Does your brand matter? Make your brand stand above.
Before they were Nike, they were just a shoe company. Before they were Apple, they were a small computer company. Before they were McDonald’s, they were a small hamburger joint. Most people think that the business comes and then the brand develops, but nothing could be further from the truth. These brands have something simple in common, they decided what they wanted to be, they promoted it and they lived to it. You can too.
Identify what makes you special
Many of us have been in the room for the conversation, “What makes us different?” We have heard the rhetoric. We have even made some loose exaggerated statements that sounded like differentiation. Why is this so hard? We all got into business to make money, but we believed in ourselves and our teams to get something special done. It does not matter if you are product marketing or service marketing, you need to identify why you are in business and tell everyone that will listen.
Share your vision
This is a simple concept and too often overlooked. You can’t tell your team what to believe and the key to your brand is in the believing. We can tell our teams what to say, but getting them to believe it should be the goal. We don’t need to sell them. We need them to agree. They have to be part of your conversation. Explain to your team what you think your differentiation is and really look for their agreement or disagreement. Get them to tell you the truth and hold everyone around them accountable. If someone is not living to your values and no one is addressing it, then they are not bought in. Attack their heart and your team will be with you for more than a paycheck and they will be your brand ambassadors.
You have identified who you are. You have shared your vision with your team. You got everyone bought in and you now have brand ambassadors. What’s next? The hardest thing is defining what you want to be and the second hardest thing to do is to live to it. You and your team need to be clear that anything less than maximum accountability is unacceptable. The brands that matter are steadfast and unwavering. Make sure everyone knows what to do in order to defend the brand and empower them to make the decisions to protect it.
Promote. Promote. Promote.
Begin at the core, website, case studies, datasheets, brochures and after that you need to take your message to your audience. The media vehicles are endless and some are easier or cheaper. You have to determine how ambitious you are, but every budget can handle something. Email marketing is inexpensive, but people are inundated with email these days—still do it. Social media is inexpensive and has a dedicated audience, but it requires strategy and effort to be successful—still do it. Advertising can be expensive and while more and more people are trying to tune it out, it is still effective if done well—still do it. Search engine optimization is valuable and delivers a solid audience, but is very hard to find credible firms to help you—still do it. Direct mailings can be highly efficient and targeted, but have their own issues—still do it. The simple fact is that you can do these things and the more of them that you do, the more effective your brand will become.
Your brand will generate revenue if you begin at the beginning and stay the course.
Your brand matters, but not without ROI!
Five Branding Takeaways:
- Identify who you are
- Share your vision with your team
- Get your team’s buy in
- Everyone should hold everyone accountable
- Promote yourself to everyone that will listen
About S.J.Hemley Marketing
S.J.Hemley Marketing is a marketing and sales consulting firm focused on driving tangible results for professional services firms. Brand matters, but not without ROI. With over 20 years of sales and marketing experience within staffing and recruiting, we have helped to drive successful branding, sales training, lead generation activities as well as defining marketing strategy for top organizations.