Very cool that you are focusing on branding/positioning early in the game. Because what your market perceives your company and your products as is going to function as a means to increase your conversions, increase your profitability and increase your demand.
You need to define it and be very specific.
What is your company's super power? What does it do better than anyone else?
Then define what your company stands for and just as importantly what does your company stand against.
A good exercise for this is to make believe your the CEO and your company has just won a Top Career Guidance industry award and you a waiting to accept the award.
What would the Master of Ceremony say to introduce you? Fill in the blanks
[Your Company] is known as the fastest growing Career Guidance company providing [insert your magic power] in the [insert niche you serve] marketplace.
[insert company name] is famous for [insert how your magic power is used to achieve what you stand for] without [insert what you stand against].
Once you are happy with how you fill in the blanks of this exercise you have just defined how you want your company to be perceived in the market place.
Now you want to make sure you frame ALL your advertising and promotional materials around that global desired perception.
Then you want to use marketing to control the market's opinions and feelings about you before they even have a chance to read your sales message or communicate directly with you in any way. This is called pre-framing.
Your pre-framing marketing can be delivered through Blog posts, interviews, articles about your company, articles written by your staff , syndicated content, social media, PPC ads etc.
All of this is without any pitching. They are just getting to see your company and the message you want to share about what you do, what you stand for and what you stand against. And you give them a way to contact you if they want to find out more about your or how they might become a client.
Next is Indoctrination where you build up desire and trust through educating them more about what you do and what you stand for while providing value at the same time. This can be done through whitepapers, videos, webinars, short educational min-courses delivered via an autoresponder sequence etc.
The purpose if the indoctrination process is to get them to really know, like and trust you so they want your stuff.
If you master having a solid identitiy/position/brand that identifies your magic power, what you stand for and what you stand against (global desired perception), pre-frame your market with advertising congruent with the global desired perception, and then indoctrinate your new prospects by educating them more about you and your products while providing value and goodwill, your branding efforts will make converting those prospects into paying customers a much easier task than those faced by companies that don't.
Hopefully I have answered your question and provided some value to you today.
All the best and take care,
It starts with the Vision -
7 Steps to Creating a Company a Brand
1. - Your reason Why? - most people start with the What, what product to sell or the how, how will I sell. Your reason WHY, will get you through things when the going gets really really tough.
Everyone needs to understand what's in it for me? Ask yourself the question - What's in it for you - whats your driving force to have a successful business.
I will tell you mine --- I had a major health crisis 5 years ago, a mental and physical breakdown due to stress, it has taken me 5 years to get well, plus the full belief I can have a successful business, plus lifestyle, plus loving harmonious relationships, personal and professional.
In that time, I have co-authored a book, about this health crisis, only too find it was Step 1 of my mission. Deep inside me I discovered, I am connected too my own inner child, and what does Kathryn have that is so unique and special too the world. Its a deep passion to help and assist others too increase, their sales, profit so they can have the adventure they so desire, plus be authentic too themselves.
This is what Exercise Your Muscle is all about - being authentic and adventurous. How many revisions, of my logo, business plan, has this taken..... Heaps............. Are you brave enough too find exactly what your mission, your purpose is all about, then translate this into a logo, review it, refine it.
Step 2 -- Your Purpose, put this into a statement, Next find your tag lines that align with your logo. These are simple statements that when someone asks what you stand for - you can say.
Eg - I stand for integrity, adventure, love, passion, results, follow-through.
Step 3 - Your lifestyle you want to achieve. Life is not all about the money. How many CEO's manager's do you see who have everything physical, that money can buy, yet are empty.
Take a morning and meditate, think bigger and dream.
What does your ideal life look like? --- I envision myself travelling the world, having adventures with the people I meet, while receiving a certain amount of cashflow for my efforts, plus giving massive value and building the relationships I so desire.
My vehicle -- A laptop business by the beach, automatic ebay store, Skype sales coaching.
Step 4 --- Now the How? Have you ever done NLP? There is certain meditations when you have the clear goal in the CREATE equation. This means figure out a goal that is concise, realistic, emotional, achievable, timed and you can see the end goal.
