Your brand is a living, dynamic being. As time passes, and your company evolves, your brand needs to evolve with it.
How many times have you heard statements like these from customers:
- “Oh, I didn’t know you offered that?”
- “I had no idea you were working on such large projects.”
- “I gave the project to so and so because I didn’t think you had worked in that geography.”
- "Well I gave it to that other company because they were the most outgoing and excited firm we interviewed.”
- “I really connected with their culture as a company, it’s a lot more like ours.”
What these comments are reflecting are the logical and emotional components of a brand. It's time to do a brand check-up for your firm. Let's get started!
1: Talk to Your Audiences
Your brand doesn’t live within the four walls of your company. Your brand lives in the mind of your prospects, customers, employees and media. Begin with the first three; that's where you need to go to get an accurate picture of how you’re perceived. This is best done through a third party. Many marketing agencies offer “Voice of the Customer” services.
Develop questionnaires that investigate what your target thinks you stand for as a company, ask them how they would describe their interactions with you, how you do business, what you do when problems arise, how they would personify your company, who they view as the leader in the category for the services you offer and why, and so on.
When you see the collated answers, you’ll have a picture of how your brand is viewed in the market.
2: Conduct a Competitive Analysis
Look into how your brand is comparing with your competitors. How are they messaging themselves? What is their offering? What value-added services do they present? What is their positioning?
Take a deep dive and then look at how you compare. Do you differentiate or are you looking like a ‘me too’? The next step is to determine how well you are presenting your uniqueness.
If you are presenting yourself well but truly are the same as your competitors, then it’s time to look at how you can authentically serve your customers with new products, services, tools, advice–whatever is needed to separate yourself from the crowd.
3: Check Your Brand Positioning
Your brand occupies a place in the mind of your target customer. How crowded that place is defines the difficulty you’ll have in breaking through, getting into your target’s purchase consideration, and winning their business.
Brand positioning types are used to place your brand in a specific place in your audiences’ minds. They are varied, focusing on different strategic positions from which your brand can operate. They include focusing on your target (target-driven), to competitive, features and benefits, aspirational, value, and emotional/psychological.
Choose a positioning that is authentic to your brand but can hold a unique or less crowded space in your target’s mind. You’ll spend less marketing dollars to get differentiation in your market.
4: Check Your Messaging
Is your messaging aligned with who your brand is today? If not, you’re only confusing your audience. Is it consistent? Are you using the same language to describe your brand, products and services?
Get your messaging aligned and consistent, and your brand will be better perceived in the market.
5: Are You Maintaining Your Center?
What is the core of your brand? Are you leveraging that center or are you focusing on offshoots?
Check that you are true to the core of who you are and what you do. This level of focus makes you an expert in your field.
6: Are You Maintaining Relevance With Your Audience?
When your audience is looking for your product or service, do they think of you? Who do they think of first? Why? Determine where you are misaligned and refocus to re-establish relevance with your audience on your key offerings.
7: Is Your Brand Striking an Emotional Chord?
Whether people like to admit it or not, people's emotions affect their decisions. What emotion is your brand currently evoking, and how do you want people to feel about your brand? Emotion - either positive or negative - can be a powerful force in your audience deciding to purchase your products or services. Determine what emotions will be the most impactful for your company, and target your brand's storytelling and messaging around them.
8: Check Your Marketing Materials, Brand Mark and Tagline
Do a brand audit and check to see if your materials, brand mark and tagline are accurately reflecting who you are as a company. If they are out of line, update them after you have a clear picture of who your brand is today. Getting your materials aligned supports a clear picture of your brand in the marketplace.
Your Brand Is What You Make It
These are the same techniques professional marketers use to keep brands aligned with where their company, prospects, and customers are today. Follow these techniques to keep your brand aligned, and take your corner of the construction industry by storm.
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