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the marketplace, there is nothing stronger than a product or a service
that people ask for by name. If people demand to buy Coke, then the
store has to carry it, or the people will go to a different retailer to
will pay a premium for a branded product or service. They go out of
their way to buy it. They buy more, and they buy it more often.
Customers recommend the brand to their friends and family, and they are
brands are profitable. They give a competitive advantage to the owner.
They give economies of scale to undercut the competition, or to improve
the product, or to out-advertise everybody else. Brands are good. But
you know all of this.
question is; how do you create this attitude and loyalty with your own
customers? How do you use branding strategy for your own company?
A Brand With Advertising
responsibility for branding a product or service has traditionally been
considered to be the work of the marketing department. Your
advertisements, packaging, logo, colors, tag line, and attitude made up
your branding strategy.
you wanted to create a brand, then you had to advertise - heavily. To be
successful, you had to spend millions of dollars on your branding
strategy. And that meant that branding was only for large companies.
itís true. If you are only going to use advertising to promote
your branding strategy, then you will need a really, really big budget.
Professional Advertising is about
getting excellent results without wasting or risking large amounts of
money. Letís pretend that you donít have millions of dollars in your
advertising budget. Letís look at how your advertising and marketing
can work with your other product and service activities to build an
exclusive, strong, and profitable brand for you.
every company creates a brand for itself, good or bad. Your reputation
is your brand. Every time you have contact with a customer you leave an
impression, you add to your reputation, and you create your own brand. But
do you have a branding strategy?
But do you have a branding strategy?
advertising starts the process. Your ads are the first impression you
make with your customers, and they are where you start building your
promise you make in your ad [your offer] generates customer expectations
of quality, service, and satisfaction. The expectations, emotion, and
excitement that you build in your ad is your promise of brand quality.
Itís a promise to your customers that your brand will deliver what
let's say your
advertising has set the stage for building a strong and profitable
brand. Your customers are paying attention. They have high expectations.
They are coming in the front door. Itís up to you to deliver on your
Every point of contact that your customer subsequently has with your company is an important part of your branding strategy. Your advertisements were the first contact. They set brand expectations, and they did their job by getting the customer to call or to write or to come in.
Now your service and
product quality, phone manners, atmosphere, signage, employees,
guarantees, restrooms, customer wait time, inventory, customer
follow-up, and every other customer contact point will work to build your brand.
Your reputation - your brand - now depends on your implementation.
advertising really canít create a brand for you. Even Coke has to make
sure that there is always enough high quality product available in the
right sizes at the right price. Too many flat soft drinks or late
deliveries mean an end to a profitable brand. Coke must continually
manage their customer contact points, and so does your company. Itís
how branding strategy works. Advertising is just one part of the formula.
strategy is ultimately about fulfilling promises. It is about trust, quality,
service, and reliability. Itís a relationship between your customers
and your company. And itís within your reach, if you can manage your
customer contact points.
And Feel Of Your Brand
Your brand does need a unique, consistent look so that your customers can think of it as a separate, distinctive entity.
To create a brand, you
the trappings Ė your name and logo, your colors and design, your ads
and marketing materials, your tag line and attitude, and your statement
of purpose. You want your branding strategy and company to be unique, so that people can
recognize it, ask for it, and recommend it by name.
All of your marketing materials should have a consistent look.
They should match. Your logo, style, colors, catch phrase, attitude,
benefits package, and contact information should be on every document
you print. That includes invoices, business cards, press releases,
register receipts, shopping bags, brochures, pamphlets, letter head, and
to the extent possible, your printed advertisements.
strategy should even carry over into your conversation. Use your catch phrase.
Create a ten second description of your company and use it. Have your
employees use it. You are giving your customers a way to remember you.
And you are giving them the words you want them to repeat. The business
card you hand them should reinforce the exact same message.
That's branding strategy.
That's branding strategy.
advertisement you run should have the same look and feel. Your branding
strategy should leave no question in the client's mind about which company is running the
ad [so donít copy your competitors ad]. You want the customer to see
the consistent, unique look of your company.
Your store or
place of business should also integrate with, and reinforce, your
marketing materials. Prominently display your slogan or company
philosophy. Display poster size reproductions of your advertisements, and
prominently offer all of your other marketing materials. That's
That's branding strategy.
uniforms and point-of-purchase displays. Use posters, signage, imprinted
pens, sales receipts, and even your floor mat to reproduce your
consistent, unique company look and feel. To the extent possible, your
place of business and the quality of your service should look and feel
like your marketing materials. After all, that is what the client
expects from reading your ads.
More Branding Strategy
consistent with your look. You can change your ads, but the basics of
slogan, logo, and color need to essentially look the same. Make small
changes over time so that your customers wonít get confused and lose
you. After all, if you change your ad too much and your customers
donít recognize it, then you just lost all of the good will,
recognition, and trust that you have built up with your branding
If you do
want to make big changes all at once, then you want to tell your
customers about it. You will need to temporarily increase your
advertising budget so that you can keep your customers informed, and not
lose them. You might consider a direct mail campaign, or even a phone
call to your customers.
everyone you know [including yourself] will get really bored with your
ads and your branding strategy. You will want to change them regularly, but this is a mistake. Only
your customer's opinion counts.
customer is serious about making a purchase, they wonít really pay close
attention to your ads. Your company will feel familiar to them because
they have seen your ad 100 times, but only when they are ready will they
really read it. Your same old boring advertisement will not bore your
customers. Do not change the overall look and feel of your ads unless
you donít get the sales you expect or need.
implement your branding strategy by cross-referencing all of your
marketing materials. If you have a great brochure Ė advertise it in your other
ads. Offer it everywhere possible.
newsletter should advertise your brochure and your web site. Your
brochure should advertise your newsletter and your catalog. If you have
a commanding position in the yellow pages, scream it as loud as possible
in all of your other marketing materials. Good branding strategy says
you should cross-link everything, and if
you have the space, do actual advertisements promoting your other
fundamental company philosophy [your mission statement] should be
communicated clearly and consistently to customers, employees, the
public, investors, and partners and suppliers at every point of contact.
Your mission statement should go forth loud and clear to everyone, every
time. Make it a prominent part of doing business.
strategy for your
company encompasses everything you do. But when your customers start to
think of you as something special, fireworks will start going off in
your bank account. Your advertising effectiveness will increase. Word of
mouth will kick in. Goodwill will become an asset on your balance sheet.
Your name will mean something to your customers. You will make more
money Ė and that is what Professional
Advertising is all about.
Understanding brand advantage, and how to get there, is what Professional Advertising is all about. Please contact Professional Advertising for additional assistance.