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3 Key Strategic Marketing Metrics to Building Successful Brands

Marketing and building a successful brand is more than simply designing and promoting an attractive logo.

However, most brands fail at what they are trying to accomplish. The key reason is based on the old adage: “Beauty is skin deep” and as Abraham Lincoln said: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all of the time.”

Brand-building is relationship building. People buy brands from people they “love” and “trust”! Like all successful relationships, opposites attract, and we are mostly attracted to those people whose strengths complement our weaknesses and fulfill our inner need and desire to be and live the best we can be! If consistently nurtured, these relationships grow in value and last long.

Like the world’s leading brands, you too need to ensure that the following three key metrics are clearly identified, articulated, understood and consistently delivered to ensure your brand succeeds:

  1. Awareness builds familiarity. How well the brand is known? Out of sight, out of mind! Dominate ‘Mind-space’, ‘Shelf-space’ and ‘Heart-space’ – Be one of the three repertoire of brands in consumers’ minds, that they choose from. Be easily accessible, the preferred choice and emotionally connected.
  2. Differentiation builds favourability. What makes the brand unique? How the brand differs from its competition? It’s unique position, vision, personality, beliefs, culture, talent, promise, etc.
  3. Domination builds loyalty. Customers seek out brands that ‘own’ one of Marketing’s 4 P’s – People, Product, Price and Place. A dominant reputation builds trust. What dominates brand perceptions? Your success depends on what your current, lapsed and new customers think, feel and believe about you and where you excel? WOM builds advocacy and is the most powerful form of communication today! Influenced by the brand’s integrity, higher purpose, values, loyalty, advocacy, quality, experience, innovation, etc. You cannot be all things to everyone, so find that one ‘P’ that can propel you into being the most sought-after brand!!

You can make your brand look beautiful from the outside, but if you haven’t built, articulated and shared a clear brand blueprint before building your brand, you are bound to fail! Many brands are clueless when it comes to addressing the above 3 fundamental key metrics. It’s like building a house without a plan. Many successful businesses wonder why their house fails (and often falls) after the first storm? Many small businesses, executives and entrepreneurs have passion and talent, but when it comes to effective branding for success, sadly, they fail! Most people think of branding as simply “the logo,” but a logo is just the beginning of a brand’s visual identity (including the website, marketing materials, ad copy, tag lines, PR, Sales copy, and advertisements).

A brand’s visual elements are only half of the story. Less tangible assets, such as corporate culture, how the executive team and even how employees conduct themselves are all part of a brand’s DNA.

Brands are created and built in the minds of customers. With this in mind, let’s discuss how these three keys can build a successful brand:

