs.
Is it time to reformulate your communications? Get in touch. We’re here to help you sharpen your brand.