Four Critical Steps that Build Successful Brands

Integrated business branding is more about the whole than a particular part. By definition, branding is a holistic process that is used to build and expand a powerful business-to-business brand.

Trying to do this without a blueprint is like taking a train in Washington, DC, without first surveying the lines and knowing where to connect. I did that once and the results were not pretty!

It’s a weighty assignment to try and cover all of the internal and external communications that are required to develop a winning point of brand sale. Here are four simple steps that you can use to move your brand planning from the starting line to the finish:

Step #1: Research your customers and prospects.

I can hear the moans already! Few people really like doing research, but let me try and spin this a different way. Research isn’t about complex data; rather, it’s about finding out what your customers and prospects truly need and want.

Think of it as a Saturday outing with family. There is a lot to see and even more to learn about your customers and prospects, and the best way to find out what they want is to simply ask them. While you are talking with them, by the way, make sure you find out the following points:

  • What is their process of purchasing a product/service like yours?
  • What is their criteria for making this purchase?
  • What are their deep-seated concerns and barriers that might hold up a purchase?
  • What other products have they been looking at and what do they like and not like about them?

Step #2: Research your management and employee team.

Depending on how large your organization is, you might want to use both executive interviews and employee surveys to accomplish this step. But be sure to use both methods with a representative employee sample to make sure you are truly connecting with staff members. They usually have keen insights into the products they support.

Tom Marin is the managing partner of MarketCues.com 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.

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