  1. Awareness – awareness builds familiarity. Identify the most profitable target segments and ensure that you equally achieve optimum mind-space, shelf-space and ‘heart-space’ for your brand. Understand where you are today and where you aspire to be in one, three and five years from now? Develop a brand marketing communication strategy that includes the following three key spaces to achieve your brand goals and objectives.
    1. Mind-space is achieved by ensuring that you are one of the three brands considered by your customer within your category. Most of us have a repertoire of three possible brands we would purchase in most categories. To do this you need to utilize one of the following three media channels:
      1. Own Media – All media you own, website, stationery, vehicle liverage, building signage, Direct mailers, sales force, industry lists and memberships, etc.
      2. Bought Media – this includes Press, Magazine, Digital, Outdoor, TV, Radio, Flyers, etc.
      3. Earned Media – media created and shared by those current, new or lapsed customers who share your brand content via social media, WOM, PR, etc. and which doesn’t cost you a cent.   
    2. Shelf-space is achieved by ensuring you make your brand’s products and services easily accessible via direct or indirect ‘bricks-and-mortar’ distributors and/or online stores. Effective and quality merchandising will increase appeal, off-take, basket size and value.
    3. Heart-space is achieved by ensuring your brand resonates with your profitable customers on an emotional level first. You need to attract and appeal to the heart first and then appeal to the rational mind. Heart space is won by triggering, appealing to and fulfilling the right emotional needs and benefits customers have and seek when shopping, using and advocating your brand.  
  1. Differentiation: Differentiation builds favourability. It’s uniqueness – how the brand differentiates itself from its competition, it’s unique position, vision, personality, beliefs, culture, talent, tangible and emotional benefits, etc.)
    1. Create a differentiated positioning – Spend a full day with three or four of your top team members (and a brand strategist) and agree on where you are today and where you want to be in 5 years and how you are going to get there. Before this make sure you have clearly identified and understood the following four influences:
      1. Consumer – Who is the audience? Existing behavior? How can you can change it? What emotion should you tap into? Key insight?
      2. Company/Brand – What in the brand’s heritage makes them credible? Evaluate your company’s purpose, ambition, uniqueness, strengths, opportunities, aspirations and desired results. Why people want you to exist? What is your brand’s character?
      3. Category/Competition – Category trends & norms? How to subvert or transcend them? Current neighbourhood vs. desired neighbourhood? How can you stand out from the competition?
      4. Culture – Current tensions brand could resolve? Passion to fuel or play off? Brand’s cultural ambition? Role of brand in culture?   
    2. Create your promise and tagline. Based on your positioning, articulate your brand’s functional and emotional benefits and how you want to be perceived in public. What is the emotional reaction you want your audience to have when engaging the brand and what do you want them to remember, so they choose you over the competition? Develop your value proposition and tagline based on these outputs – and remember, less is more. (Nike – Just Do It)
    3. Stand out from the crowd. Think about who your audience is. What are your top competitors doing in terms of their brand image, website look and how they are expressing themselves? Look for some core commonalities, and simultaneously prepare to identify where you can innovate and differentiate. See your competitors as part of the solution (Rolls-Royce focusses on luxurious comfort, Mercedes on executive quality, BMW on driving performance and Volvo on safety – all motoring competitors, yet they focus on their unique difference, emotional benefit and value proposition!)
  1. Domination builds loyalty. Customers seek out brands that ‘own’ one of Marketing’s 4 P’s – People, Product, Price and Place. A dominant reputation builds trust. What dominates brand perceptions? Your success depends on what your current, lapsed and new customers think, feel and believe about you and where you excel? WOM builds advocacy and is the most powerful form of communication today! Influenced by the brand’s integrity, higher purpose, values, loyalty, advocacy, quality, experience, innovation, etc. You cannot be all things to everyone, so find that one ‘P’ that can propel you into being the most sought-after brand!!
    1. Develop your company culture. Get staff buy-in to eat, sleep and live your brand so customers enjoy a consistent 360° brand experience. Don’t bring on people who could destroy client relationships you spent months or years to cultivate. It only takes one customer’s bad experience with one bad employee to sabotage your business investment.
    2. Put people first. The brand is more than the company. It is the executive team’s and the individual employees’ personal brands as well. People do business with people. A strong executive brand, or personal brand helps build a positive reputation overall. Nearly everyone prefers working with businesses that are people-oriented and care about their staff and customers. Be that company by embodying a people-first attitude in all that you and your employees do to grow new customers and build brand advocacy.
    3. Building quality takes time. Be patient with your brand. Take on every new outbound initiative with considered care. Don’t rush marketing – building quality takes time!

Get help. Branding isn’t easy. If it were, there would be more stronger brands succeeding in the business world. The reason the Toyota’s, Gillette’s, and Nike’s of this world can have strong brands is because they have the big bucks to spend on it. But they weren’t always conglomerates; if they can achieve brand success, so can you. First, you must write down the words: your brand blueprint, then you can create, implement and measure effectively! A professional who has experience building the world’s leading brands can take you through the process so you see things more clearly, get a different perspective, and go about branding in a way that will allow you to reach your market more efficiently, saving you time, energy and money.

