The word Brand has come a long way from the days when its sole meaning was limited to cattle ownership.

Today, brand is clearly a marketing expression that embodies the very essence of an organisation. Brand builds your reputation and adds valuation – if you consciously build it and live it.

Your brand is more than just a name, slogan, icon or colour combination, it is why you exist, what you are passionate about – your personality. It is your public face to the outside world, what your target audience (customers / employees) see when dealing with any of your staff members, how they feel when they enter your offices and the result they experience during your relationship with them.

Ask yourself the following questions to see how you stack up:

Who are you?
Understanding who we are gives us an understanding of our strengths and weaknesses, allowing us to recognise opportunities and threats.

Define your business into what you do better than everyone else – what is your unique selling point?

Once you know who you are you can appreciate what you have to offer. Brand starts from inside your company. The best advertisement for your brand is the people who work within it. Ensure you attract, develop and retain employees who help build a culture that expresses and entrenches your brand values. This involvement evokes involvement in your brand, which in turn, encourages loyalty and referrals.

This step, as you can see, covers self discovery of your brand.

Who needs to know?
Understanding your target audience helps you determine the most effective channels of communication to inform them of who you are and the solutions you provide.

Ensure current clients know your brand. The most effective method of marketing is word of mouth and who better than your own clients to pass on the message of what you have to offer.

This exercise is interesting as it defines where you really are in the market place as opposed to your perception of where you are currently marketed.

Why should they care?
Nobody wants to be sold to, but everyone wants to make their lives a little easier. If you are offering a solution to an existing problem then your target audience will pay attention.

You have a short period of time to get your solution across, so think about it carefully. You don’t want to confuse the issue by offering too much – what is your core product or service?

What is the reason people come to you?
Increasing brand awareness delivers part of this message for you – it says without words that you offer quality, excellent service, reliability and a warranty.

Is your message consistent? Your brand is more than just the colours and logo, it is now every communication you or your employees make on behalf of the company.

Ensure that all your marketing material is consistent, every email is branded, all telephone conversations a certain tone – every communication reflects upon the company and your brand.

How will they find out?
Once you have defined your target audience you can identify the most effective methods of communication, whether this be via a website, social media, radio, events, marketing collateral, TV, writing for publications, outdoor advertising.

When and where is your target market most likely to listen to the solution you have to offer?

Conclusion
Develop strong brand parameters to which all of your internal and external communications can be controlled and monitored.

9 Strategic
At 9 Strategic our vision is to transform businesses through developing marketing capability. We help businesses connect marketing strategy to business strategy. The application of the 9 Boxes™ to your business planning will enable you to consistently deliver outstanding business and revenue outcomes.

Debbie Richardson, Director
Debbie has held senior marketing director roles in the services sector, including News International, working on The Times and Sunday Times, and Robert Half International, a global recruitment business.

Debbie helps clients realise their strategic marketing capability through mentoring and facilitation, using IP and processes that have been developed exclusively by 9 Strategic. With a general marketing management background, Debbie’s knowledge and experience brings structured marketing capabilities to any business and ensures a transfer of marketing skills to the organisation helping achieve growth in revenue and bottom line profits.