As a Sales And Marketing Director, its very critical for you to understand developing brand strategy is extremely critical. The most important asset your company has is its brand. Quite simply, it drives the direction of your business. So you should definitely have a well thought out brand strategy in place.
Increasing competition in business develops similar products with good quality from different manufacturers. But only an effective, innovative and Supply Chain & planning can make your business and products more popular.
For your profession as Sales And Marketing Director it becomes your responsibility to stay connected with like-minded supporting industry experts who can guide and help you deal with your day to day work issues.
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If you are entrepreneurial in nature owning a business is very exciting adventure. It can also be the most difficult thing for you to get into if you are not prepared.
Do you ever think of selling your company one day?
Even if you don't believe you would ever sell your business, brand consistency, promise, experience and image are vital to the success of your company. I've heard it many times from small business owners that they can't make a significant investment in branding because of lack of funds. I've also heard entrepreneurs say that they don't see the point; it's not like they're a global company like Nike. Still, others believe that by creating a distinct brand strategy, promise and experience, it may limit opportunities to make money from a broader audience.
If you're an entrepreneur that thinks that way, I ask you to reconsider. The branding of your company, even if you've been in operation for a week, is vital to your success.
Early Days of McDonald's
Have you ever seen McDonald's with a purple logo or anything other the golden arches? When you walk into a McDonald's anywhere in the world, you know what you're getting, and if you patronize those restaurants, that is precisely the reason why you do it.
Ray Kroc, who was a 54-year-old salesman and still looking for an opportunity that would inspire him came to learn about the restaurant of Dick and Mac McDonald who had developed a process for the food that delivered it to the customer within 30 seconds. This was a huge deal and the beginning of the fast food industry. However, when they just started working together, they were missing a broader vision and brand strategy.
Early McDonald's Mistake
It was Kroc who envisioned the opportunity to create a food company that was wholly American. In partnership with the McDonald brothers, he started operating out of the Midwest and the brothers in California. At first, Kroc created a franchise model to expand the company and grow it to scale quickly across the U.S., but he made a mistake--it lacked the high-quality and overall consistency regarding the entire operation and systems that the McDonald brothers had developed in California.
Once Kroc and the McDonald brothers were able to bring control and consistency on the whole of the operation, from the brand promise, experience, image, to the services, activities, and services, it was only then that the McDonald restaurants started to develop. What Kroc ultimately brought to the McDonald's picture is that consistent strategy across all of the franchises. That is why you have never seen a McDonald brand image be anything other than the golden arches. With McDonald's, what you see is what you get.
When the entire operation of McDonald's was consistent across the board, and a customer in California received the same service and experience as another customer in the Midwest, it was only then that the McDonald's brand started to get traction.
Benefits of Brand Consistency
When your business is consistent with the brand promise, experience and image of your company, in its entirety, your target audience and customers understand:
- They are going to benefit from your business because they know--clearly--the value that your company offers them through your products and services.
- Your customers will know what to expect from a brand that is consistent; it's not a guessing game, which will mean they will put their money down because they understand the offering.
- Customers, especially in the digital age with social media sharing and comments, will be able to communicate your brand (it's promise, experience, and image) because you are consistent in presenting yourself.
- When customers understand your brand promise, image and experience, they are willing to pay for the value of what your products or services offer them.
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Through business relationships and experience sharing in confidential settings for Sales And Marketing Director, we strive to create personal and business value for all our network peers.
Consumers perceive and accept many brands within a certain trade group in different ways. By personifying a brand (How would you describe brand X if it were a person?) we can find out, that for instance consumers perceive brand A as a young, impulsive, lively, attractive, energetic woman full of ideas. In the same way could brand B be an elderly, conservative and relaxed man. The brand can also have a completely inexpressive and bad image. That is how brand C may not have any real personal characteristics, slim, tall, unnoticeable and calm.
The image basically expresses a way a consumer thinks about the brand and the feelings the brand arouses when the consumer thinks about it. On the basis of these characteristics, which the consumer associates with the brand, the company can build a competitive advantage for its brand.
What sort of image should our brand have?
Before answering this question it is important to take into account several factors and market circumstances: company goals, consumer wishes and expectations, trade groups and several other groups. A company builds its brand image through trade communication with its consumers. That is how a company informs the consumer of what the brand represents, what its values are, what the company is offering or guaranteeing the consumer, what its advantages are, its qualities etc. The consumers interpret all obtained information and form a subjective perception of the brand or its image.
Why research the brand image?
Understanding a brand image is of key importance to long-term management of a brand. It is also important how the consumers formed the brand and what kind of relationship was formed with the brand - what the brand means to them and how they have accepted it. Understanding the relationship between consumers and brands can help a company control its successful brand positioning and the efficiency of advertising.
How do we research the image?
The brand image is formed in the long-term and represents a non-conscious and "untouchable" area, which needs to be researched using projective researching methods that help the consumer to overcome certain obstacles and limitations as well helping him to be inspired in the world of brand names. The consumer does therefore not only focus on the brand, but mainly on his experience with it and on its usual users. He focuses on the opportunities, which are most suitable for the specific brand and what sort of image the brand presents etc.
We are able to research and describe the brand from various perspectives. We obtain many different associations, ideas, benefits and people whom the consumer in some way connects to brands, which need to be suitably and correctly interpreted. It is important to define the key characteristics and values, which are connected to a specific brand by the consumer. Relevant findings show results of long-term management of a brand and represent key dimensions on which the competitive advantage of a brand is based.
Networking has always been considered a powerful tool for improving business prospects, advancing a career, and developing ideas. Other than some brief, structured events, networking has been mostly informal and inexpensive in comparison to cost they otherwise spend on different channels. But membership is growing in many formal, long-term networking groups, and so is the price tag.
Our groups are not groups for generating sales leads, nor are they places where individuals can drop-in to gain quick advice on an immediate challenge. Members also sign a confidentiality agreement and benefits from the guided mentoring to help each other.
These groups include an experienced facilitator and use a structured discussion method to ensure appropriate participation.