Then write this goal in the form of
IT is NOW............(the date you want to see it in your time line) and I have (the end goal)
Then complete a visualization called strategic visionary, by Christopher Howard. This process makes the goals suddenly happen in your unconscious mind, so that in real life, you are suddenly taking those small steps towards the goal without too much effort.
When you reflect say 3 months later you realize you now have that goal achieved in your life.
Sometimes the HOW - takes place how it is meant too, not HOW YOU think its meant too.
Step 5 --- What are you selling? What the customer's journey and experience. Apple and Disney are know for the experience of the customer, not want they sell. Apple happens to just sell computers. Disney just happens to be a playground of toys and rides.
Whats the market your selling too? Whats your customer service like? Does everything follow through and align with your ethics, mission and purpose. This builds trust and repeat business.
Step 6 - Systems and Your Team - How do you build your team? Are you a leader, what sort of leader are you. Have you delegated correctly? Have you outsourced correctly. Are you still doing what you want too do each day? There are certain actions and jobs which are best done by people that love doing that task. Its about going with the energy flow, being authentic with yourself, yet respecting and appreciating the other person's authentic spirit and energy as well. So give them jobs they love too do.
Step 7 - Having a sense of fun, adventure, joy, giving, happiness. Being able to connect with all the emotions of life. Life is too have fun after all. My mission --- To live a Non-regretful life.....
Hope this helps, this has been my journey in discovery of creating my own brand.
And by all means have fun.
Hey Vamsi, that is a challenging one.
Firstly, can you think of services that your firm offers, that your competitors don't, and to which your clients respond positively? That's where you'll start with branding.
My favorite examples of corporate brands are Apple, Nike and Rolls Royce.
Apple isn't about computers, mobile handsets or music players. It's about an experience.
Nike isn't about sportswear and accessories. Read their Mission to know what Nike believes in, and probably one of the reasons that makes it probably the most recognized 'brand in the world [http://nikeinc.com/pages/about-nike-inc].
Rolls Royce isn't about ridiculously expensive cars. They're about an enduring icon of innovation and luxury that have kept pace with time. The '03 Rolls Royce Phantom had 44,000 paint color options. You won't imagine the choices their present day customers get with regard to the tiniest of components in the car.
So start with that your company's firm beliefs, values and purpose(s) is. And what differentiates it and why. From there on, you'll need to, in a systematic manner, convey that purpose, and those beliefs and values to each and every division and business of your company. That's when you'll begin creating a brand.
Let me know if you'd like my firm, A-Team Business Consulting [http://ateamstrategy.in/] to assist your firm in the process of building it into a brand.
The heart and soul of branding is DIFFERENTIATION. You can have great service, great products, great everything -- but if you don't differentiate your company/products from the competition in a clear, compelling and memorable way you will never establish a brand.
Most marketers don't understand this. Which in a nutshell is why most marketing efforts fail.
First and foremost, your company's product or service is a starting place to DEFINE your brand. Secondarily, IDENTIFYING your target audience is key to branding (know who you're positioning your message to).
Taking a page from successful brands/branding-take a look at what Starbucks, Amazon, iTunes, etc are all KNOWN for...customer service, pricing, product...all GOODNESS...
Branding does not happen overnight-it is a PROCESS, and best happens ORGANICALLY. Give your customers/clients a reason to say good things about you (or feel good about you), and that will contribute to your REPUTATION. At the end of the day- your consumer reputation is what leads to either good or bad branding.
Always be ON BRAND-stand for something, and stick to it...be consistent, and be transparent to your clients/customers. They must always know what they're getting, and be assured that the quality of your product or service will ALWAYS be a positive good one.
Hope this helps you create the road map towards the road to your success..
I am currently reading Simon Sinek's book "Start with Why" and am facinated by it. If you need the cliff notes just check out his TED talk. (https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action)
But his emphasis is on starting with why you do what you are doing and then get into the what and the how.
This is the approach we take in all of our projects and when you are able to do it, it is a very powerful tool.
Good book. Great read and good advice.
Brand is not a product but it gives meaning to the product. What is you? company known for service or product and need you distinguish your product and service from others, in terms of quality, price or anything which you think other do not offer. It will be brand if able to do that.
