Brand Smart

In my last blog entry, I wrote about the value of understanding your brand and making sure what it means to you is also what it means to those important to you.

What can you expect if you go through the branding process? You will learn a few definitions, of brand, brand awareness / identity / position / management and, value proposition. Just think, you can skip Reader’s Digest “Word Power” that month and delight friends and co-workers with your newly expanded vocabulary.

There’s a bit of a research phase, which clever people usually foist off on the consultants, that involves several steps of an internal assessment, a competitive analysis and assessment by third parties. The next step, brand building, does require a bit of your attention as it gets into positioning statements, key differentiators, value proposition, and brand essence. The conversations get quite colorful as you discuss how, or if, the positioning ties to the corporate directions and, more tellingly, if your internal teams are committed.

Everybody likes validation and your brand is no exception. Once you have an idea of the positioning get out of your head, jump out of your ivory tower, take whatever exit is handiest and test it out there among the objective. Are you just kidding yourself or does it really resonate with your key market segments?

At the end, with your rock solid brand in hand, you have a road map to guide you through creating and implementing the marketing communication plan. Now, your public relations, advertising, direct programs, website, internal communications, social media, and the rest are deeply rooted. You’re done, almost. You still have to manage your brand; tend to it like you would the golden goose. In so doing, you make sure your brand, the promise that exists in the mind of the consumer, is moot.