Thursday, January 13, 2011

Here's A Peek At My Branding Process!

I've been asked over at Linkedin if I could possibly outline my branding process. So I thought it might be a good idea to share this here as well. My branding process called "Brand Navigator" is a proprietary process aimed at establishing a brand based on a differentiation strategy. It is essentially broken into three components: Internal Brand Analysis, External Brand Analysis and Brand Action.

In the first component it is the goal of the branding team which by the way is made of stakeholders of the brand. They can be management, employees, customers and suppliers. I always make sure that the number of players are an odd number. This is to break ties when we vote of something. My process is a democratic one.

The first discovery is to determine the brand values. These values represent the foundation of the brand. It's relatively easy in good times to determine values that the brand can adhere to. But the magic is to develop values that can withstand a downturn in the economy. I often say to the teams I facilitate, if you ignore these brands in slow times, then the brand ceases to exist and it is now a weaker brand. Be sure that you can live up your brand values.

Moving on we want to determine what the brand personality is. If your BRT brand was a person how would you describe that person? It's amusing that early on in this stage, every trait is complementary, but eventually, all the warts start to show and an honest depiction rises to the top. Recognizing these brand personality short comings gives us something to build on and address as we soldier-on to make the brand stronger.

Now we must know is a few sentences exactly what it is we do? This is not for public consumption but is more an internal declaration.

The last part of the first component is to determine what makes the brand a leader, or the first at something. How can we differentiate from the competition?
This is not slogans or mottos but something tangible that allows your brand to take and hold the high ground - something compelling.

Component two involves surveying existing stakeholders to see if they agree to our discoveries so far and to also test their knowledge of our brand as it sits today.
If it is an entirely new service, this component is optional because there is no history. Component two also involves competitive analysis to determine the environment the BRT exists in. This gives you a clear understanding of any challenges to your brand.

We now get a good handle on your brand image and look for opportunities to strengthen it using all the previous components as guides to be sure that your design elements are the best fit. Strategic design if you will.

The process is essentially complete except for buy-in from the team members and this accomplished with brand action statements that explore how each individual will spread the word.

I hope that this basic outline gives you a glimpse at my process. My competitive analysis is unique and opens eyes. It is especially handy in determining some elements of brand image. Compared to other processes I'm told by those in the know that it is quite extensive. What I do know is that it is always well-received and delivers good value for the effort extended.

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