The Worst Advice you have ever heard About Brand Management

The Worst Advice you have ever heard About Brand Management

The Worst Advice you have ever heard About Brand Management

People involved in marketing will have to quickly adapt to the changes, in accordance to the market requirements. With fast digitalization, some of the marketing methods which used to work just before a couple of years have now become useless or redundant.

The consumer landscape, and the ways in which we communicate, with our clients and customers, have also changed dramatically. The ever-changing market conditions will not allow you to do what you always did, and expect better or the same results.

For business success today, it is necessary to know your consumer, and have an open-minded approach towards their changing demands. It becomes imperative for you to seek new outlooks, do media experimentation, and try out unexplored modernism.

However, the need and relevance of branding strategies still exist, and the changes are no so rapid. At the end of day, each business will want to retain their customers for life.

What is brand management?

Brand management starts with bringing about complete awareness of the term, ‘Brand’. It integrates developing, making, and maintaining of a promise. In other words, it means defining, positioning, and delivering a brand.

Brand management is about creating and sustaining your brand name. Branding keeps your customers committed to your company. It differentiates your products from that of your competitors.

You can also say that, branding is merely getting your target market to select you over your competition. Rather, it is to get your prospects perceive that, you as the sole provider who offers the perfect answer to their problem, or need.

Objectives of a good brand

  • To clearly deliver the message
  • To validate your credibility
  • To emotionally connect with your target prospects
  • To motivate the buyers
  • To amplify user’s commitment

For successful branding, it is necessary to understand the needs of the target consumers. This can be done by integrating brand strategies at every possible public contact.

What is proper brand management?

Constant maintenance and control is the vital part of brand management. Proper brand management makes sure that every promotional part, touch point, and usage of message and logo, supports your business goals. This helps to strengthen the brand’s impression on your consumers.

If the brand is not managed properly, even the best business empires can crumble. Brand management is challenging, especially when your product are sold through multiple channels including agents, resellers, or distributors. In this brand saturated world, marketers have to avoid common mistakes, while managing your brand name.

Branding mistakes to avoid:

Generic building

The major benefit of the internet is that you get access to a lot of artistic things like icons, photos, images, and other multimedia files. You get to see so many different types of branding elements being used for the visual appeal of a business.

Careful consideration of company logos and taglines is important for developing any branding strategies. Several organizations simply use phrases that are copy pasted from the net, and the stock images that fit.

Such mistakes will never allow you business image to sync with long term customer relationships, making it difficult for you to maintain the brand name in the market. Do your research, and be specific. The efforts will definitely prove to be worthy in the long run.

Ignoring analytics

In this digital age, branding can be quite complex. Digital media also allows for data tracking, and you can download the reports instantly. You can use the information for conducting analysis. It will also help you cut down on laborious marketing research or surveys.

You can use the analytics tools to get complete detailed data, ranging from user demographics to their website usage statistics. It might not sound like necessary, but it can make your business strategizing, a lot easy.

A strong brand name is priceless, as competition to attract consumers is getting intensified everyday. Therefore, you need to spend time in researching, identifying, and structuring your brand marketing strategies.

Making messaging mistakes

Messaging is the voice of your brand. An effective message is the one that captures the audience and forces them to act, whether they are shopping at the local store, or browsing on your site, or simply checking out your product. Sometimes, even the seasoned marketers struggle to develop a great message.

Many communicators overlook the simple rule while starting the message. The rule here is that, the starting point should address the core values of the customers. If you are not working towards what people actually care about, then even your most genuine message will not hit the target.

Ignoring consumer’s value

Marketers develop their messages, in accordance to their brands most vital features, instead of understanding what is crucial to the customers. Therefore, you will need to take time and understand your consumer values, and then align it in your messaging.

Core values of consumers can be attained via online surveys. For example, you could include the survey at check-out page (and offer an instant discount).

You might think that the product or service cost is what drives your customers. Surprisingly in the surveys, it was seen discovered that ‘safety’ and ‘family’ are two aspects the consumers value the most.

Here, you can shift your business messaging from ‘lower-rates’ to ‘keep your family safe, and that too within your budget’.

