Saturday, February 18, 2012

Invest in your Brand.

Brand building efforts need to be understood fully and evaluated in the context of planning, designing and execution. If you want a sustainable effort consistent with the organization’s ambition these seven (7) important elements must be included in the discussion.

One. Strategy. If you plan to enhance visibility and reputation and want to improve the marketability of your products and services you need leadership of planning, design and execution of overall communications. Accountability needs be understood. Articulate a smart and powerful position. Remember the positioning is the perception that your brand already has in the minds of your prospects but may be leveraged for greater success/growth. Fine tune your message strategy. It must be true, relevant and compelling to be competitive. 

Two. Message and Design: The strongest brands pay fanatical attention to detail. Type, color, layout and graphics need to be managed so that the message is delivered effectively without distraction. The best brands use design to reinforce a continuity of style and quality and have a language and cadence to all communication that reflects culture and its essence of the brand.

Three. Design and copy elements are a part of the brand: They should be governed by standards including interactive media, print, collateral and boilerplate copy.

Four. Implementation: Don’t make the mistake of assuming a brilliant strategy, an airtight set of graphic standards and a top-flight message strategy will translate to flawless execution. You need to make sure you have the resources in place to deliver on your plans and implement them flawlessly.

Five. Measurement: It makes sense, especially for companies that depend on relationships and trust to measure brand perception. This is most effectively accomplished with research methodology that objectively benchmarks perception. What gets measured, gets done!

Six. Your Brand Today: The concept of a product life-cycle is a useful way to consider your brand: four distinct phases: introduction, growth, maturity and decline. In the early stages it is especially important to stand out and be noticed. Beyond introduction and growth on the curve however, the challenge becomes more about sustaining brand preference and avoiding decline. 

Seven. Budgeting for Success: An investment in the brand is needed. There are several approaches to budgeting for such an effort. The method you choose should be consistent with your ambition and mindful of your plans to measure results.

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