“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room”
Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon
In this noisy, cluttered digital world your brand is more important than it has ever been.
Companies talk about original content, standing out and being thought leaders – but all that is redundant if the way you look and sound don’t resonate with your target audience and authentically represent your business values.
When we do planning work with clients we ignore what they tell us – yes I know that sounds counter-intuitive. But we are all human beings with pre-programmed ideas which are often subjective and littered with unconscious bias. So, it’s vital to listen to what the people buying from them think as the first port of call.
So, the only way to truly create a brand is to focus on your end user, customer or client. They buy your products or services and therefore pay your bills and staff salaries. To ignore them or even worse not to consult them and then base your business proposition on assumptions is the current day cardinal sin when it comes to marketing.
Our mantra is insight to impact and that’s what we stick to when defining recommendations for the brands we work with.
I’m not saying it’s easy by any means – we have been through the naval gazing process ourselves and it’s pretty uncomfortable. But brands which really embrace what their audiences think of them and then respond accordingly are the ones which are most successful.
So, the process for defining your brand proposition and then marketing it is relatively simple but surprisingly hard to get right and even harder to stick to over time.
If you haven’t been through this process in a while, perhaps it’s time for a temperature check to see how authentic you are to the people you sell to?:
- Gather feedback – ask your audiences what they think of you. Make sure it’s the people who buy from you not just your mates down the pub
- Identify inconsistencies in your marketing messages – are they reflective of your values and business style?
- Check out the competition – are you the market leader? If not, which brand is and what are they doing right? Benchmark yourself.
- Create a marketing road map – make sure it’s aligned to your commercial objectives. If it’s not you won’t see any ROI.
- Revisit your audience – ask them for their views on any changes you plan to make and make sure you act on their feedback – this is how you create true brand impact.