Posts Tagged ‘brand audit’

Harnessing the Power of Your Authentic Brand Identity

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

branding, brand management, managing your brand, brand identity, brand audit, brand managementWe spend so much of our time helping companies develop and strengthen their brands that we almost take it for granted that a brand is one of the most important elements of any organization, product or individual. However, we realize that many companies don’t understand or appreciate the importance of a brand, especially when it comes to spending decisions. So, every once in a while, we like to take a step back to remind our audience why a brand is important in the first place. (more…)

The One Thing You Need to Do to Build Your Brand: Walk the Talk!

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

PricewaterhouseCoopers U.S. chairman Robert Moritz has discussed the issue of engaging younger employees in an article for Harvard Business Review titled “The U.S. Chairman of PwC on Keeping Millennials Engaged.” While the article contains a number of intriguing insights, one point that stood out from a marketing perspective was a comment Moritz made in relation to how an organization and its leaders are perceived to reflect the stated values of that company. (more…)

Brand Building for Service Professionals: Some Practical Tips

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

We recently received an inquiry from a physician regarding ways to develop and manage his online brand, and it seemed like a good time to take a look at brand building tips for online brands for professionals in general. Whether you’re a physician, an attorney, an accountant, a business consultant or any other type of service professional, your business’ brand is necessarily tied closely to your own personal brand. We wrote extensively on this topic as it relates to the legal profession in “Business Development and Marketing for Lawyers”; however, the concepts are applicable to any profession. (more…)

The Biggest Hurdle to Overcome In Your Brand Building Efforts: Reality

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Marketers are understandably concerned about building and protecting strong brands. An Economist article from last year discusses the power of brands.  “Brands account for more than 30% of the stock market value of companies in the S&P 500 index, reckons Millward Brown, a market-research company. Everyone knows that a Ralph Lauren Polo shirt costs more than a polo shirt; Coke without the logo is just cola.”

But, brand-building efforts are sometimes misguided– (more…)

The Trick to Brand Building? There is no Trick!

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

In marketing, as in other areas of business I suppose, it seems that we are always looking for the “magic bullet” — the quick trick that will lead to exceptional success. But in business, reward rarely comes without risk. One area of risk for any organization is brand building. Many are looking for the magic bullet here, as well–that quick trick that will lead to brand success.

Unfortunately, there is no trick! There are just some basic, tried and true best practices that the big brands follow. Even they, though, are constantly subject to brand erosion if they don’t continue to take steps to monitor, measure and manage their brands effectively. Brand managers in the 21st century are fortunate because, despite the proliferation of online communication from the masses which can significantly impact brands, either positively or negatively, (more…)

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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