In recent months, we’ve been working with clients who are at that interesting point in the business journey – the point just before hiring their first marketing staff in-house – lots of activities, lots needing done and all hands on-deck for the time-being. In the interim, as long-term suppliers, we’ve been helping them draft their short-term plans and define activities during a crucial period. Most of the time, detailed marketing strategies have value in defining who to target, how to connect, the link between product, pricing and the messages to use.
We created ‘Your Brand²’ a couple of years ago to give organisations a framework to create quick, action-based marketing strategies that help build momentum and in recent times we’ve referred back to it in helping existing clients.
‘Your Brand²’s’ beauty is that it allows you to work on much smaller actions that create momentum, get quicker results and build confidence before moving to larger set-piece projects.
It’s a 7-step process , it can be carried out by pretty-much anybody and it gives you a fool-proof method to de-risk working on activities that may be ineffective or waste time. To carry out the process to its best effect we recommend using the help sheets with the bottom of this mail, post-it notes are tremendously helpful and working quickly on multiple strategies at once then comparing best plans at the end helps to overcome procrastination.
Most company owners and marketing directors instinctively know what they need to do and ‘Your Brand²’ is the best possible method to draw that information out.
1. Define your Commercial Goal
Every single activity, action, modification or amendment must be weighed against a commercial goal. Your Brand must serve the commercial objective and not vice-versa. Write out a couple of commercial goals and go for detail. This really helps in framing the brief for what you are trying to do.
We want to increase the sales of a particular product by 30% over 12 months within our current marketplace with existing clients.
is much better than…
Double the company turnover.
What products/services do you want to increase? When do you want to do it? Are you doing it in new markets or existing markets?
The more specific the better.
Goals can also be emotive or commercial – sometimes you have to do stuff that just feels right. If brand-building is all about capturing the spirit of the organisation – then it is critical that there is some spirit in the business in the first place.
2. People and Relationships
The (number of) and strength of personal relationships between your business and stakeholders is going to define the quality of your brand presence and its ability to help you achieve your commercial goals. We have to define who are the people that your brand should be building relationships with? Existing customers or new customers?
Both have value.
What sector? Tell us more about them? Old? Young? What are their interests in your product or service? What are their interests full stop? Again, the better able you are to define the people that you want to build relationships with – the better able you are to target them with the correct messages or CTAs (Call-to-actions) to achieve the desired result.
3. Big Idea
These can be big and global. Apple – Think Different, Nike – Just Do It, The Loft – Design With Soul, (Sorry, we couldn’t resist.) These are the ideas that bind your company or brand with the stakeholder (person with whom you have a relationship.)
For most companies, set-piece tag lines give way to something a little more practical and benefits-based.
‘Software tools that improve productivity and increase efficiency’
‘A company that wholeheartedly believes in sustainability of production’
‘A professional services company that believes in fast, round-the-clock service.’
Have some fun thinking about the various ideas or benefits of your product or service that your customers buy into. Knowing these will help you align the right messages to the right people. You will usually find that you have multiple big ideas that you will share with your audience.
Write them all down!
Once you know what you want to do, who you need to build relationships with, the main benefits of your service (and therefore what messages should go to different stakeholders.) It is time to think very rationally about which channels are most likely to reach the people that you want them to reach.
– Trade Shows
– Digital Mailshots
– Personal Relationships & On-going dialogues
– Printed Mailshots
– Google AdWords
– Printed Ads
– LinkedIn Groups
These are just some examples.
We highly recommend for this type of quick and dirty marketing campaign – building on existing channels, working what you have in a creative way as opposed to doing anything too new. Of course if the people you are targeting can be found in a new way then go ahead but 95% of the time, we find that people can do a lot more with what they have as opposed to doing new stuff.
5. Little Ideas
Now is the time to get creative. You will have mapped out a pathway (Goal > People & Relationships > Ideas/Messages > Channels.) You should now know exactly what kind of activity you are going to do and who you are targeting. Now is the time to get creative! Get the pen and some blank paper out and start thinking about some ideas that will really make an impact!
Trade shows are big for you? How about more people on your stand or a promotion for people that attend the show only. What more can you give away?
Networking is your thing to win new business? Then you should have the best business card in the room – it will give you a talking point with everybody else there.
Professional firm with lots of clients working in a rapidly evolving landscape for your subject? How about some E-newsletter sharing helpful, targeted, byte-size information with complimentary blog posts?
Google AdWords? Then how good is your ad? How about a punchy image-ad that really shows your product off to great effect. How about a GIF-advert?
Sales based mainly on professional relationships? How about some very informative visual information that can be bespoke’d for different clients.
Most of the time, you would engage a professional or an agency at this stage but you might want to have a little fun yourself. Once you start coming up with ideas, they will keep on-coming. This is a great feeling and opens up new possibilities for you and your business.
Whatever you do – measure its effectiveness! You don’t need to get too carried away with data if it isn’t your thing but digital activities in particular should have measures in places to gauge effectiveness.
Our favourite word here at the loft.
Just do something. Even if you do something and it doesn’t give you any immediate success – you will have learned something new and that has value. We highly recommend doing multiple versions of everything – instead of one plan – do 3 and that way you won’t be too precious. Preciousness and procrastination are the biggest enemies here against starting new activities. This whole post and guide is about reducing the size of unknown actions required, de-risking the amount of energy required and just helping you to get going.
Go for it!!
And have fun…
Benedetto is an enthusiastic Creative and Business person.
‘Design with soul’ may be the company tag-line, but to Benedetto, it is also a way of life. He believes that creative and commercial enterprise is about purity of thought, honesty of construction and boldness of execution.
He believes in bringing out the true essence of human endeavour and considers his job of articulating the great work of people and companies an absolute privilege.
His journey has taken him from a career in car design through to his current role as the Founder of the loft, a design and branding studio based in Glasgow.
He is honoured to manage a great team, work with great clients and have a lot of fun mixing with so many great people in business.