Rushing to get websites up by programmers who have no design skills and are using standard templates, bringing in the cheapest employees possible to do core functions such as customer service, using generic business card templates with little thought, and running fragmented advertising, digital, PR and marketing initiatives, all lead to brand dilution and even its demise. Remember that a brand is an asset which, if built, managed and measured properly, can generate superior returns for a given product, service or organization.

While talent can help you get your business going, your brand is what will sustain it. How does yours stack up?

Like some of the world’s leading brands, you too need to ensure that the following three key metrics are clearly identified, understood, articulated and consistently delivered to ensure your brand succeeds:

  1. Awareness builds familiarity. How well is the brand known? Out of sight, out of mind! Dominate Mind-space, Shelf-space, and Heart-space. Be one of the three repertoire brands in consumers’ minds that they choose. Be easily accessible, the preferred choice and emotionally connected.
  2. Differentiation builds favourability. What makes the brand unique? How the brand differs from its competition? Its unique position, vision, personality, beliefs, culture, talent, promise, etc.
  3. Domination builds loyalty. Customers seek brands that own one of the Marketing 4 P’s – People, Product, Price, and Place. A dominant reputation builds trust. What dominates brand perceptions? Your success depends on what your current, lapsed and new customers think, feel and believe about you and where you excel. WOM builds advocacy and is one of the most effective forms of communication today. All of which is influenced by the brand’s integrity, higher purpose, values, loyalty, advocacy, quality, experience, innovation, etc. You cannot be all things to everyone, so find that one ‘P’ that can propel you into being the most sought-after brand!!

You can make your brand look beautiful from the outside, but if you have not built, articulated, and shared a clear Brand Blueprint with your entire team before building your brand, you are bound to fail! Many brands do not fully understand or address the above three fundamental metrics. It is like erecting a building without a plan. Do many successful businesses wonder why their brand fails after the first storm? Many small business executives and entrepreneurs have passion and talent, but when it comes to effective branding for success, sadly, they fail! Most people think of branding as simply the logo, which is just the beginning of a brand’s visual identity – including the website, marketing materials, ad copy, tag lines, PR, Sales copy, and advertisements.

A brand’s visual elements are only half the story. Less tangible assets include corporate culture, the executive team, and even how employees conduct themselves, which are all part of a brand’s DNA.

Brands are created and built in the minds of customers. With this in mind, let us discuss how these three keys can build a successful brand:

