Brand development is a process that, when properly executed, can produce results that drive both top and bottom line expectations inside the c-suite, AND better position your company in the minds of your customers.
However, conditions must be right (notice I didn’t say perfect) in order for your new brand building venture to be successful. Before you begin, you need to get real and ask yourself these five important questions.
1. Do you have total buy-in from everyone in the c-suite?
If the CEO, CMO, and CFO don’t believe in the branding process and the tangible financial outcomes, you’ll never get it off the ground. Brand development is something that needs to start from the top. It’s a culture change. Everyone in the company needs to know how important the process is, and only the CEO can make that crystal clear.
2. Do you know why your brand matters, or should matter in the eyes of the consumer?
You should know why you’re in business in the first place. Is it just to make a profit? Probably not. Behind every great brand is a story of why they are in business. Find yours. It’s worth its weight in gold.
3. Do you know what differentiates your brand from your competitors?
Many companies are in a price-driven commodity-type business. Why drive to Walmart when I can go to Target? Why go to Burger King when I can go to McDonald’s? Every brand has something that makes them different than the competition. (hint: don’t say “best service” or “lowest prices”) Your differentiation is your brand essence. Protect it and be true to it.
4. Can you prove it?
If you can prove those points of how and why you are different, you’ll be better positioned in the eyes of your customers. Perhaps you say you have the best selection of auto parts in the industry, yet customers consistently can’t get the parts they need from you, there’s a disconnect. If you make a claim of distinction around your brand, you better be able to follow through on it.
5. Can you continue to prove it?
Big deal, you proved it. Can you keep proving it? If you claim to have the best-trained group of plumbers in Atlanta, then you better keep training them, over and over. If not, your competition will overtake you before you know it and your claim of distinction will become antiquated – and your customers will notice. Make it a point to continue to prove your claim(s) of distinction and stay true to your brand essence.
So, did you pass? Are you ready to embark on the brand development process? Branding your business is a difficult job, but if you’ve asked the right questions, you’ll be well on your way to building a company that is successful in both your P&L and your customers’ eyes.
Brant Kelsey is principal and founder of Kelsey Advertising & Design, a brand marketing and strategy firm in LaGrange, Georgia. He is a Certified Brand Strategist through the Brand Establishment. You can find Brant on Google+ and Twitter.