Posts Tagged ‘brand assessment’

Exercise Caution Before You Attempt to “Rebrand”: You Have Less Control Than You Think

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

Your business’ brand is its identity to the outside world. More importantly, it’s your identity to your target audience, including your current market and your potential market. Your brand is how these audiences see you, your products and your services. It is, therefore, a fundamental part of your organizational success.

Brands are generally developed and reinforced over time. Once built, brands represent great value and should be changed only based on good, sound reasons. For some businesses, though, there may come a time when it seems like a good idea to rebrand — to toss aside your current image and pursue something new. (more…)

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Back to Branding: A 4-Step Process to Launch Your Brand Management Efforts

Monday, October 21st, 2013
Branding is a fundamental task for any business, whether large or small, regardless of industry, and regardless of how long the business has been around.
Effective brands, research tells us, drive successful businesses. 
Get it right and you will reap the rewards. Unfortunately, although the process can seem straightforward from an “academic” perspective, the real work of branding is an ongoing process that involves all areas of the organization, and all individuals in the organization. That’s part of what makes it such a challenge. You’ve probably heard the expression “like herding cats.” That’s exactly what brand management can feel like, especially for service organizations.
We work frequently with organizations and individuals to conduct brand assessments and develop and implement brand management plans designed to help them position their organizations (or themselves) to their target audiences. As we work together, we take a 4-step approach to help define and manage their desired brands:

1) Clarify how the client would like to be perceived. We generally go through a two-part exercise, including some kind of projective exercise (e.g. “if your organization was a house, what kind of house would it be; draw a picture…,” or “if your organization were a person, what would that person look like; tear out pictures from magazines…”). We develop a list of desired attributes based on these discussions.

2) Assess how their target markets currently perceive them. This includes employees (because they play a critical role as brand ambassadors), customers, prospects, community leaders, etc. The specific audiences vary by organization. We generally accomplish this step through research while might include both qualitative (focus groups/interviews) and quantitative (surveys). This step can also be a great communication tactic to help engage various audiences in the process and convey to them the core attributes you wish to be known for.

3) Identify the gaps between desired and perceived brand image. In some cases, this may mean that the audience doesn’t perceive you as strongly for a particular attribute as you would like to be perceived. In other cases the opposite is true. And, sometimes, you may find that your audience has positive perspectives of you that you hadn’t even considered and may wish to emphasize. Based on this gap analysis, you would prioritize the gaps to focus on; this will drive your communication strategies and tactics.

4) Develop a plan to close the gaps; this includes both marketing communication and operational strategies and tactics.

Most of this process is fairly straightforward and it’s not that difficult to get to step #4. But that’s where the challenges emerge. Why? Because most organizations view branding as a communication process. While communication is certainly part of the branding process, it is just a part. Operational issues also play a major role in how companies are perceived. For service businesses (e.g. health care organizations, professional services firms like law firms, consultancies, etc.) brand management is especially challenging because every interaction their target audiences have with their organizations serve to form impressions: this includes everything from how clean their parking lot is and how easy it is to find parking, to how their staff answers the phone, to how staff are dressed, etc., etc., etc.

It’s a worthy challenge though. If you’re up for the challenge, we have a number of additional blogs related to branding that you may find helpful.

About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We work with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content. Whether on- or offline, or both, we’ll help you achieve desired results.

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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