That subtle change will make the difference.

Depending a lot on buzzwords

The more popular the catchphrases become, the less effect they have. It does not mean you cannot use trendy phrases. Use them sparingly with words that distinguish your unique punch line. For example, a small restaurant attains an effective message by including ‘Yummy’ in a subtle and smart way, but don’t overdo it too much either.

Boring and exhausting messages

A short message is necessary to move your business word around. Simple taglines must come through loud and clear. It must give an idea to people about your product or service. Provide a catch message to fuel interests, but don’t drag it too much and bore your prospective customers.

Disregarding the excitement factor

Everyone’s life is spent in auto-pilot mode these days, and people make decisions on the basis of their emotions, habits, and instincts. It is vital to wake people up, and motivate them, through your messaging.

Use action verbs to build excitement and energy. For example, an event planning message can include, ‘Fabulously planned and remembered always’ or ‘We create and you celebrate’.

Mistakes to avoid, while managing social media platform

The worst advice would be to use same ad across all the social networking sites. Although the overall layout of your campaign message needs to be consistent, you cannot possibly use a single message in all the platforms. Social media is omnipresent for all brands, and businesses realize their potentials to attain wide exposure.

About 72% internet users are active on social media, and brands cannot overlook this opportunity to reach audiences in cost-effective way. However, engaging audiences is not very challenging if done systematically, but brands do make those mistakes.

Having dormant accounts – Many businesses follow the trend and open accounts on majority of social sites, before they are ready to devote their time on it. Consequently, the profile becomes stale and inactive. Prospective consumers may discover the inactive account and get the negative feel. To avoid this blunder, setup you profile on social media platforms, only if you are ready to spend time to maintain it.

No social media guidelines – The big mistake brands make is allow employees to handle the social media accounts. There are no such guidelines stated, so if several employees manage the company profiles, the brand messaging will be inconsistent. Establishing social media policy will help the employees who are working on networking sites. They will have guidelines on how and when to respond to consumer’s queries and concerns.

Remove negative comments – Consumer experiences differ, and sometimes they post negative feedback. Brands are desperate to remove the negative comments, because they feel that it may tarnish their reputation. The consumer, who posted the feedback, will possibly realize it missing. They may voice complains more publicly like public tweets.

Here it the rule:

No One Can Remove the Feedback except the Person, Who Posted the Original Tweet

Another issue is that if prospective consumers find only the positive feedbacks, then they may get suspicious. Brands must not hide negative testimonials, but instead, respond to them respectfully.

Apologize and be ready to resolve the issue of the unsatisfied consumers. It will other encourage prospective consumers to look at your brand name as the one, who cares.

Ignoring consumers – Businesses may not respond to negative or positive comments. Here, the customers will feel neglected. Never engaging with consumers, who seek to interact, can be detrimental to your brand. Just start with simple words like Thanks or Sorry can make them feel good.

Online reputation management

Dealing with online reputation is highly complex in this world of neutral online media. Here is a list of weaknesses that need consideration.

Wrath – Anger or rage can ruin your reputation. Many of the never-ending conflicts seen online, especially on social media, are due to wrath. Therefore if you see something that you do not like about your company, take some time before responding. Your passionate response will seem ridiculous to you as well, after you cool down.

Greed – When monitoring your brand reputation, take care to give credit, where it is due. Never try to grab all the praise. Nobody desires to work with unsatisfied fame hog.

Pride – Pride can be damaging if you are into managing your online business status. Humility allows for enhancing your reputation.

Envy – Envy prevents you to appreciate another person’s good points. It may be anything – A big client, new business venture, or professional honors. Never let envy hinder your ability to perceive other person’s good qualities.

Bottom line

By avoiding the mistakes discussed above, brands can assemble different marketing strategies to give their business a strong identity. Brand management helps to manage the tangible as well as the intangible aspects of the product or services. Let me know about your thoughts by your comments.

10 Valuable Pointers on How to Brand a Company

Branding-of-company

Although branding is important for long-term growth, expansion, and success of any company, very few people really understand what it means. Well, branding is basically making your business stand out in the crowd, where people will be able to relate certain products or services exclusively to your company, despite you having many competitors.

