Archive for November, 2010

Your Small Business Brand – What a Personality! (Part III)

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Brand Strategy Planning Program

Initially, fully review and examine who you are, what company you need to be, and what you’re up against to get there. You may not completely fix all ills with this initial exercise, but it’ll make your vision more clear and your pathway less cluttered.

Each company is unique and has their own very specific requirements and set of business values, but here are some suggested core planning program strategies.

  • Champion It – First and foremost, select a branding champion who believes in the strong brand concept, and who will support its continuous development, implementation and maintenance.
  • Reinforce It – Pinpoint the stakeholders of your business and determine how they should reflect and reinforce your brand.  Make certain they all carry and deliver a consistent brand message from you.
  • Engage It – For your branding efforts to be fully strategic, engage the main points made in your mission and vision statements. Plain and simple.
  • Profile It – Determine the profile of your best customers and focus on brand building here. Your initial strategy will be more effective and you’ll save time and money.Other profiles can come later.
  • Survey It – Research and survey your customers and those stakeholders to fully understand how you’re perceived. If the perception has gone awry, plan a fix.
  • Examine It – Research and examine your industry’s marketplace… taking complete advantage of those opportunities and controlling the threats.
  • Move It – Determine your positioning in your industry and absolutely plan for logical next steps along the pathway. Even small steps are okay, but just don’t remain motionless.
  • Live It – Teach your stakeholders how you want to be perceived. If you want your brand image to invoke a feeling of the best in hi-tech sales and service, for instance, your staff needs to reflect it.
  • Build It – Your business is unique and something about it appeals to your customers. Find out exactly what that is, illuminate it, and that’s what you build your brand or image (and slogan) around. Also, focus on what your competitor can’t do.
  • Market It – Obviously, a persistent multi-touch marketing plan that gets your image and brand in front of your intended audience is a must. You can do this inexpensively across different channels and formats. Strongly consider email marketing campaigns, webinars, sponsorships, article writing, community marketing, and social marketing (blogs, etc.) in the mix.
  • Consistent – Branding is a long term effort, and everything from your great logo, to employee uniforms, packaging, customer service, and your website, etc. all play an integrated roll in the recognizable, visual aspect of your brand. Obviously, persistency and consistency throughout and over time are crucial. Keep top of mind awareness at work and you’ll reap the rewards.

The aforementioned list is a quick overview of core planning program strategies; in response to the current economic climate, please consider creating or redefining your brand strategies today.

The Sum of it

There are numerous core steps to building a strong brand for your small business, and this article only scratches the surface. However, I’m hoping to raise your own brand consciousness and help jumpstart your brand strategy planning program.

Remember… your business isn’t going to brand itself, but with the right blueprint to communicate your brand or image, you can move to the next level of effectiveness in the marketplace.

Your customers and prospects have too many choices and little time, so a strong brand and great business personality is invaluable as the battle for customers intensifies daily.

And who doesn’t like a great personality.