  1. Awareness – awareness builds familiarity. Identify the most profitable target segments and ensure that you achieve optimum mind space, shelf space, and heart space for your brand. Understand where you are today and where you aspire to be in one, three and five years from now. Develop a brand marketing communication strategy which includes three key spaces to achieve your brand goals and objectives.
  2. Mind Space – is achieved by ensuring that you are one of the three brands considered by customers within your category. Most of us have a repertoire of three possible brands we would purchase in most categories. To do this, you need to utilize one of the following three media channels:
      1. Own Media – All media you own, website, stationery, vehicle liverage, building signage, Direct mailers, sales force, industry lists and memberships, etc.
      2. Bought Media – includes Press, Magazine, Digital, Social Media, Outdoor, TV, Radio, Flyers, etc.
    1. Earned-Media – free media created and shared organically by current, new or lapsed customers who share your brand content via social media, WOM, PR, etc. And most importantly, your organic SEO ranking – all of which do not cost you a cent.  
    2. Shelf-Space – achieved by ensuring you make your brand’s products and services easily accessible via direct or indirect brick-and-mortar distributors and online stores. Effective, quality merchandising will increase appeal, off-take, basket size and value.
    3. Heart Space – achieved by ensuring your brand resonates with your profitable customers on an emotional level first. You need to attract and appeal to the heart first and then appeal to the rational mind. Heart space is won by triggering, appealing to, and fulfilling the emotional needs and benefits customers have and seek when shopping, using, and advocating your brand.  
  3. Differentiation: Differentiation builds favourability. Its uniqueness – how the brand differentiates itself from its competition, its unique position, vision, personality, beliefs, culture, talent, tangible and emotional benefits, etc.)
  4. Create a differentiated positioning – Spend a full day with three or four of your top team members (and a brand strategist) and agree on where you are today, where you want to be in 5 years and how you will get there. Before this, make sure you have clearly identified and understood the following four influences:
      1. Consumer – Who is the audience? Existing behaviour? How can you change it? What emotion should you tap into? Key insight?
      2. Company/Brand – What in the brand’s heritage makes them credible? Evaluate your company’s purpose, ambition, uniqueness, strengths, opportunities, aspirations and desired results. Why do people want you to exist? What is your brand’s character?
      3. Category/Competition – Category trends & norms? How to subvert or transcend them? Current neighbourhood vs. desired neighbourhood? How can you stand out from the competition?
    1. Culture – Current tensions the brand could resolve? Passion to fuel or playoff? Brands’ cultural ambition? Role of the brand in culture?  
    2. Create your promise and tagline. Based on your positioning, articulate your brand’s functional and emotional benefits and how you want to be perceived by the public. What emotional reaction do you want your audience to have when engaging the brand, and what do you want them to remember so that they choose you over the competition? Develop your value proposition and tagline based on these outputs – and remember, less is more. (Nike – Just Do It)
    3. Stand out from the crowd. Think about who your audience is. What are your top competitors doing for their brand image, website look and how they express themselves? Look for some core commonalities, and simultaneously prepare to identify where you can innovate and differentiate. See your competitors as part of the solution (Rolls-Royce focuses on luxurious comfort, Mercedes on executive quality, BMW on driving performance and Volvo on safety – all motoring competitors, yet they focus on their unique difference, emotional benefit and value proposition!)
  5. Domination builds loyalty. Customers seek brands that ‘own’ one of Marketing’s 4 P’s – People, Product, Price and Place. A dominant reputation builds trust. What dominates brand perceptions? Your success depends on what your current, lapsed and new customers think, feel and believe about you and where you excel. WOM builds advocacy and is the most effective form of communication today! All of which is influenced by the brand’s integrity, higher purpose, values, loyalty, advocacy, quality, experience, innovation, etc. You cannot be all things to everyone, so find that one ‘P’ that can propel you into being the most sought-after brand!!
    1. Develop your company culture. Get staff buy-in to eat, sleep and live your brand so customers enjoy a consistent 360° brand experience. Don’t bring on people who could destroy client relationships you spent months or years cultivating. It only takes one customer’s bad experience with one bad employee to sabotage your business investment.
    2. Put people first. A brand is more than a company. A brand also includes the executive team and employees’ personal brands. People do business with people. A powerful executive brand, or personal brand, helps build a positive reputation overall. Most people prefer working with a business that is people-oriented and cares about its staff and customers. Be that company by embodying a people-first attitude in all you and your employees do to grow new customers and build brand advocacy.
    3. Building quality takes time. Be patient with your brand. Take on every new outbound initiative with considered care. Do not rush marketing – building quality takes time!

Get help. Branding is not easy. If it were, there would be stronger brands succeeding in the business world. The reason why Toyota, Gillette, Samsung, Tesla, Facebook, and Nike of this world can have strong brands is that they invest big bucks in it. But they weren’t always conglomerates, and if they can achieve brand success, so can you. First, you must write down the words: which is your Brand Blueprint you create, implement and measure effectively! A professional who has experience building the world’s leading brands can take you through the process so you see things more clearly, get a different perspective, and go about branding in a way that will allow you to reach your market more efficiently, saving you time, energy and money – all resulting in enhanced brand value and equity.

Rushing to get a website up, designed by programmers who have little or no design skills, who use pre-designed templates, and management who utilise the cheapest employees to do core functions, including customer service, account management and liaison, who run ad-hoc, fragmented marketing communication initiatives, will all lead to brand dilution, and eventually a brands demise. Remember that a brand is an asset which, if built, managed, and measured accurately, can generate superior returns for a given product, service or organization.

While talent can help you get your business going, your brand will sustain your business. How does your brand stack up?

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