Be consistent. Your brand becomes visible by being shared, read and seen on social media, as well as on traditional media. From logos to slogans to photos to tweets, posts and advertising, your message must be consistent. Here is a good article that may help you understand branding a little more. http://www.graphicdesignbyvictoria.com/#!How-To-Marketing-Tips-for-Start-Up-Businesses/cjy3/C2D4E73B-DEFE-48DB-9767-2023FBD0A538
Our Shipping Companies is all about service not shipping, also our retail is another focus that brings in clients!!!
Hi Vamsi - first and foremost what is your differentiator? Once you have that, then marketing is about effectively communicating that differentiation to your target market.
You need to understand your market, the customers/persona's within your market. Follow your company vision and all the value propositions you stand for. A brand can be a perception within the company. Ultimately your customers will define your brand.
These are all good answers and great branding is all around you. The most important part of branding is making sure it is believable. Good Luck
The difference between a "company" and a "brand" is a mindset. It's a bit of an attitude. Your target audience will ALWAYS see you and perceive you as a "brand." Therefore you first need to adopt that same thinking internally within your organization. From there, the "road map" is more logistical.
Every single action or tactic plus strategy is building your brand. I do presentations for college students, high school students and middle school students. I tell them their in room activities and questions plus every team or group activity they are building their brand. Don't show up. Don't contribute . Neglect your part is building your negative brand. Accomplisihing work with others/contibuting your part is building a positive brand for YOU. I base this on Marketing objectives, strategies and tactics plus the the 9P's of Marketing which can be found at http://nineps.com.
These are all great answers, and one thing to add to the pile is this: brand building is about so much more than just the marketing- its about making sure your product could sell itself if it needed to. So it's a real one-two scenario. First, you build a product that your consumer will believe in and can trust, then you start building your reputation and brand around that. So many companies fail because they start on shaky knees with an inferior product and try to build their brand around that. I deal with clients on a daily basis that cannot for the life of them explain their products and services to me. If you can't do that, then you're off to a bad start. The most successful brands in the world were built from people who lived and breathed the ideas they came up with.
When you're to the point that your product is top-notch (and you may be here already- I'm not familiar with your work), then you decide how you want it to be portrayed, who your market is, where your market is, in what media format your advertising dollars should be spent, etc.
I hope this helps!
1. Choose a distinctive trademark and decide what your company should mean to your customers.
2. Remember that your trademark is emblematic of your goodwill
3. Use your trademark frequently and consistently
4. Earn the goodwill of your customers.
5. Protect your trademarks in those markets in which you sell your goods and those markets in which you intend to sell your goods where trademark rights are placed in the hands of the first to use those marks.
6. Keep on meeting the needs of your customers.
Good fortune and much success! The distinctiveness of your trademark cannot be understated. A distinctive mark is much less expensive to police than a descriptive trademark.
I d be happy to introduce you to the Brand Genome Process™.
Patience is key. Think of an iconic brand like say Coke. How long have they been around? I don't really know the answer, I just know they have been around ever since I can remember. Establish a consistent, quality, reputation in your particular segment of business. People recognize and recommend brands that they have had a good experience with. Make it a core part of your company's values to do what you say you are going to do, and just do it. And as I always tell people then you will be like "Nike".
How do you define "brand"? Marketing experts will generally answer along the lines of "a brand is your company image". But a brand is more than just your company image. It also includes your customers' experience and the expectation you set when doing business with your company. In short, it is promise.
Let me give you an example to illustrate this point. The other day I was in one of my favorite restaurants, and as we sat down I asked the server about any specials that evening. As he handed me my menu he told me he did not know of any specials that evening. I went ahead and placed our order for food and drinks and enjoyed the meal. When we went to pay the manager told me that because we had spent enough money, we were eligible for a free gift. (We qualified by only 50 cents!) Needless to say I was both excited and frustrated, because if we didn't buy the one appetizer or one more drink, we would not have qualified for this free gift. By not developing a culture within the restaurant that stresses the importance of the server knowing about specials, this company did not live up to its brand promise. Building a brand is not just about advertising, it's also about training your staff, and many other variables that you need to pay attention to as a manager or an entrepreneur.
I agree with Robert C - Starting with Why is outstanding advice and the model we have used for over 20 years of branding. Simon Sinek's book and TED talk is an excellent explanation of the model, although it's quite amusing that he claims to have come up with it on his own. I learned it from mentors that have used it since long before Simon was born. :)