What is a Brand?
Let's start by answering the most obvious question: What is a brand? To answer that question, first start by accepting that ultimately, this will have little to do with you and your company, and everything to do with your customer's perception of your company:
- The brand is the customer's idea of the company or the product.
- The brand is the essence of your organization.
- The brand exists in the mind of the marketplace and is not controlled by the company.
- It is what makes you different from your competitors.
- It is a promise of what you will deliver to your customers, consistently over time.
- In return for delivering this promise, your customers give you their loyalty.
- A brand is created by augmenting a core product with distinctive values that distinguish it from the competition. This is the process of creating brand value.
- A successful brand relationship provides "functional satisfaction" and "emotional satisfaction".
Brand Strategy is big picture thinking. It's looking at where the company has come from and where it is now in the context of its markets and competition.
It's looking at the changes in technology and the marketplace and recognizing the evolving needs of your current and future customers.
It's an effort to control perceptions.
Brand strategy is perennially shifting as goals are met, opportunities discovered, and new markets become available. A smart company must existentially challenge itself by asking the following: Do the ideals that got us to this point still make sense helping us move forward? How can we progress and adapt to the market while maintaining our core beliefs?
Brand positioning is about making choices.
Adopting a strong position is not a passive act; it is a deliberate attempt to influence events. Having a strong position means that the brand will appeal to some customers and not others.
It's about focus.
It is the key to all marketing strategies.
When a brand is well positioned, potential customers can easily recall the critical differentiation they are seeking to satisfy their purchase requirements.
Adopting a strong position is not a passive act; it is a deliberate attempt to influence events.
The object of positioning is to cause people to feel there is no completely satisfactory substitute for the brand.
Successful brand positioning ensures that:
- The brand is unique and distinctive vs. competitors
- It represents a clear and desirable benefit to the target market(s)
- It is appropriate to all major geographic markets
- It is validated with the delivery of unique and relevant services
- It is sustainable and can be delivered consistently across all points of contact with the targeted audience segments
- It helps the organization achieve its financial goals
- Positioning requires that you make choices.
Having a strong position means that the brand will appeal to some customers and not others.
"The Power of a brand is inversely proportional to its scope." - Al Ries, The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding