Branding, Part Two

Jobs in marketing invariably come down to building a message platform, a foundation for everything else--from web copy, to brochure copy, to elevator pitches. Once you've boiled down a variety of facets and features to a short statement or two, inevitably you'll have to stand back and ask, so what? What's in it for the target audience? You need to spell it out, how hard-earned money spent with your company makes them prettier, healthier, sexier, more comfortable, more productive, or saves them time or money. Why should they care?

Your message needs to explain why your customers shouldn't go to the competition, and competitors come in several categories. A good brand strategy addresses each category in some veiled way. If you're a website programmer, your competitor might be your target consumer himself, a do-it-yourself kind of guy with a manual and some software. An indirect competitor for a jewelry store might be a florist or a chocolate shop, and you could reference that obliquely in your message by saying a gift of jewelry lasts forever.

To the extent possible, you want your brand communication strategy to be different for existing clients versus new prospects or cold calls. You don't want to give a free trial offer to a long-time customer and you don't want to act like you don't know an old friend. Many small businesses make the mistake of a one-size-fits-all direct mail campaign, when they should be creating two different direct mail pieces and mailing to two different lists, one of the pieces being introductory in nature and the other continuing an ongoing conversation.

People feel like there is so much "noise" in the marketplace because marketing campaigns are not targeted. If your target audience only got information that they were interested in and that is relevant to them, they wouldn't so readily disregard the information they receive.

Success in marketing jobs is measured against goals set as part of brand strategy brainstorming sessions at the outset. The ultimate measuring tool is, of course, sales, but those numbers don't tell you whether or not you're moving people through the purchase cycle, from awareness to education to consideration to purchase. You may measure some things quantitatively, such as increase in website visits, or take a less methodical approach, looking at qualitative and anecdotal information, such as customer comments or referral business.

Branding, Part One

Last Updated: 05/21/2014