Posts Tagged ‘Brand Management’

Why Your Company, Product, or Service Name Doesn’t Really Matter

Tuesday, September 14th, 2021

Throughout my career, I’ve been involved in numerous naming and branding initiatives and am always struck by not only the intrinsic challenges of getting a group of people to agree on a particular name/brand for a company, product, or service—but also by the enormous amount of angst and emotion that becomes part of the process.

In truth, the process of coming up with a name—whether for a company, a product, a campaign, a department, or whatever is a process that is virtually destined to be an emotional and difficult one from the get-go. Why? Because everybody has an opinion, everybody has an emotional stake in the outcome and everybody wants their brand to be the next Nike.

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Tackling the Special Challenges of Building and Sustaining Strong Service Brands

Thursday, August 12th, 2021

Much of my work over the years has been with “service brands”—brands that are not tied to a particular product, but to the delivery of some type of service—educational services, healthcare services, energy services, engineering services, consulting services, etc.

Developing and maintaining a strong brand for a service is, in my opinion, significantly more challenging than developing and maintaining a strong brand for a product. Why? Because a service is less tangible, more ephemeral—and often involves multiple “touchpoints” that really determine the “brand experience.”

Critical Elements of a Strong Brand

What makes a strong brand? Recognizability. Performance. Consistency.

When we’re talking about a product—a carbonated beverage, for example—recognizability can come through a logo and design, performance comes through the taste of the beverage, consistency is an element of the manufacturing process.

But, when we’re talking about a service, the process of brand management becomes much more complex.

Recognizability

While recognizability is impacted by logos and design elements, there are other factors to consider. If you practice out of an office or a clinic, your physical location and how it looks, how it’s furnished, etc., will impact your recognizability and your brand. Consultants who travel to client locations, for example, are themselves a key component of the brand – including how they dress and the type of vehicle they drive (and how well maintained it is).

Performance

How is a healthcare organization’s performance defined? By the physician? The registration clerk? The distance from the parking lot to the front door? The cleanliness of the facility? The magazines in the waiting room? The delivery of care (and how do we, as non-clinical consumers, measure that?)? Yes—all of these things, and more! For healthcare and other service organizations (which would include restaurants, retail stores, etc.), performance is a multi-faceted process with multiple touchpoints and multiple opportunities to either strengthen or weaken the brand.

Consistency

And, finally, consistency. The greatest challenge of all. While product consistency can certainly be challenging, there are more tangibles to deal with in the product arena. The challenge for service marketers in managing a brand involves managing human inputs and human actions. Significantly more challenging than ensuring that the right physical ingredients are combined in the right proportions in the right environmental conditions to produce a consistent result.

…and the People!

It often comes as a surprise to those in service businesses that managing the marketing process, specifically the branding process, involves a significant amount of focus on managing people. This involves developing and communicating standards and processes. It involves ensuring consistency in such things as how the phone is answered, how employees dress, service standards, hand-offs between departments, how employees talk to and about each other, etc.

Too often as we focus on other important elements of the brand—like the logo, the name, the company colors, the design templates, etc.—we can have a tendency to forget about what is most important about the brand (recognizability, performance, and consistency). In service organizations, we may also tend to forget about the people and the significant impact they have on the customer experience.

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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Recommended Reading:

21st Century Secrets to Effective PR

Managing Remote Staff

Direct Mail in the Digital Age

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Strategic Planning

The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement

Best Practices in Influencer Marketing

Graduates: Some Important Tips for Building Your Personal Brand

Tuesday, May 25th, 2021

A hot topic in recent months, perhaps due to the pandemic and sudden interest in pursuing new job and career opportunities, seems to be “building a personal brand.” We work with a wide range of entrepreneurs, independent consultants and others who are adept at building what they refer to as their “thought leadership.” In truth, though, what they’re really doing, is building their personal brands. We help them do that and we also speak and write regularly about the topic.