Unlike marketing, where your main focus will be to attract the customer for the first time, branding is more about making your company name memorable in their minds. You can consider your branding efforts to be successful, when people immediately picture your company logo and taglines, whenever your products or services are mentioned.

There are as many definitions of branding, yet only a handful of companies are able to create a brand that keeps attracting customers.

Why is branding important? 

If you want to create a successful brand for your company, there are many ways to look at it.

Here is a useful way to think about branding:

  • When people hear your company’s name, what will be their first thought?
  • When people see two similar products, why would they pick your brand over the other?

Instead of haggling over the exact meaning of how to brand a company, if you think about it in terms of answering the above questions, you will spend your time more wisely.

Whatever brand you create, it must evoke trust among customers. People will only buy a product that they trust. You will want people to actively gravitate towards your brand, so that you can sell more products and maximize your profits.

Take a look at some of the most successful companies in any field (preferably the ones in similar business domain to yours). You will find that their customers instantly recognize their name. You will often hear the phrase to the effect of, “you can’t go wrong with ‘xx’ company.”

Once you identify the reasons why their brand is so trusted by customers, you will find a lot of answers for branding your company successfully. Here are some key points that can help you create a lasting brand that people will trust.

  1. What do your customers want? 

Before you start your branding exercise, you will want to know about what your customers want from you. No matter how great your branding efforts are. If your products do not match their expectations, then you will have a hard time profiting in the long term.

Here are some key things you will want to learn about:

  • What kind of demographic does your product cater to (young, senior citizens, kids, middle class, etc.)?
  • What is your value proposition (better price, higher quality, reliability, etc.)?
  • How much are your potential customers willing to pay for the product?

A modest amount of market research will answer those questions for you, and give you the vital cues about where to start with branding your business. A brand for luxury products will definitely be different from that of budget ones.

  • What do you have? 

If you have the perfect product that has all the qualities without any compromises, then you can let it speak for your brand to quite and extent. However in reality, you will have to make the appeasements, because your customer needs also keep changing.

What you will want to know is:

  • What are the limitations of your products, when compared to those of your competitors
  • What are the strong points that make your product better than others
  • How does the disparity impact your product sales

The question is how to brand a company with the existing variations in what you and your competitors have to offer. To start with, you will obviously have to highlight your strong points. However, it will give you only a limited period to buffer your weaknesses. Even if your customers still choose your products, they will eventually see through your branding strategy. Therefore, companies always try to improve their products in order to plug the loopholes, and add more value to their customers.

Ideally, your brand should tell people about your priorities, and you will need to be transparent about it, so they can trust your company.

  1. Branding before marketing 

As you keep introducing new products and services, you will have to develop new marketing campaigns to give them the required exposure. Now, different products require different types of push.

Some of them will need greater presence on news media, while others will rely more on PPC campaigns, or email marketing. Even as you utilize different platforms to market your product, you want to make sure that your marketing is always in line with your branding.

For example, if you are selling a luxury product, you will not want to send emails to every address you have in your database, because that would corrupt your brand.

Know your customers well, before you sell your brand. Therefore, you must narrow down the focus of your marketing, exclusively to those who will actually buy your products.

  • Picking the right channels 

Most company branding tips today given by the so called mainstream experts involves bombarding all platforms with marketing, so that the customers will notice. However, as statistics prove, this is only a road to disaster. First of all, you should take stock of the platforms that are available to you for branding.

These include:

  • Television advertising
  • Billboards
  • Web ads
  • In app advertising on mobile devices
  • Social networks (Facebook, twitter, Google+)
  • Video platforms (YouTube, Vine, Vimeo)
  • Blogging
  • Podcasts
  • Your own website

Now, if you are a small company, taking on all the above platforms for your branding will spread you too thin. Therefore when you are starting out, pick two platforms that you believe will give your business the best exposure. This again depends on what demographic you are targeting for your brand.

