Brand Is Everything!

It determines who will buy from you, how much they will pay, how soon they will trust you, and how long they will stay.

-David Betke-

Brands Basics

What Is 
Brand To You?

Let's shake it up and begin with what a brand is not. Your brand is not your logo or your pretty website.  

Your brand is the movie that begins playing in peoples' heads when they see your logo, website, or any time your name enters their head.

Your brand is ultimately a promise you make customers and employees, combined with their perception of how well you live up to that promise.  Every marketing touch point and every customer service interaction is either an opportunity to reinforce or break your promise... and influence the movie playing in their heads.

I'm sure you want your movie to be a blockbuster instead of straight to cable.

Why Should You Take 
Brand Seriously?


The answer is simple: to make your competition invisible; to be the first and if possible, only choice; to connect with your customers so deeply they become raving fans; and if you are really successful your brand becomes part of their identity.

Leading brands command more market share. They get better projects at higher margins, easier, because people identify with them and trust them naturally.

This is why car dealerships get wealthy and the independent garage mechanic is always busy but will always be trading his time for money. It is why the well-branded spa will always command higher prices and higher margins than the independent therapist. It is why the franchise owner can let the shop run itself, while the independent owner has to close and give up revenue if they want to take a vacation.

Great brands create loyal fans that talk about them more and share their love with others they influence.

How Does Brand Fit Into The Marketing Equation?

As we see it, marketing and brand are inseparable. They are part of a 5-segment loop that feeds back into itself. Every element is essential. Together they form a holistic marketing system that will bring your brand to life and make the most out of every marketing dollar you invest.

The First Segment Is Your Brand Foundation- Your Brand's Beating Heart


Your foundation is the epicenter of all of your marketing. This is your brand's beating heart.  

We use a 12 step process to help you create the foundation of your brand based on the knowledge you presently have of your market (including your customers and competition). 

The foundational pieces of your brand are ultimately what will connect with the hearts of your audience. They are what will set you apart from everyone else vying for their time, money, and attention. They will determine who will be attracted to you, why they should care, and why they will move beyond curiosity to action. 

If you gloss over the foundational elements you are essentially releasing a brand with no heart... a zombie brand!  It won’t matter how much money you spend on traffic and attention, your zombie brand is all your audience will see. And they will most likely flee to your competition before you even have a chance to explain what a difference you can make in their lives. 

However, when you invest time, and yes ... heart, into building a human foundation for your brand, you will have a brand that connects to living breathing humans. Foundational elements include a HUMAN vision, mission and core values, but also extend into brand intent and sensory brand queues.

The Second Segment Is Your Marketing Process- 
Your Brand's Thinking Brains


The second segment is your marketing process. This is the funnel that moves people from interest to action. Your marketing process is your brand's thinking brain.

Many of you invested time, money and hair into your foundation, the beating heart of your brand. You expressed your vision in human terms, how you will achieve it, who you need to recruit to help you, and your ideal audience. You pealed back the layers and researched who your REAL competition is; you’ve staked your position and created your brand guide. But when it came time to animate your brand and set it free to meet all of those new customers, you forgot it's brains?

Unfortunately, marketing processes, your brand's brains, seem to be an after-thought for most organization. Because they are not as sexy as tactics, they skip straight over processes to the attention getting new shiny things.  But processes are what will make the difference between your brand happily smiling and throwing $100 bills into the wind, or a brand that knows exactly what each $100 bill you invest in is leading to.

Process is what moves people from passive attention, to active interest, to engagement and then bankable action. Process is what gets the people who were attracted to your trade show booth, your website, your content... to take the next step that will attract them into your orbit... and then to take subsequent steps that will help you reach your brand's ultimate goals. 

The strategies you employ and the processes you create will determine how well you are moving people through your actions funnel and which tactics/traffic sources are working best. A great process always includes a hook, a big picture, a call to action, a reason to take that action, and how to take the next step. 

Automating your processes can save enormous amounts of time, money and hair. It also fills the many cracks that your audience may be slipping through.

The Third Segment Is Your Content & Tactics- 
Your Brand's Welcoming Arms


The third segment is your tactics. This is what attracts people to your brand and into your process, or funnel. Your tactics are your brand's pheromones, smiling face and open arms.

Tactics generate traffic. They are what attracts people to your messages and pulls them into the open arms of your smiling new brand. They are the first contact most people will make with your brand.  They are what attract traffic into your process, but be aware!  A smiling face without a beating heart is just a zombie in disguise. 

Many businesses skip to this attention getting phase before creating a welcoming brand, and a process that converts attention into the right kind of action. The result is endless frustration chasing attention that goes nowhere. 

You MUST HAVE the foundation and process pieces in place in order for your content and tactics to actually work. Content is not limited to advertising and promotion. It includes all the copy, and all the creative in every marketing touch point including your website, your blog posts, your business cards and even your promotional products. 

Content is how your brand expresses itself. It is the hand you hold out to people to guide them through your process. It is the vivid picture you describe that makes them want to take your hand and follow you across the bridge to the promise land you described in your vision. 

