Topic: Strategy

Discovery Of Brand Strategy

Posted by wendy.gintz on 500 Points
**Found in Archived questions but need more suggestions.
Looking for advice and assistance (referral) for someone who specializes in Brand Strategy and specifically the below.

Our leadership has an idea of what they want to portray. I want to make sure that matches what we need to portray about our brand. Our goal for this is NOT visual identity/logo (that will be a follow-on project), but rather we are looking for expert help in the following areas:

- defining and articulating our brand,
- defining brand voice,
- refining some pesky "problem areas" or inconsistencies in our brand architecture and brand alignment
- positioning and messaging at both a high company-wide level as well as at market segment or product level, across a broad portfolio of products and services
- information architecture guidance to help us organize the way we tell our (complicated) story to customers

Thanks in advance for the insights.
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  • Posted by mgoodman on Accepted
    The project you describe has been my sweet spot as a consultant for 40+ years. I'd be willing to discuss with you via Zoom, Skype or phone -- no charge or obligation. Contact me via email (in my profile) and we can work out details. If I can't help you myself, I can probably recommend someone who can.
  • Posted by wendy.gintz on Author
    Thanks. I will shoot you an email.
  • Posted by Gary Bloomer on Member
    "Our leadership has an idea of what they want to portray."

    While this is a good place to start, it is, I believe, the wrong place to start.

    Here's my humble two cents' worth.

    What your leadership wants to portray needs to align solidly and unquestioningly with what past, present, and future clients and customers want to believe. These two things may not be the same, and if everything about your brand strategy is leadership-driven you may have an issue.

    Understand ... and I mean REALLY wrap your mind around the fact that the most important part of your brand isn't you, your products, goods, or services, it's your clients and customers. Without what they think being taken into account, in truth, no business has a brand—that is, no business has a deeply entrenched, deeply-felt relationship based on emotive trust and in lasting, balls to the wall belief. They may think they do, after all, they spent a boatload of cash on a shiny new logo and lots of spiffy signage, so they're branded, right?

    Nope. Not even close.

    "I want to make sure that matches what we need to portray about our brand."

    Great. What, though, are you currently portraying and what have you portrayed historically? Of these two points, what brand truths do your current fans hold dear and believe in their core to be good and true and defining about your brand as it pertains to their worldview?

    1. Defining and articulating your brand MUST, I believe, include your origin story. It must also include what you stand for and what you stand against. If I'm to buy into your brand, how will and does its heritage connect with my world view, personal bias, and imagined futures?

    2. Apart from scripts, touch-points, tone, volume, intonation, emphasis, and accent, defining your brand voice also needs to include taking a long, hard look at everything the brand has said, thought, illustrated, intoned, and emoted since day one. All of it!

    3. Refining whatever pesky "problem areas" or inconsistencies you have in your brand architecture and brand alignment might mean tearing down the whole house, ripping up all the footings, pulling out all the drains and in-groud services, and digging new trenches and setting new pipes, sewer lines, and footings for EVERYTHING. Yes, I know this is all metaphorical, but sometimes, the only way to build a new city is to adopt a scorched Earth policy. Be prepared to take this step if doing so will change hearts and minds to the good over the long term.

    4. positioning and messaging at both a high company-wide level as well as at the market segment or product level, across a broad portfolio of products and services also needs to include your front-line staff. It's crucial to involve your team in order to create buy-in. As much as they believe they know best, know everything, and will take all the decisions, management is OFTEN WRONG ... sometimes about everything, and regularly with horrible results.

    5. Information architecture guidance to help you organize the way we tell your (complicated) story to customers. Get this message straight in your own heads first, figure out the top 10 things you think matters most about your brand and what it does, means, and embodies, and once you've done all that, then carry out a double-blind survey of your past and present clients and ask them the same questions. I'll wager a hefty sum that your list of top traits and your client's list of top traits probably won't match. I'd also suggest that if this is the case, that if management believes one thing and clients believe another, any aspect of your branding from then on that ignores what you've learned about what your clients value most will sink you.

    Your brand isn't as much about you as you may think it is. It's about your clients and their deeply-held beliefs and their emotionally-driven anchored impulses.

    And FYI, Michael Goodman (mgoodman above) needs to be your number one port of call. Don't do ANYTHING until you've spoken with him at length.

    I hope this helps. Good luck with your next meeting.

  • Posted by wendy.gintz on Author
    Thanks for your 2 cents. Just so you know it's worth a lot more.

    The reason we want to rediscover our brand is coming from our customers. We get the biggest bang with our customers once they can see our process (we are a manufacture/fabricator). We play a small part in our market but our processes are not your mom/pop shop. Our customers are always surprised and impressed. We feel we are not branding ourselves correctly or telling the story that our customers want to and need to hear. We want to be aligned with what our customers are looking for and what we provide and continue to WOW. For us it's not really about a new shiny logo or website it's more about a Brand Identity and Voice that resonates with customers/potential customers.

    Again thank you for all the great insights. And FYI, I have a call with Michael later. :)
  • Posted by Jay Hamilton-Roth on Member
    Another strong vote for Michael. And if you haven't already convened a customer focus group, do so to learn more about THEIR needs. You mention that your customers are always surprised and impressed – can you identify what aspects surprise/impress them? Can you tell your story in their eyes (or even have them share testimonials and/or white papers) showcasing how you helped their business?
  • Posted by wendy.gintz on Author
    Thanks to everyone who responded.

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