Wednesday, 18 September 2013

The weird, weird world of proper branding

Sometimes, branding can be really confusing for business owners. 

Especially when even the professional agencies use this word incorrectly so much of the time.

In other articles by Violet Bick Brand Consulting we explore what branding really is (and isn't).

In this article we look at some of the weird, weird rules of branding.

These eight fundamentals really are at the very heart of how almost all of the world’s most powerful brands are built.

And whilst some won’t seem like ‘common sense’ to you - they are most certainly 'brand sense'.

1  How much is your marketing budget this year compared to last year?  OK; it should be less.

Most marketing managers look to increase their marketing budgets year-on-year. This is the exact opposite of what should be happening. When brand messaging is strong, right and meaningful at the outset – you can say what you have to say much less often.

2  Say less to your customers.

We live in an over communicated world. If you are the longest established, highest quality, most flexible, friendliest, fastest, most qualified, first, best trained company with more choice than the rest – you’re doing it wrong. What is it you wanted me to remember again?

3  Clarity trumps creativity – every time.

Great design teams are smart and adventurous in their approach, but the delivery of clear messaging is far more important than creativity. So much design looks good – but says nothing. That’s wrong.

4  Target fewer people.

A narrow focus to the market does not mean a narrow focus to the mind. Consumers make decisions based upon what and whom they perceive you to be for. If you are ‘for anyone’ (too broadly focused) there is no perception that’s easy to latch on to. You blend in.

5  Stop innovating

Truly great brands are consistent. Find out why you are amazing, build your messaging around that and stick to it.

6  Stop communicating.

Tricky to get your head around. But true. ‘Communicating’ is different to ‘positioning’. Supported by Violet Bick, a great design agency will help businesses to really stand for something distinct, motivating and compelling rather than a random list of me-too attributes. This point is for businesses that get frustrated by the fact that their messaging is pretty much the same as everyone else’s in their market.

7  Set your initial advertising budget for your new venture at the following… £0.

Advertising should normally only be used only to reinforce an existing brand position or existing perceptions. It’s too expensive and inappropriate for building perception in the first instance. Use PR, design and (some) marketing for that.

8  It’s better to be different than it is to be better.

A really strange sentence. But another very important one. Most businesses we meet are fighting the wrong fight. Imagine that you had a carpet cleaner that genuinely did have better suction than Dyson. Would you take them on? Don’t bother. You won’t beat them. They were ‘first to mind.’ They are perceived to be better than you and you won’t change that (for as long as they stay committed to their current brand position). Don’t try to be better; be different. Be a lighter, better looking or more easily stored carpet cleaner – but don’t try to beat them in the area of ‘suction’. It’s the wrong battle.

So there we go. 

We’re here to help if you really do want to spend less on your business communications and win more customers at the same time. That's what happens when brand is strong.

Best Wishes

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