Building your personal brand doesn’t start after you’ve already established yourself in your career, or at least it shouldn’t. As we like to say “your reputation precedes you.” And, for good or ill, it precedes you whether you’ve been paying attention or not. (more…)

Should Brands Be Political Online?

Wednesday, September 30th, 2020

Women considering yes, no, maybe optionsWith the election cycle in full swing and plenty of polarizing issues being talked about in both traditional and social media circles, many brands are wondering whether they should weigh in on these discussions, or remain silent. It’s a legitimate, relevant, and important question. As with many important questions, though, there is no easy answer.  (more…)

Things You Can—and Can’t…—Do to Upgrade Your Brand

Wednesday, February 12th, 2020
Brand audits and brand evaluations are two areas that we particularly enjoy when working with clients. Why? Because, when done well, it’s very high-level and very strategic work. And, because having a clear and well-defined and well-executed brand is fundamental to everything a business does and its ultimate success.

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Let It Snow! Big Brands Risk Failure When They Rely on Third Party Partners

Thursday, December 19th, 2019

by Justin Grensing, Esq., MBA

Just in time for Christmas, Walmart Canada provides a great example of how aggressive sales expansion can tarnish a company’s brand.

There is a natural conflict that exists between sales growth and brand protection. As sales expand—whether geographically or in terms of volume of goods or number of customers, etc.—it is harder and harder for companies to maintain tight control over the products and services carrying its name and impacting its brand. (more…)

Peloton: The Latest Example of Consumer Outrage Over Ad Content

Tuesday, December 17th, 2019

Occasionally companies and their advertising teams will find themselves in hot water for controversial advertisements or campaigns that set out to be edgy or funny, but push the envelope a bit too far. Consider, among the many examples, Bacardi’s “ugly girlfriend” ad, Burger King’s sexually suggestive “Super Seven Incher” ads and Dove’s “Before & After” ad showing a transition from a black to a white woman.

Likely these companies knew they were taking a risk in putting those ads out there but didn’t fully appreciate the likelihood of the level of potential backlash. But sometimes ads not intended to contain any type of offensive content still manage to offend. (more…)

Important Marketing and Branding Takeaways From Krispy Kreme and a Youthful Entrepreneur

Wednesday, November 27th, 2019

by Justin Grensing, Esq., MBA

Every once in a while, a real-life situation comes up that lends itself nicely to some core marketing concepts. These serve as great teaching tools and discussion points because they actually happened, and they’re relatable. Here’s a recent example involving Krispy Kreme and an entrepreneurial college student. (more…)

Every Employee a Brand Ambassador: A Message for Healthcare Providers (and others)

Thursday, October 10th, 2019

Think your clinical staff members—primarily doctors and nurses—are the only ones, or the most important ones to impact the patient experience? Think again. Every single one of your employees and volunteers has an opportunity to influence the patient experience while on the job, and off. In fact, every single one of these individuals has the opportunity to influence patients’ choices when they are considering a new provider or care facility.

While on the job, and off. (more…)

What Social Media Outages Should Tell Content Marketers

Thursday, June 13th, 2019

by Justin Grensing, Esq., MBA

 

Earlier this year, an outage on Facebook, as well as its subsidiary services Instagram and WhatsApp, demonstrated that even the most sophisticated tech companies and social media platforms are not immune to technical challenges. In an article for Entrepreneur, Kimanzi Constable argues that the outage could hold some important lessons for content marketers and online advertisers. It wasn’t an isolated incident. Lately it seems that every week brings another outage—most minor, but all troubling.

“There is no doubt businesses lost revenue with this outage,” he writes. “For those who pay for advertising, their ads weren’t reaching potential customers. For those that rely on posting in their Facebook groups, on their personal pages and on Instagram, they lost revenue because they couldn’t use the strategy that they’ve always used.” So what should companies do from a strategic standpoint to prevent this kind of negative impact in the future? (more…)