We are hearing from clients that they are either in 1 of 2 camps.
They have either completed their Marketing Strategies and Plans for 2022, kicking up their heels at staff Christmas parties, OR they are buried in spreadsheets and ripping out hair at formatting presentations.
We hear you!
Wherever you are at, it is not a secret that the Pandemic has accelerated the growth of e-commerce by ten years (in some estimates). This acceleration echoes the reliance on the internet for people to fulfill their needs, wants, and desires.
Now, more than ever, it is essential to take stock of your organization and the value that it delivers to clients/customers, but that’s not where it starts or ends.
Today we are talking about how your brand is an essential part of the Marketing exercises. A Marketing Strategy or Plan without a substantial review of the brand is only half hitting the point. Make sure your Marketing Strategy and Plan include a look at your brand.
Brand Strategy is a component of Marketing Strategy and Marketing Plans.
The brand strategy focuses on understanding your customer/clients and prospective customers/clients and past clients/customers.
Branding delivers value not just in the products/services you offer (although that’s a big piece) but also in how you provide the product/service.
Branding is about how you package value in your product/service.
“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.
If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.”
In discussions with our team, we looked at areas you need to keep in mind and things to do when preparing your Marketing Strategy and/or Marketing Plan.
Your brand is a value delivery system.
"Your product or service happens to be the way that you provide value. If the value you can provide can directly or indirectly address a pain point of your target audience, then you are more than likely to win their business,"
There are a couple of steps between understanding your clients/customer’s needs, wants, and desires AND delivering value.
Although Brand Strategy is more in-depth than we have time for in this article, we’ve put together a list of the top 5 things to consider when working on your Marketing Strategy and Plans.
Ask yourself who your customers truly are. What are their likes (and dislikes)? Is there anything about your service or product that your clients appreciate? Is there something you can remove or add to your product or service that might make them choose you over a competitor?
"Take the time with your team and truly understand what it is about your business that long-term clients appreciate about you."
That’s a great starting point. Next, evaluate or survey potential customers to see if their needs, wants, and desires match your existing customers.
Pro tip: Create customer personas. These are 3-5 fictional characters that you can create based on your existing and your ideal customers. Create their story and understand their pains. This will help you know how your brand can address these pains. If you are basing your persona on an actual client, for heaven's sake, please change their name.
Like we’ve said, the landscape has changed! Your customers/clients have likely changed as well.
Communicate with your customers, ask them what’s going on in their businesses and lives. You’ll find that the Pandemic has created winners and losers. Specific sectors are booming while other sectors have caved or are caving.
Understanding the changes and how your clients/customers have been affected will help you recalibrate your current offering, or it could lead you to the next solution you can bring to market. Win, win if you ask me.
"In-depth conversations with your team members and clientele will provide the insight needed to push your business forward,"
"It's not just a logo. It's not just your branding - style, colors, design. It's about ensuring that your product delivers on the value that prospective customers and clients initially trusted you to deliver"
Has that changed since the beginning of the Pandemic? Many businesses are having to slightly adjust or even pivot their product or service offering altogether.
It’s about the entire experience that a customer or client has at every touchpoint in, what people have called, the customer journey.
Suppose the journey ends when the transaction is complete. In that case, we fear you are missing out on a significant amount of value you can deliver (and let’s not be too altruistic here, the revenue you can help others generate and the potential revenue you can generate).
From a person with a need, want, or desire becoming aware of their need, want, and desire to becoming brand ambassadors and providing you a 1000% free marketing service – a referral, this is the Customer Journey. Know it like the back of your hand.
If sales are slow, then you need to figure out if it is a them thing, you thing, or a product/service thing.
If it’s not them, and it’s not the product, then take a look at your organization to see how you can elevate your client/customer experience.
"All brands need to find out how to make their customers feel good about doing business with them. Your brand's success will depend on what you do above and beyond to make your recipients value your business."
"If your customers are eco-aware, consider your packaging, keep their environmental awareness top of mind, package with biodegradable products, and make them aware,"
If your product is a luxury item, ensure every interaction with your business is an elevated experience for them.
If you’re at B2B business, maybe try intentional gifts or valuable advice to assist them in their continued success.
Thinking outside of the box to ensure each touchpoint with your customers is an extension of your brand will make them feel valued as the recipient and appreciate you more.
Our parents always told us not to be a follower, and that lesson still rings true today as a business owner.
You must be a leader for your brand.
"Take calculated risks and make bold moves that align with your core values. Connecting meaningfully with a smaller audience has more proven success than just slightly appealing to a broad audience."
"It is important to understand what you stand for and create your brand pillars. Determining your pillars at the beginning of your journey is essential; as your business evolves, your pillars may also develop, but remember to stay true to those core clients who continue to stick with you for a reason."
Some examples of pillars are:
The list could go on. Your pillars will depend on your brand and the product/service in which you are marketing.
Addressing these main points will separate you from your competitors.
Separating yourself from others will allow your brand the opportunity to breathe, giving your business the ability to grow in our ever-changing marketplace.
Co-authors: Heather Stewart & Yves Stäheli
At Sayvee, we help brands connect with their target audience in a meaningful way through a series of strategy workshops. If you want to learn more, get in touch to hear how we deliver a Brand Strategy that aligns.
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