WHAT IS A BRAND?
Originally a brand was an identifying mark burned on livestock or (especially in former times) criminals or slaves with a branding iron. A band has now become the characteristic’s that set a company apart from the pack. A band is the character and personality of an enterprise. It is more about who we are as opposed to what we do. The feeling someone has as they experience the culture and personality of the company.
Starting out as the name branded on an animal, product, or service, the band-name, the concept has broadened over time to include the brand image and brand culture.
Simply defined, a band is what your customer thinks of when he or she hears the brand name. It is everything the public thinks it knows about a business, both factual and emotional. A band is the intangible sum of the customers perception concerning the qualities and attributes of a product or service, and the entire culture of the organization. The brand exists in someones mind, the space owned by your idea or proposition.
What comes to mind when you hear the brand name, Apple? Cool, design that is easy to operate, visually pleasing, cutting edge, intelligent, and the list goes on to describe how you feel about the products and personality of Apple.
A brand strategy is how, what, where, when and to whom you plan to communicate your key brand ideas. How you appear in public, where you advertise, your business model, distribution channels and the design of your physical presence, are all included as a part of your brand strategy. Consistent, strategic branding leads to a strong brand equity, which means the added value brought to your company's products or services that allows you to charge more for your brand than what identical, unbranded products command.
The added value intrinsic to brand equity frequently comes in the form of perceived quality or emotional attachment. For example, Nike associates its products with star athletes, hoping customers will transfer their emotional attachment from the athlete to the product. For Nike, it's not just the shoe's features that sell the shoe.
Defining your brand is like a journey of business self-discovery. It can be difficult, time-consuming and uncomfortable. It requires, at the very least, that you answer the questions below:
What is your company's mission?
What are the benefits and features of your products or services?
What do your customers and prospects already think of your company?
What qualities do you want them to associate with your company?
RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH
Do your research. Learn the needs, habits and desires of your current and prospective customers. And don't rely on what you think they think. Know what they think. Market research can give you insight into your market, your competitors, your products, your marketing and your customers. Here are 20 questions market research can help you answer:
What are you REALLY selling?
WHO is currently buying your product or service?
What are these PEOPLE'S LIVES actually like?
Why are other people NOT buying it?
WHO would be interested in buying it in the future?
HOW MANY people like this are there?
What general TRENDS are affecting these people's lives at the moment?
WHERE would people buy your product or service from?
WHEN, WHERE and HOW would they use or consume it?
WHY would they buy it? What need are they wanting to satisfy?
Who is your real COMPETITION?
What IMAGE do people have of your brand vs your competitors'?
What would be the ideal IMAGE for your brand to have?
What do they think about the DIFFERENT ASPECTS of your product or service (name, packaging, features, advertising, pricing...)?
What IMPROVEMENTS could be made to your product or service to meet people's needs even better?
What is the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT BENEFIT your brand should be seen to be offering - and why would people believe this to be true?
How can you best COMMUNICATE that benefit to the people you're interested in attracting?
What is the right PRICE to charge?
What other NEW products or services could your brand offer people?
So what is your VISION for your brand?
And what would be the best ROADMAP for getting there?
The secret of good communication is to tailor your approach to the individual. Your customers are all unique personalities and perceive your messages in different ways. Write out the messages that you want to communicate to your customers and then taylor them to reach the different personalities or temperament-types.
Most importantly of all, remember to listen. If you are a big talker, you may have to curb your natural tendency to interrupt or dominate the conversation. To develop a dialogue with your customer, ask open-ended questions and listen to the answers.
PROJECT SCENARIO 1
You believe you have what it takes to be a great professional soccer player, but know that you need to make enough money during summer to free yourself up to practice and play soccer full-time during winter.
You have an opportunity to purchase cheap soccer balls, which you have decided you will sell in order to free yourself up for the soccer season.
How are you going to do it?
BUT you only have one hour.
PROJECT SCENARIO 2
You did so well at selling soccer balls, that you decided to go into business selling soccer balls online. You thought there may be an opportunity to sell them online to a larger market than your small community, so immediately started work on your Marketing Plan to sell soccer balls globally.
GLOBAL TRIBE MARKETING PLAN
Who will help me?
How do I develop my people-skills?
When do I need employees?
Where do I find a good workers?