Marketing and branding providers like Distility will recommend all kinds of solutions. But what do you need?
Behold our three part menu of products: Brand Analysis, Brand Strategy, and Brand Systems. What to make of this? Well, first know that these are in chronological order, or if you will, business development order. While you might not need all of these things, and you might engage in these activities at different times according to your business needs, there is a certain value to thinking about them as a series of steps.
Brand analysis is where you are. Strategy is where you’re going. System are how you’ll get there.
Breaking it down this way explains why some companies want to jump the gun and jump straight to systems – they’re very eager to get moving. It also explains why this may be a very bad idea. As the wise old timers say, if you don’t know where you are, and you don’t know where you’re going, then any direction will do.
Let’s take a closer look at each one.
Brand analysis pins down what state your brand is currently in, who your customers are and what they’re looking for, what your competitors are doing, and so forth. Often companies won’t need our help with this. If your company already has a strong marketing team that is tracking this kind of data, or you are engaging the services of a market research company, you’ve got it covered already. Often times start-ups will have done a great deal of this work in preparing their business plans.
You will need some brand analysis work if you haven’t taken a hard look at your market and competition in a long time. Or you may be rebranding, perhaps after a merger, and need to take a step back and a deep breath to look at your own brand. In this situation it really helps immensely if you can get outside eyes to see where things are at.
Brand Strategy is often overlooked but it’s something that can mean the difference between success and failure as you move forward into brand systems. Strategy encompasses all the intangibles that really animate a brand – personality, promise, and position. It also includes making some fundamental choices that will guide your brand for years to come.
For instance, you must make a choice on brand architecture. Will you brand every product you sell, or will you give them descriptive names under the corporate brand? Will you promote both corporate brand and product brand together? Each can be a legitimate choice in the right circumstance, but choosing the wrong brand architecture can lead to needless expense, underperforming brands, and potentially an expensive rebranding exercise when the mistake becomes clear.
Brand Systems are where everybody wants to be. Often the first thing you think about when someone mentions the word brand are the systems – the name, the logo, the tag line. You dream of having a brand like Nike – the name, the swoosh, the “Just Do It” tag line. But of course, those are built on thorough analysis and rock solid strategy.
So what do you need? We can’t tell you. But we can help you tell us. Try our Are You Ready exercise to find out.