Using Critical Information for Effective Branding
Measuring Branding activities allows for listening, serving and thriving in the market.
The torch in the dark
Let’s look at a scenario; you’ve done branding, your marketing efforts are making a slight dent, your salesforce works tirelessly to close and your profit margins are not up to expectation. With no information on what’s going wrong, additional pressures are put upon various departments to perform as the turnover rate hits an all-time high and the morale, an all-time low. Something is wrong, but there is no information to single out, prompting you to suspect it’s the economy, market saturation and price points.
The picture that I’ve painted is an eerily familiar situation plaguing most companies. All it takes is a moment of clarity, to remember that the reason you started this business was because you had a fantastic solution to a problem, and an ocean of perfect customers to sell it to. We want to address qualified questions by understanding the problem. Information on whether your branding efforts have been effective on these ‘perfect’ customers could be the critical torch needed to fight off the darkness that is looming over your business; because it is only when you’ve answered the branding question, will you be able to apply other critical business analysis on marketing, sales and key profit drivers. Branding is a strategic activity that allows for a ‘Purposeful innovation’. Operations always suffer, when strategies are off.
Valid questions give quality answers.
There are countless questions you can ask but only a few will give the right answer. When it comes to branding, we want to ask questions that are directly influenced by branding. Here are some immediate questions, but not restricted to;
1. Are we positioned competitively? 2. Are we positioned with our target customers in mind? 3. Are we giving a consistent brand experience?
These questions immediately give you the right clues to Sherlock your way to the actual problem, using the right tools from strong brand equity analysis to a focused competitive branding analysis. These give you eye-opening clarity in aspects of your business that were otherwise hidden in the dark. The amount of time and money spent on proactively solving these issues outweigh the cost of failure. Even tech giants that were dominating the market were painfully brought to their knees, while many missed the point their triumphant competitors were making to customers. The point that most people miss, they were not just a solution to ‘a problem’, they were the solution to a problem that people couldn’t ‘live’ without. They’ve innovated to achieve that, from branding and through branding.
The idea of purposeful innovation
There are a few kinds of information that could help you Segway into your customers’ hearts, and knowing them is the key to executing effective branding activities. You want to seek information both from inside and outside and I’ve listed just three out of the many;
1. Your Brand personality that your values stem from to garner loyalty 2. Your Brand position that relate your values to your target that forms a perception 3. Your Brand experience that appeals to your target that accommodates satisfaction
I’ve used the word innovation multiple times in this article, but the real value for this overused word in business is realised with ‘Purposeful Innovation’, stemming from the findings of critical information on branding mentioned earlier. Here’s the clarity you’ve been looking for in this article, imagine a world where Blackberry leveraged on their position as the secure smartphone platform to deposition Apple’s inconsistent security claims and effectively appeal to consumers' concern for privacy. That would be a golden opportunity if they could address other values that consumers’ have now come to fanatically identify with that have been nurtured and championed by Apple. What do we learn from this? Pay attention to critical information in a timely manner, while executing time sensitive branding activities from those empirical foundations, and you will win tremendous amount of goodwill in volatile marketplaces.
© The Action Plan
Ashford, W. (2012, April 12). BlackBerry most secure mobile platform, research finds. Retrieved from: http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240148460/BlackBerry-most-secure-mobile-platform-research-finds
Communications For Research. (2015, August 25). 4 Ways That Market Research Can Help You Improve Branding Strategy. Retrieved from: http://www.cfrinc.net/cfrblog/4-ways-that-market-research-can-help-you-improve-branding-strategy
Fletcher, B. (2013, April 25). Five Reasons Why Market Research Matters (and Five Tips for Using It). Retrieved from: http://www.marketingprofs.com/opinions/2013/23874/five-reasons-why-market-research-matters-and-five-tips-for-using-it/
McFarland, M.S.J. (2012, July 1). Why We Care about Privacy. Retrieved from: https://www.scu.edu/ethics/focus-areas/internet-ethics/resources/why-we-care-about-privacy/
Pierson, D. (2016, February 26). While it defies U.S. government, Apple abides by China's orders — and reaps big rewards. Retrieved from: http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-apple-china-20160226-story.html