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How To Define Your Brand

This is the first step in the process of developing your brand strategy. By defining who your brand is you create the foundation for all other components to build on. Your brand definition will serve as your measuring stick in evaluating any and all marketing materials and strategies. You will begin this process by answering the questions below.

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: 2 hours

Here's How:

  1. What products and/or services do you offer? Define the qualities of these services and/or products.
  2. What are the core values of your products and services? What are the core values of your company?
  3. What is the mission of your company?
  4. What does your company specializes in?
  5. Who is your target market? Who do your products and services attract?
  6. What is the tagline of your company? What message does your tagline send to your prospects?
  7. Using the information from the previous steps create a personality or character for your company that represents your products or services. What is the character like? What qualities stand out? Is the personality of your company innovative, creative, energetic, or sophisticated?
  8. Use the personality that you created in the previous step and build a relationship with your target market that you defined in Step 5. How does that personality react to target audience? What characteristics stand out? Which characteristics and qualities get the attention of your prospects.
  9. Review the answers to the questions above and create a profile of your brand. Describe the personality or character with words just as if you were writing a biography or personal ad. Be creative.

Thanks : About.com



What is Branding and How Important is it to Your Marketing Strategy?

The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a "name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.

There fore it makes sense to understand that branding is not about getting your target market to choose you over the competition, but it is about getting your prospects to see you as the only one that provides a solution to their problem.

The objectives that a good brand will achieve include:
·         Delivers the message clearly
·         Confirms your credibility
·         Connects your target prospects emotionally
·         Motivates the buyer
·         Concretes User Loyalty

To succeed in branding you must understand the needs and wants of your customers and prospects. You do this by integrating your brand strategies through your company at every point of public contact.

Your brand resides within the hearts and minds of customers, clients, and prospects. It is the sum total of their experiences and perceptions, some of which you can influence, and some that you cannot.

A strong brand is invaluable as the battle for customers intensifies day by day. It's important to spend time investing in researching, defining, and building your brand. After all your brand is the source of a promise to your consumer. It's a foundational piece in your marketing communication and one you do not want to be without.

Thanks : About.com

Dare to be different: successful marketing means standing out from your competitors. Here are 4 steps to shedding your look-alike image

CAN YOUR prospects tell the difference between your company and its closest competitors? If not, it may be time to overhaul your marketing strategy. Differentiation is at the heart of long-term marketing success, and the key to marketing strategy is originality.

Let's take a look at an old slogan. Most of us instantly recognize "Good to the last drop" as belonging to Maxwell House. This venerable slogan has been successful at differentiating the product from scores of competitors, including many that might otherwise appear virtually identical. Not only has it been hammered home year after year, but the slogan also works because it encapsulates the promise of the brand in a way that's uniquely valuable to the target audience.

Differentiation plays a key role in branding and is the foundation of a competitive advantage. And it profoundly affects your position in the minds of your prospects and customers. Effective differentiation can position you as No. 1 among your competitors--the company or brand customers turn to first--while a poor differentiation strategy can leave you buried in the middle of the pack.

Are you ready to develop your own differentiation strategy? Here are four steps to get you started.


1. EVALUATE COMPETITIVE MESSAGES.
Your first step is to gather and evaluate the marketing materials of your chief competitors, including their ads, brochures and website content. Don't be surprised if you see a lot of "me too" marketing. There's simply a lot of bad marketing out there, and the fact that many of your competitors have no differentiation strategy will work to your advantage.

At least some of your competitors--usually the category leaders--will make promises that resonate with their target audiences. Carefully review the benefit statements your competitors make, and determine what claims set them apart.


2. FIND WHAT MAKES YOU UNIQUE.
For a companywide differentiation strategy, consider what separates you from the competitors you've evaluated. Whether you market a product or operate a service business, such as an accounting firm or a power-washing company, it's essential to clearly differentiate through your marketing how what you offer is of unique value.

Your point of differentiation may relate to the way your product or service is provided, priced or even delivered. The most important thing to discover is the principal benefit you offer that is uniquely valuable to customers and gives you a competitive advantage.


3. TELL THE WORLD.
Your next step is to create a new marketing message that communicates your product or service's unique value. This message should become the core of your entire marketing campaign. To successfully gain a competitive advantage, consistently drive this point of differentiation home until it becomes integral to your brand image.

For example, through its slogan, Maxwell House communicates that its coffee will always taste good, not bitter, down to the very bottom of the pot. When repeatedly communicated through ongoing marketing, it's this assertion about being "Good to the last drop" that differentiates the product and has helped make it successful over the years.


4. KEEP YOUR PROMISE.
Effective differentiation has everything to do with customer satisfaction, which builds loyalty and often trumps price as a primary consideration of consumers. As long as your company can sustain its ability to differentiate in a way that consistently meets consumer expectations, customers may reject lower-cost competitors in favor of what you have to offer.

The bottom line is that customers see the value of what's offered. Rather than go elsewhere for a similar product or service at a lower price, they'll stay loyal because of the "intangibles." Nothing costs you customers faster than a disconnect between the promises made in marketing and the reality of customer experience with your product or brand. So for long-term success, your company or product must live up to its marketing promise.


Contact marketing expert KIM T. GORDON, author of Bringing Home the Business, at www.smallbusiness now.com.

Courtesy http://findarticles.com

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