Your website, and landing pages, will most likely be your most important content. They are often the first AND last place someone visits before they take that singular action you want them to take. Unfortunately most sites either trap visitors in a one-sided conversation, or merely scratch the surface of their visitor’s wants, needs or desires. They talk about how to treat the immediate symptom but rarely offer advice on the core issues that are causing their visitor’s pain, anguish and sleepless nights. 

Many sites are written by a tech or designer and are not purposefully written to convert visitors into an active and engaged audience that will either join you, hire you or rave about you. If your website, your business cards, or your promotional products fail to connect, ask people to do something specific, and then start drawing them into your orbit ... you brand will still lumber along as that 1/2 alive 1/2 conscious zombie monster that will push your prospects towards your competition.

The Fourth Segment Is The Right Metrics- 
Your Brand's Senses


The fourth segment is the right metrics. This is what measure what is working and what is not. Your metrics are proof that you have a brand that is connecting with the right people and getting them to do something meaningful like joining you, buying from you or raving about you.

Metrics are about counting how many people are running FROM you, and how many are running TO you. 

Measuring if something is working is one of the most important activities in marketing. Yet too many businesses fail to dedicate the time to do it, don't know how... or worse, focus on metrics such as LIKES, VIEWS and IMPRESSIONS. All of these are great for your ego, but you can’t eat likes. If you don’t measure how well each of your marketing investments is performing how will you know what’s working, and what’s not?

We can’t tell you how many of our early client’s would have considered a trade show a success if they had 500 eager people coming to their table and walking away with their free swag, or 1000 people putting their business cards into a draw for the grand prize. No one seems to care if a single one of those people knew who they were, what they did, or even had the remotest need for their products or services. Others had been over the moon when 100 people watched their video. But for all they knew it could have been their mother and her pet chihuahua hitting the play button 99 times. You get the picture.

Engagement and shares on social media are good benchmarks that give you macro insights into how AN audience is reacting to your messages. However if the demographic data is too broad the insights you gain becomes less useful. 

I personally like to focus on measuring actions towards a goal. Leads are great, qualified leads are better, bankable action is best. Having an audience is amazing, but remember zombies attract audiences to. What you want is an engaged audience with a high proportion of advocates.

The Fifth Segment Is Interpreting Your Data- 
Your Brand's IQ


The fifth segment is interpreting your data. This is the all-important who and what. It is the result of both your process and your metrics. Data is what will be fed back into your marketing foundation to make your brand's heart beat even louder. 
Data is our most powerful tool as marketers but it can also turn against us if we don't take the time to look deeper and apply insights.

Great decisions are based on great data and investing the time to interpret that data. The most common error with data is only interpreting it superficially. Here’s a great example: 

A client exhibited at 3 shows in a year. The cost of each averaged $25 000. 

They had a full-page ad in a trade magazine for $18000/ year and an annual client open house which averaged $20 000 per year. 

Trade Show 1 generated 18 new leads
Trade Show 2 generated 34 new leads  
Trade Show 3 generated 8 new leads
The Trade Publication (no idea)
The Open House generated 6 new referrals

Looking at the surface data most would conclude that Trade show #2 was the best investment and resounding winner, that the ad was a failure, and that the open house was a marginal venture. But when we pulled back the layers of the onion, here is what emerged:

Trade Show 1 generated 12 qualified leads
Trade Show 2 generated 4 qualified leads
Trade Show 3 generated 8 qualified leads
The Trade Publication  (still no idea) 
Open House 6 referrals 

The real data started showing a MUCH different picture. The show that was considered a resounding success was now actually considered the dog and the two they were considering dropping were looking like the big winners. The trade magazine still looked marginal at best. 

But wait! It gets better.

Once we implemented a “process” we uncovered even more data for the next year because we tagged those qualified leads, and where they came from, then followed them through to see which touch point was generating the most bankable actions. To make a long story short, once they started measuring the right things they found, in this case, that the ad in the trade magazine was performing much better than previously thought. They stopped exhibiting at 2 of the trade shows and diverted the savings to focus more on their brand, their customer journey and their advocates. 

Good decisions come from good data and finding the true insights in that data.

And this is all fed back into the continual loop. The better information we get, the better decisions we make, the more we connect with our clients, the better data we get. 

The process continually improves connection and wastes less time, money and energy.

To discuss setting up the process in your business

Think Harley Davidson, Apple (especially under Steve Jobs), or Lululemon. People identify themselves through each of these brands.

If you are a loyal Harley customer you think of yourself as different, a rebel, even though your day job may be in a suit behind a desk. 

When you owned an apple you were a creative independent thinker apart from all the drones.

Wearing Lululemon makes you somehow feel spiritual and enlightened like you could break into a downward dog or sun salutation at any moment.

Whether these are true or not, they are how many people feel and more importantly they believe that their connection with that brand will say something to others about them.

A brand that becomes the mirror that your customer sees themselves in, one that becomes part of their identity, is a brand destined for greatness.

Make your appointment for a free 15 minute discussion here