To Brand or Not to Brand Part II

Why do so many professionals resort to calling themselves brand experts? Well, the good news is that marketing is back. The world has finally figured out that marketing is not sales and if you want to be around five years from now or longer, you better figure this out quickly. The bad news is the over-commercialization of something that is basically simple and straightforward.

The bad news is that marketing takes time to develop and execute. Marketing requires that you truly and totally understand what your company, your industry, your competition, your customers and your employees are all about. They work in concert to create a successful and long-lasting business.

A critical step in developing a marketing plan is deep exploration into your “identity” or brand. Why are you in business? What are you all about? What makes you different and better? Why should anyone buy from you?

Logos and graphical design elements are important but not the most significant aspects of your brand. If you want to be noticed great, but it does not mean that you convinced a prospect to buy.

The new reality, shaped by the internet, is of smart consumers. Whereas in the past your competitors may have been invisible unless they spent money advertising, today everything is transparent and easily accessible.

A brilliant term, coined by Seth Godin, is: Permission Marketing. You have to earn the right to present your product or service for consideration. Simple right? A lot less complicated than brand marketing du jour.

Marketing is about basics. We don’t have to invent new terminology to charge more for our services as marketers. Here are the simple questions:

  1. What problems have you identified in the market that you can solve?

  2. Is your solution different and better than anyone else’s? How?

  3. Who is your ideal customer? Do you know everything there is to know about her?

  4. Where will you find your ideal customer ?

  5. How will you gain credibility and get her permission so you can tell her about your business and ask her to buy?

Having a brand is telling a story - a story that resonates with your consumers. They tell your story to others and then they come back for more. The story changes as the needs of your listeners change. You must keep it fresh, interesting and engaging. Remember, you’re not the only storyteller out there, so engage your audience and give them reasons to eagerly anticipate the next one.