Bottom line—What do you hope to achieve through marketing? Are you looking for a quick profit boost by the end of the quarter? If so, then go ahead and pour money into another short-term, quick-fix ad campaign. You know the campaign: “We sell the best ‘XYZ’ for less!” Just remember, you’ll be doing the same thing next quarter, and the one after that, because short-term, fast-tracked marketing tactics are just temporary fixes that devour budgets without any long-term return.
In the words of a gimmicky infomercial guy: “There’s got to be a better way!” What if marketing was less about short-term jumps in revenue and more about communicating what makes your Brand truly unique—your Claim of Distinction? While one-off campaigns may do little for Brand value, a consistent Brand experience serves to build this value. Customers will happily recommend your product or service to their business associates or friends and family because you’ve established and built trust with them.
“Short-term, fast-tracked marketing tactics are just temporary fixes that devour budgets without any long-term return.”
That trust can’t be earned during a 30-second radio spot—it must be built over time by demonstrating and communicating a clear message about who you are and what makes you different. To keep that message consistent, every Brand communication should go through the same test—something we call the Brand Lens.
The Brand Lens
A Brand Lens helps to provide parameters everyplace the Brand touches a stakeholder, internally or externally. We call these places where your Brand is touching stakeholders, Brand touchpoints. Our goal is to ensure that they focus and magnify the Brand’s Claim of Distinction and help to make your systems, processes and your people deliver on the Brand. Any communication or employee that doesn’t quite fit – in other words, any touchpoint that looks “blurry” when viewed through the Brand Lens, must be reevaluated. The Brand Lens is effective because it achieves several Brand-building tasks at once:
Using the Brand Lens builds capital over time: There’s nothing distinctive about a vague “excellence in customer service” message. Many of your competitors could claim the same thing. There is something distinctive about your Brand, though—a Claim of Distinction backed by Evidence of Performance. It’s something only you can provide. As you identify what that is and communicate it consistently over time, consumers will identify and recognize the unique value of doing business with you. They will come to you because they believe in your Brand and have seen how your employees live and deliver your Brand at every touchpoint.
It unifies your team with a common vision: Consumers won’t accept even the most clever marketing if your Brand doesn’t deliver at every touchpoint. Remember, many touchpoints occur as interactions with your employees. When you recruit, hire and review employees through your Brand Lens, you build and maintain a culture that supports your Brand.
It enables your Brand to compete on value, not price: By communicating through your Brand Lens, you place the focus on the value of your Brand rather than on price, proximity to consumers, or anything else you can’t easily control. Unlike other variables, Brands stand the test of time. If properly reinforced, Brand value continues to build despite what the economy, your competitors, or any other external factor might do.
When you believe and invest in Brand Development, the success or failure of your Brand depends on your ability to consistently pass everything– from communications to staff hiring–through your Brand Lens. Don’t let your investment go to waste; put this crucial step of the Brand Development process into practice and watch your Brand value continue to grow.
President and CEO of Hult Marketing and Certified Brand Strategist. From Integrated Marketing to ROI-focused Inbound Marketing Programs, Jim Flynn leaves no stone unturned in his exploration of modern marketing. His greatest passion and primary focus is Brand Development.
Whether your technology company is a startup or a global powerhouse, your brand will grow if you can consistently communicate the story behind it. One of the most difficult concepts for technology innovators to move beyond is the notion that their science, engineering or technology is their brand. It’s not. Engineers often have an especially hard time coming to terms with this fact. So I’ll spell it out.
“Great technology brands arise from the dreams their technology inspires.”
The only way your technology will ever inspire such dreams is for someone—you or perhaps a Certified Brand Strategist—to develop your story. This story is the essence of your brand, and it takes skill and experience to put into words what your technology does, how it’s different, and why it’s better. We once worked with the head of a technology group for a global manufacturing company to put together a presentation for her CEO and his executive team.
We began by meeting with the team of lead engineers to discuss their needs. They referred to the upcoming event as a walk-through. “Our executive team will fly in, and we’ll present the key tech initiatives we’re working on. They’ll be in and out in four hours and we need to make a big impression.” They were planning four hours of densely packed slides in their conference room , but we worked with them to deliver a dynamic walk-about—tightly scripted and choreographed to showcase their engineering teams—as each explained and demonstrated their individual technologies. We helped them focus on and clarify the future impact of their work, rather than getting bogged down with technical details.
During the final demonstration, one of the executives leaned over to another and whispered, “I’ve heard all this before, but this time I actually understand it!”
That is a highly desirable outcome in so many ways …
As technology brand strategists certified by The Brand Establishment, this is just one of many brand challenges we have faced during twenty years of working with technology companies.
Here’s a proven method for crafting your story:
1. Articulate your technology so non-technical people can understand what it does, how it’s different, and why they should care.
2. Demonstrate your technology using a planned, choreographed script that proves to potential customers that what you’ve already told them, is in fact accurate and true.
3. Replicate your demonstration for different scenarios, applications, and different industries for which your technology is applicable.
4. Scale your demonstration to showcase the benefits of one instance of your technology—then compare it to the benefits of a million instances!
Remember, the story behind your technology comes from you and your people. It will take patience, hard work and some trial and error, but learning to tell your story and show it in action is the essence of your brand.
Larret Wright, Technology Brand Strategist, Roundtable
Larret Wright is a Certified Brand Strategist and an early adopter with an affinity for all things tech. When he’s not helping clients increase the value of their brands, you might find him at the iMax telling the manager how to tweak the audio or he might be on the golf course trying to find his one true swing.
It’s been a strange election year, to say the least. The conventions are looming, and between July and November I expect that we’ll consume more political advertising, punditry and news than is healthy for any person.
But for two weeks in August, we can turn down the noise of the election and immerse ourselves in the Olympics. We can all cheer for the same Team USA, and enjoy some well-produced, heart-string-tugging ads in between the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Back in March, NBC announced that they had already exceeded $1 billion in ad sales for the Rio 2016 games, and anticipated record ad revenue for the games thanks to the prime-time TV-friendly time zone in Rio. World and Team USA sponsors include well-known consumer brands such as Proctor & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Nissan and Visa, but thanks to a change in the IOC advertising rules, it’s easier for non-sponsor brands to get in on the action. That means brands like Under Armour, which sponsors 250 Olympic athletes but is not an official sponsor of the games, can now buy valuable ad time during those two weeks.
Here’s a preview of what we might see from these brands in August:
Under Armour – Rule Yourself
Chobani – #NoBadStuff
America’s Milk Companies – Built with Chocolate Milk
Proctor & Gamble: – Thank you, Moms
P&G’s “Thank you, Moms” campaign has been the standout of the last two Olympics games, and it looks like they’ll be hard to beat this time around, too. We’ll be watching.
Go Team USA!
Michelle Taglialatela is Tag’s brand strategist, one of 35 nationally who is certified by The Brand Establishment.
Michelle applies Tag’s proprietary process to create one-of-a-kind brand strategies that transform cultures and improve the bottom line. Tag has brand depth rivaled by few; and has been working with clients for more than a decade helping them exceed their objectives and stand out!