by Lenore Kantor
Our brand represents all the impressions that people form about us based on their experiences with our business across every touchpoint – sales, client service, website, media, events – any and all interactions. Too often companies don’t realize how they are being perceived because they haven’t thought about what their brand represents. If you haven’t defined a clear brand value, then you are leaving this up to others to define for you. Now this may not be a bad thing if your customers think you are amazing, but it is possible you won’t like how you are being characterized. Wouldn’t you prefer to have more control over your clients’ experience?
Understanding your company’s value and creating messaging that fully reflects this “brand essence” can help you to position your business more effectively in the market to capture mindshare and make all your marketing outreach efforts more successful. Here are some ways to better validate that your brand is saying the right things about your business. This is the first of several posts around how to leverage your brand effectively to grow your business.
Why should you care what your brand means?
If your brand isn’t representing your business’ strengths and conveying the right messages, then chances are your sales efforts are falling short and you are wasting your marketing spend. A good test – how long do your initial sales conversations take before you get to address the client’s challenges? Are you spending 2 minutes on the introduction or 20 minutes explaining what you do? Does your staff understand your current business mission and priorities? If you haven’t asked all your stakeholders (employees, customers, market participants, the media) what they think your company stands for, consider gathering this information to help you evaluate how your business is perceived. You can increase awareness and raise your company’s visibility by understanding and aligning your current brand perceptions.
How can you gain more insight about your brand?
Start by clarifying what you want your brand to represent. Are you about customer service, responsiveness and quality or value and speed? In the first case, customers may place a premium on your service for a reliable, consistent experience based on their unique needs. In the second scenario, customers may prefer fast turnaround at a low price. Maybe customers value other aspects of your business that you are known for. Ideally your brand will align your strengths (what you are good at) with what customers care about (what they are willing to pay for).
Brand Survey Guidelines
Here are suggestions for how to conduct market research to understand how your business is coming across. This can be an invaluable tool to gather meaningful information to inform your sales and marketing messages and help differentiate you in the market. I recommend the following approach:
Lenore Kantor, President and Chief Launch Officer of Launch Warrior, and a branding and launch expert with over 20 years' experience launching more than 100 high-quality products and services. www.launchwarrior.net