This is a realistic discussion topic that every marketing department must think about. First of all, if you are not sure where to start, you came to the right place. Here are five tough questions with five realistic action steps that can help to solve challenging brand related concerns.
How Do I Know What Brand Attributes My Company Needs In Order To Be Successful?
You will know what brand attributes you have that help to make you successful because they are part of your value proposition. They are also what makes your company who you are and why customers do business with you. Sometimes these become so natural they get lost in the introduction of new products and services. It's important to fully understand what attributes define your company and also which ones are foundational. These attributes could very well be part of your mission statement. Make sure you know these and place them front and center with your marketing team. They should be embraced by the entire company culture as well. The attributes that make you successful are the ones you define, embrace and use to tell your brand story.
What Determines A Successful Brand In My Competitive Space?
This one is a softball question that you should be able to get answers to if you round up the marketing team and do some competitive research. The researched information you discover will help you find out a few characteristics from other companies that make a successful brand. It's very important to look at your competitors because their customers are probably also looking at your companies offerings as well. In this case, relevancy is very important thus, stick with competing brands when doing your research. Big brands are easy targets for this information because they are extremely public and the media loves to write about them. However, their attributes probably don't translate well into a smaller business environment.
How Do I Reveal Brand Characteristics That Are Important To My Company And Can Be Adopted?
Once you discover a competitor that you feel has some brand characteristics important to you, think about how you may be able to adopt a few of these. Look for the characteristics that will be easily integrated into your company's business model, workflow and distribution. This is not a short-term solution. It is a way for you to see what it could look like in your company. When doing this you will learn a few things about your own company that may uncover some ideas and characteristics that you may not know existed.
Are My Customers Confused With The Brand Messages They Receive?
It could be possible there are too many products and too many conflicting messages that cause customer confusion. Sometimes when you are trying to figure out your corporate identity, you spot ways to become more viable or versatile. This is good, but it can cause customer brand confusion because they don't know what your value proposition really is. Maybe you have to trim down the company offerings to clearly identify your brand and make it easier for the customer to cut through the marketing clutter. When you scale back, it can help you become a healthier company in many ways. In a recent article on Forbes.com, P&G is making their company easier to operate by doing just this. In the words of CEO A.G. Lafley,
Create a faster growing, more profitable company that is simpler to operate.
This doesn't work for all companies, however, when a larger company scales back, it tends to make everything more manageable, even the marketing and advertising.
Do Company and Employee Values Have To Be Similar?
I hear this question a lot and the answer never changes. Yes, the value system of the company and the employee must be very similar. This is a question all companies should ask themselves before they hire their next employee. A successful brand really starts with a healthy business culture that promotes and models the same value system from the top down. In a Huffington Post article that talks about company and employee values, you will see that this can impact the brand positively. It can also impact it negatively if company values are not shared.
Leaders of the company must clearly define the values of the organization, the vision of leadership and expected behaviors for employees. This is the DNA of your corporate culture.
These are not the only questions you need to ask your marketing team. However, they are a great place to start if you are questioning your brand identity. Start here and you will be well on your way to discovering the elusive answer to, is my company a healthy brand?