  • Brand standards and guidelines 

Your brand will eventually be present on all the major platforms including Facebook, Twitter, newsletters, emails and what not. If you want your customers to recognize the brand instantly, there needs to be a consistency among various platforms. You therefore have to form some strong standards and guidelines for your brand.

For example:

  • How the logo is placed in your ads, letter heads, emails etc.
  • What color themes are used across all your web properties, including social networking pages
  • The font face and size used, relative to the size of the logo
  • Where your tagline goes in every message

These standards will be uniform on all your communication, so your customers will always know that it is from your company, whether they receive a flyer, an email, or if they visit your website. Having consistent brand guidelines is one of the most important business branding tips that you will need to adopt.

  • Propagate your brand through social media 

You were told above that you have to pick one or two platforms first to start your branding efforts. One of those has to be online social networks. That is because more than half of your potential customers are probably on Facebook or Twitter. These are the best platforms currently to spread brand awareness quickly.

Of course, you are not the only company who is going to use social media to promote the brand. What will set you apart from the others are the contents, and the ways in which you communicate with your followers. You might want to hire a social media expert to help you leverage the platform for building maximum awareness.

  • Reinforcing your brand through website 

Even though your web presence will be spread across social networks and blogs, your website will still be the anchor. It will be the central place, from where the customers will be able to buy your products. Therefore, it is important that you use the website as your primary branding exercise:

  • See to it that the design of your website strongly adheres to your branding standards
  • Make sure that your site interaction is fluid, and it reflects your website’s values

Too many small businesses ignore the importance of a professional website that works smoothly and helps customers. A great website will help increase your brand visibility, and earn you higher positions on search engine rankings.

  • Keeping it consistent 

When branding your company, it is important to remember that your brand as a whole will have to rise above any individual product.

You might have a new product that is radically different from others, for better or worse. Still, you will need to make sure that your customers get the very same feel and experience that your most successful existing products give to them.

When customers find the same reliability, feeling and trust when using multiple products from your company, your brand only gets strengthened more.

As you progress along, you will notice that even small design choices for your product will be informed by your branding strategy.

  1. A standout logo 

The most obvious way that company brands are recognized by people, is by their logo. Two companies may have the same name, but never the same logo. Your logo does not just differentiate your brand from others, but it should evoke feelings among customers.

Your logo should:

  • Reflect your core value (simplicity, energy, reliability, variety, speed etc., pick one)
  • Be distinctive (You can refer to other logos as inspiration, but never copy them even remotely)
  • Translate well to different media (billboards, emails, web properties, etc.)

Creating a good logo should be the first tangible step towards building a good brand for your company.

  • A concise and clear slogan 

Coming up with a clear slogan that will advocate your core value is more difficult than it seems. There are entire departments in marketing companies that are tasked for simply coming up with effective tag lines. Here are some of the things that make a tagline stick to your brand, and helps in gaining recognition:

  • It addresses your customer needs
  • It matches in feel with your logo
  • It conveys precisely one vision (e.g. A computer in every home, Microsoft)

Even though it is single line content, coming up with a good tagline takes time and efforts. It requires that you have clear-cut goals and values. The part about how to brand a company by using consumer expectations and your own strengths rings very true here.

All of these steps might seem like too much for a small business that is just starting out and wanting to create a compelling brand. However, when you have enough information and have a clear vision, the rest of the steps are just details of implementation, and they will get easier.

 

 

Top 10 Steps for New Product Marketing Strategy - Dwaipayan Chakraborty

Top 10 Steps for New Product Marketing Strategy

Top 10 Steps for New Product Marketing Strategy - Dwaipayan ChakrabortyWith the increasing competition in the field of marketing and promotions, you might be wondering about how to launch a new product in the market and hit the right chords with your prospective customers?

In this post, we will discuss about the various steps that are involved in developing a new product marketing strategy. The strategies will have to be developed through active brainstorming and participation from the leadership team and the executives.

Step – 1

Things to consider before you develop a marketing plan for a new product:

If you wish to launch any product, the first thing that you will need to do is ensure if it serves the needs of a certain set of niche or targeted customers.

Your marketing strategy for new product launch will be successful only if your products add value to your prospective customers. Most importantly, your executives will need to believe in the fact that the product will be truly helpful to your customers. Only then will they be able to execute their tasks effectively.

