Your brand is not just your logo. It's how you communicate your market position to your prospects and customers. Your brand is the character, the constitution, even the soul of your company. It's your marketing department's responsibility to position and entrench your brand in the minds of your Target Market, but it's Leadership's responsibility to develop and safeguard the brand.
In the following, you'll work on your Corporate Image. Your goal will be to make sure your company presents a unified and consistent message to your prospects and your customers. This is especially true where your promotions are concerned. Your marketing efforts must position your brand as clearly and directly as possible to your Target Market. Any deviation will have the effect of a broken promise. After all, what is a marketing campaign but a promise of something good to come, if only your prospect will buy your product or engage your service?
Eventually, your brand will take on a meaning of its own to your Target Market. When they see your logo or hear your company’s or product’s name, it should mean something specific to them. Your Market Position, your Corporate Values and even your Corporate Culture will be represented by your brand. To your customers, your brand will come to represent a promise; an assurance they can expect a certain level of quality, flexibility, service, consistency etc. whenever they see or hear your brand.
Your goal must be to do everything possible to keep those experiences consistent with your Market Position.
When it comes to your Brand, your goal is to absolutely dominate your Market Position in the minds of your prospects and customers. Your Target Market must recognize you as their primary, trusted resource in your area of specialty.
Contrary to popular belief, this does not necessarily require a mass marketing approach with a gigantic budget. It does if your brand is Coca-Cola ® or Kleenex, ® but these brands have equally gigantic Target Markets. By carefully targeting your marketing efforts, you can have a similar type of impact on your Target Market without breaking the bank.
Once you have settled on a Market Position, you'll want to focus your entire company on it. After all, marketing is not just something done by your marketing department; it's a way of doing business.
If it's going to work, everything in your business must support your position. It's no good to position your business as the leader in quality and then use regular photocopies for your brochure. The low quality brochure sends a conflicting message to your prospect. Of course, it might be perfectly fine if you are positioned as a discount retailer.
Every time your prospects come in contact with your business they have an experience. It may be subtle but it will always be there. The result, over time, is a strong, almost unbreakable opinion about your business in the minds of your prospects. The success of your Branding Strategy lies in its ability to positively influence those opinion-forming experiences.
It might take some time before you see any results, so be patiently persistent. Keep your antenna up as you go, but don't hold back. As with nearly everything we have discussed, positioning is a strategic tool, not a fire fighting tool. Its purpose is to give your business long-term success, not just a quick fix.
"Branding is the promise you make; your brand comes from the promises you keep."