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Tom Marin

Building Brands

By Tom Marin

About Tom

Tom Marin is the managing partner of and provides corporate and brand strategy to organizations of all sizes. He has an extensive background in the graphic arts, printing, publishing and media industries. Marin is an accredited member of the national and international chapters of the Business Marketing Assn., is a (CBC) certified business communicator and a past marketing chair of the Chicago chapter.


How Smart is Your Brand Strategy?

The very first step to ‘smart brand strategy’ is to make your brand program work harder so your customers and prospective customers don’t have to.

The litmus test is what you choose to emphasize at the beginning of your brand messaging.

Most brand marketing programs include a value positioning statement such as “Here’s who we are” or “Here’s why we’re important” or “Here’s what you can learn from us.” Although those thoughts generally describe your brand and the overall ideas of it, they make it harder for your customers and prospective customers alike to understand the main idea of your brand.

The reason? The descriptions are so general and so generic that they cause an immediate “WHY” question that forces them to figure out what you are really trying to say. With so many options for information on the Internet today this is not the question you want them to ask. 

Instead, leverage your audience’s short-term imagination and creativity by asking questions such as, “What results do you need?” or “What can we do to help you with your future?” or “Have you thought about using this to change your experience?”

This makes their decision-making much easier and much more interesting. With one or two questions you can perk someone’s interest to read another 100 to 300 words if they think they are going to get what they are interested in.

The principle of ‘smart brand strategy’ is to be simple and to the point. No guessing. No runarounds. No confusing references. Just straight on point messaging that asks questions of your audience and provides equally straightforward answers.

Here’s an exercise you can use to give this simple method a try. Open a brand marketing document you have previously composed and look at all of the information that is provided, and ask yourself, “What is my point?” Summarize it in a single sentence and write a new title that captures just that one point.

When you are done, find the few key points that actually support this one main thought and delete the rest. Your customers will thank you, your prospects will thank you, for being concise and to the point.

If your brand strategy is clear, your brand marketing is clear, then your audience will be clear. And this clarity will bring an immediate connection and relevance between your brand and your audience that will allow them to focus on what they searched for, and what you want to communicate.

Wouldn’t you call that smart brand strategy?
Tom Wants To Hear Your Branding Issues:
Tom Marin, Managing Partner of MarketCues, wants to hear from you! Follow MarketCues on Twitter for branding and social media tips—as well as the latest trends. Tom also welcomes e-mails, new LinkedIn connections, calls to (407) 330-7708 or visit How can he help solve your branding issues?

Note: If you are a printing company or product/services company serving the print-media market, and would like to be considered for a feature in this blog, please contact Tom Marin for an interview.

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