While planning for any new product marketing strategy to meet the financial goals of your business, you will need to ensure that you leave room for scalability and flexibility. Any plan that you create should be clearly defined with the timeframes for delivering results. If not, it should make room for successive plans that can help in improving the effectiveness of your new product marketing strategy.

Step – 2

Validation and proof:

Before you even think about how to launch a new product in the market, it is very important for you to prove how it can add value to your customers. The product should go through stringent quality checks and validations, before you expose it to the market. Most of the products have failed to reach their true sales potentials, because they were not tested thoroughly before being introduced to the sellers, wholesalers, retailers, distributors, or the customers.

It is not viable to pull back the product from the market, because it does not live up to the quality standards promised by you. Such setbacks can tarnish the reputation of your business. Hence, it becomes a paramount responsibility of your company to ensure that the product that you are launching has the complete potentials to meet up with the user expectations.

Therefore, it is always important to test your products and validate their effectiveness before the launch. Alternatively, you could release the beta version launch on a small scale to check if your product is truly effective in catering to the needs of your customers.

Step – 3

Document the process:

Before getting deeper into your new product launch marketing plan, you will need to document certain key factors:

  • Defining the market opportunity
  • Profiling the target customers
  • Finalizing on the prices
  • Identifying and documenting the financial goals, with respect to specifically defined timeframes

In addition to the above mentioned factors, you will also need to give highest priority towards improving and development of the existing product in an ongoing basis. Your new product launch marketing plan should ideally work as the roadmap for at least 3 to 4 quarters.

Also, it is very important for you to start off with your outreach and promotional activities early, preferably before a month or two. Your product will be more effective when people get to hear about it from you, which is before reading about it in the news. Therefore, it is of the paramount importance for you to develop a marketing plan for a new product, well in advance.

Step – 4

Setup your team:

The success of your new product launch marketing plan will depend on the people you choose to work in your team. Your team should ideally comprise of professionals with technical expertise, market analysts, project managers, and marketing executives. The executives should be guided by the top level leadership and the project managers at each and every phase.

The top level management should clearly articulate the importance of the project for the company, and they should create deadlines for the tasks, in order to bring about accountability from each and every member in the departments and teams.

The project managers you choose to develop a marketing plan for a new product should also be equipped with analytical skills. They will need to monitor the workflow and collect feedback in an ongoing basis. They should be able to make decisions based on the data they collect.

Your product will have a better outreach, if your marketing executives are trained inside-out on the product that they will be promoting. They will need to have a deep understanding of the features of the products, and should be able to effortlessly convey information about the benefits and advantages to the prospective customers.

You will also need to sensitize them about the customer requirements, so that they are able to handle questions related to price and product features. Therefore, it becomes very critical for you to choose a team that is dedicated towards driving more sales.

Step – 5

Inform your existing customers and targeted prospects:

Make your products available first to your patrons. New product launch is a very good opportunity for you to engage further with your existing customers. Develop a newsletter to be sent out about your new product launch, especially to your hot prospects and loyal customers.

When you give them the due importance at the important stages of your business, you will be building the path for creating long-term business relationships. Also, it is more expensive to find new customers, when compared to initiating repeat business from the existing ones.

Step – 6

Create the interest:

Your new product marketing plan will be effective if it succeeds in creating a certain level of curiosity and interest among your potential customers. One of the best ways to do so is by going social, but you will need to hold back the urge to give out all the information, all at once. It will help you in creating more interest among your prospects.

You will need to create pages in most of the top social networking websites, and start initiating conversations about your new product that is to be launched. It will also give you an opportunity to engage with people on a one on one basis, and build long-term business relationships with them.

The primary focus of your promotions should be aimed at conveying all the information about how your product can specifically cater to the needs of your potential customers. Additionally, you could also use the social networking platforms for creating surveys and competitions. Make people feel enthusiastic about doing business with your company.

Try things differently:

Do something different to attract attention from your potential buyers. Your new product marketing strategy will be successful only if the customers feel that you have something different to offer to them. There are many platforms on the net that can help you in conveying why exactly people should do business exclusively with your company.

