As the chief marketing communication officer in your organization, we challenge you to take an important and not-as-difficult-as-it-seems step in your day-to-day management of communications and sales support activities. It’s time to find out what is your brand identity.
We will warn you that facing this challenge may change how that day-to-day communication takes place. So, buckle up and let’s start.
First of all, if your company is like most B-to-Bs, you probably pay homage to the logo that you see everyday when you walk through the lobby to your vast and plush office. Or smile at the clever (even brilliant) well-designed literature that you worked so hard to produce, and that is receiving praise across the organization…and even with clients and prospects. You have, perhaps unknowingly, developed a strong perception of what that company mark stands for. And, that’s not all bad.
But, whether you have or haven’t is not the issue, really. What is most important is that you can separate your own perceptions with true client/prospect perceptions of your brand identity.
How to get to the bottom of the brand
Here are some things we know about brand identity:
- Brand identity is not just the reaction one has, conscious or not, when they see or hear about your company.
- Brand identity includes perceptions clients/prospects hold based on their interaction with every part of your company and each individual, as well.
- Brand identity can develop from rumor, or third-party influence.
- Brand identity can be altered, for good or bad.
- Brand identity lives and breathes.
- Brand identity can be measured.
Stop! Let’s pause…we could go on forever. Let’s focus on #6 in our list:
Brand identity can be measured. Whether you have a sizeable budget for marketing research or not, you should, if you haven’t already, undergone a simple process of analyzing what is your identity? And in what condition is your brand? Of course, this will require that you survey key internal individuals (be sure to include sales representatives and key C-level officers), clients, prospects and even partners and vendors. Anonymity will be required, but make sure you can identify which survey group results are obtained from – this will be critical in your analysis.
Size of sample
If you have the budget, survey at least 20-30 from employees, clients, prospects, and vendors/partners. If not, get at least 10 from each group.
Ask open-ended questions that get respondents to describe what their experience is with your company: what your company stands for, strengths and weaknesses, of most value, of least value, and how they would define your company’s products/services. Finally, ask them if they do business with your company. Also, ask why they do or don’t.
What you’ll likely determine from this qualitative research is that there is a gap between what the internal responses portray about your company or brand in comparison to what the prospects and clients perceive. You may find, for example, that your sales force perceives the brand as high value, while prospect responses were riddled with “too expensive” or “unresponsive.”
Once you have identified trends or commonality in specific group responses, identify areas of action. These will include two approaches: A) Leverage areas of strength, and B) Address areas of weakness that detract from the company’s vision for the brand.
By completing this simple analysis, your marketing communication planning is greatly empowered to address brand identity issues and make supportable and positive steps toward building and maintaining your brand in the marketplace. And you will never approach advertising, Web design, internet marketing or Web functionality, html emails, copywriting, direct mail, public relations, video production, or internal communication (see Make Internal Communication A Priority) without considering the well-being of the brand.
Opportunity: If you would like Danskin Creative Communication to assist you with this process, in marketing communication plan development, or with execution of marketing initiatives, please contact us by phone or email.
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