You could create blogs to step up the participation levels. Many companies have been able to draw attention to their products by publishing funny videos related to their products. Such initiatives encourage more and more user participations. Also you could offer freebies and demos. Your onetime investment can pay rich dividends in the long run.

The success of your new product marketing strategy will depend upon how well you answer this particular question from your buyers – “what’s in it for me?”

The collaborative efforts of your team should be aimed at showing how your product and your company can add value to your customers.

Step – 7

Participation from stakeholders and partners:

Active participation from stakeholders and partners is very important for the product launch. The internal clients of your business are the best people to do the word-of-mouth recommendations that will help in bringing about more awareness, and exposure to your new products. More importantly, you don’t have to spend money for this type of advertising.

Step – 8

Commercialization – Opening up sales channels:

If you are planning to sell your products across various geographical regions, then you will need to start building networks with local retailers or resellers. Multi-tier administration and logistics management will be the key for meeting the market supplies in the future. That way you can promote your business across a wider customer base too.

Step – 9

Eliminate the unnecessary:

The purpose of your product lunch is to bring abut awareness among your targeted customers. Therefore, you will need to eliminate the strategies which do not technically drive sales. It will also help you in curbing the unnecessary expenses and cost cutting.

For example, if your product caters only to the needs of local audience, or is restricted to a certain geographical location, then it would not make much sense for you to try the marketing strategies that are designed for global marketing.

Social Media marketing strategies can help you in reaching out to the right set of audience according to your marketing requirements.

Step – 10

Ongoing process improvement:

It is of the paramount importance for you to measure the results of your new product launch marketing plan, in order to drive more sales down the line. You will need to identify the areas in your strategies that are pulling back the success, and then work towards finding the alternative plans, or eliminating the ineffective ones altogether.

You will need to improve your marketing strategies in an ongoing manner. For most products, the market will not be the same all through the year. Although the product launch can bring about the initial exposure, your marketing strategies will change from time to time.

The decisions on such changes should be based on the customer feedbacks, sales figures, performance of your executives and managers, etc.

true-colors-what-your-brand-colors-say-about-your-business dwaipayan chakraborty

Eat, S**t, Sleep: Let your Customers Sell You ! – Referral Marketing – the New age Dark Horse

horse_pencil_drawing_by_resolution_db-d1qxeelYou know, it is better to be lazy in Digital marketing world. Because if you are lazy, you will find out ways to get your goal achieved without breaking a sweat. Have you ever thought that If those people who have already purchased from you, sends in at least two of their friends to your door, how many sales will you get and the friends, if they send their friends and like this it goes on…

You might end up over achieving your sales goal by a huge margin and you can call this with a well packaged name of “Referral Marketing”.

If you take a closer look at this new dark horse (new in digital world), you will notice that it is  social in nature but has elements of direct marketing..

Referral marketing is a more systematic way to monetize time-honored word-of-mouth marketing (the latter of which dates back long before digital). Like other social tactics, referral marketing taps into a long-standing human behavior, and, as in the case of social, digital has helped referral take hold.

Refer-a- friend programs are now being used in industries ranging from retail to entertainment. Recently even Google launched its own referral-marketing program that pays $15 bonuses to businesses for each user they sign up for the Google Apps for Business.

GigaOM’s study shows that marketers are getting value from referral, especially for acquisition and conversion. And marketers who use referral give it high marks for rewarding existing customers and generating valuable new customers. It’s extremely effective, generating a higher percentage of new customers for its practitioners than other tactics. A sizable number of marketers also believe referral helps them capitalize on their social follower base and capitalize on their existing email user subscriber base.

Gigaom Research - Work horses and dark horses

Those findings suggest a number of attributes about referral:

• Referral is efficient, providing a double reward to a business. When a transaction occurs as a result of a referral, the business gains a new customer and also builds loyalty with an existing customer.

• Referral enriches social media by complementing social’s awareness and retention value with the elements of acquisition and conversion.

• Referral can provide more value to marketers when integrated with social and email rather than when used in isolation.