The Seven Steps to Brand Parenthood
Every new brand needs its own gestation period. And we carefully nurture your brand through all of the critical, formative stages that determine who it is, what it looks like and what it wants to be when it grows up.
Then we ride with you on the frantic drive to launch and deliver your bouncing, baby brand to the marketplace as painlessly as possible. We tell everyone who will listen how overjoyed you are, why your brand is the best brand ever conceived, and why it is destined for greatness. Heck, we even hand out cigars.
But that’s just the beginning.
Your brand has an authentic, full and productive life ahead of it. We work with you constantly to develop, grow and mature your brand. We make sure it has every advantage, stays healthy, makes friends, keeps its nose clean, works hard, plays hard, laughs, loves and lives up to its true potential.
Our 7-step Brand Development Process brings your brand to life and to a lifetime of opportunity. It works for companies that are:
- Creating their brands and preparing for initial launch
- Developing and launching new products and services
- Growing and need to re-brand and re-launch in larger markets
- Acquiring or consolidating various business units
- Expanding into new markets or sectors
- Seeking a greater return on their marketing and branding investments
We believe in beginning at the beginning and investing the time, effort and care necessary to give your brand the best possible chance for a lifetime of success.
But, depending on how far along your brand is when you contact us, you might not need to undertake all seven steps. Our process can be adapted to accommodate almost any situation, timeline and budget.
We invite you to discover how our 7-step Brand Development Process brings your brand to life in the marketplace and into the daily lives of your customers. It also makes you the smartest, proudest “brandparents” in the world.
Step 1: Discover
Our Brand Development Process begins with the Strategic Discovery Session (SDS), which includes the BRAND team, client leaders and key allies, experts and advisors.
We basically get a room and get all tangled up for three days of probing questions, revealing discussions and passionate debates. And we all get to know each other. Not quite in the biblical sense, but pretty damn close.
We also get to know a whole lot about your company – its history, structure, people, products, services, industry, markets, competition, consumers, values, objectives and more.
- We assess your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
- We determine your all-important Brand DNA – the essential building blocks that inform and support all of your brand’s decisions, strategies, tactics, assets and messages.
- We begin developing your Core Brand Identity – it’s mission, vision, value proposition(s) and brand personality. This identity will define who your brand is, what it stands for and what it will become.
- We brainstorm the business, marketing and sales strategies that position your brand for immediate and long-term success.
Building a brand is hard work. And the SDS is an exhaustive experience. But if you’re serious about discovering and realizing all of the raw, untapped potential of your brand, it’s also an enlightening and invaluable experience.
The SDS yields a massive amount of insights and wealth of innovative ideas that establish how your brand will:
- Be presented, perceived and sold in the marketplace
- Capture and grow market share
- Create meaningful, profitable and lasting relationships with customers
And it makes all of the other steps in the Brand Development Process far easier and more effective.
Step 2: Personify
A great brand is far more than a flashy logo. It does far more than simply sit on the shelf and look good. A great brand reaches out to consumers, interacts with them, gets to know them and becomes an important part of their lives. It fulfills their wants and needs, and brings real value to their lives.
So, if you want to build a great brand, it must be more than just another logo, another “something” that consumers need to buy. It must be a unique “someone” that consumers need to know.
Your brand must be someone credible, interesting and meaningful. Someone who makes a positive first impression and a lasting personal connection with individual consumers. Someone who understands them and relates to them. Someone who earns their respect, commitment and trust.
A logo can’t do that. Only a person can do that.
This step in the Brand Development Process defines your brand as a real person with its own heart, spirit and voice. We create its brand personality, its unique personal story. We give it the character, qualities and values that attract its target customers, stimulate interaction, create relationships and inspire loyalty.
Step 3: Strategize
You don’t just send a brand off into the cold, cruel marketplace and say, “Good luck, kiddo!” Responsible brandparents want a reliable, detailed roadmap that guides their brand through every conceivable twist and turn on the road to success.
So, we create a comprehensive Strategic Marketing Plan (SMP) that specifies the strategies and tactics required to take your brand from market launch to market leadership. And we fully prepare it to meet every challenge and seize every opportunity along the way.
Our SMP gives your brand the clear vision and direction it needs to get from Huggies to Harvard to the Hall of Fame. The intelligence to outsmart the competition and achieve its goals.
Step 4: Realize
OK, let’s review. To this point, we’ve defined and developed your brand’s DNA, as well as its heart, spirit, voice and mind. But, in order for your brand to finally become a real person, it needs one more very important thing. Something consumers can see, hear, touch and even smell. Can you guess?
Your brand needs a body that stands alone and stands apart from everybody else in the marketplace. A body that makes all of your brand’s unique personality, character, qualities and brilliance visible and accessible to the world. One that compels consumers to take notice, take interest and take time to learn more about your brand.
In this step, we create your brand assets – your logo, your mark (think Nike’s swoosh or McDonald’s golden arches) and other ”key brand equities” (like The Michelin Man or Coke’s iconic bottle). This “body” of work is the primary way consumers and the rest of the world recognize your brand and differentiate it from all others.
It also determines the look and feel of your brand’s other marketing assets from business cards and billboards, packaging and POS displays, swag and sales collateral to web pages, social media pages, ad pages and more.
This is where we actually bring you brand to life. From this point on, it speaks to consumers in all of your marketing messages and materials across all communication channels. It appears at every consumer touch point. Its heart is in your customer service and its spirit is in your customer experience. And its values represent your company in your industry, the marketplace and the Media.
Your brand takes on a life and a lifestyle that empowers it to stand out from the crowd, make friends, have fun, build relationships and do business.
Step 5: Relate
We all know people who talk all the time. They’re all about, “my life, my opinions, my problems, my needs.” It’s all, “me, me, me.” They talk so much they don’t even realize that nobody’s listening and nobody gives a rat’s asteroid about what they’re saying.
We all know brands like this, too. They talk “at” us instead of “with” us. They’re stuck on telling us about how amazing they are, how happy we’ll be if we buy, buy, buy them and how much we really need them.
Problem is, customers don’t really need brands. But brands do really need customers.
In order for a brand to be really needed, it has to become an integral and indispensable part of a customer’s life. Sure, there are certain things customers can’t do without – food, clothing and shelter. But, those are products.
Your brand is a person. So, what kind of person do customers really need?
First of all, they need someone who knows when to shut up and listen. They need someone who knows them, understands them and cares about them. Someone who shares a deep, personal and meaningful connection with them. Someone they believe in. Someone they trust.
They need friends, family and colleagues. And does your brand.
We help your brand build long-term trust relationships that mean something and have real value to you and your customers. We create interesting content that makes a real difference to your customers. We strike up stimulating conversations that involve them in the life of your brand. We seek their opinions, contributions, participation and partnership.
We make sure your brand relates to every customer. And we make sure every customer understands the value and benefits of a relationship with your brand.
Step 6: Engage
No two people are the same and no two brands are the same. But all brands have the same career. They all work in sales and service.
Your brand must be prepared to knock on doors and shake hands with new prospects. It must deliver the goods beyond expectations and prove itself worthy of every precious relationship. It must serve each customer as if he or she is the only customer. All day. Every day.
We understand sales and service. So, we develop and implement irresistible offers, inventive promotions and bulletproof tactics that make sure your brand brings home the bacon. Every day.
We create a peak brand experience that turns prospects into customers, customers into believers and believers into loyal allies.
Step 7: Grow
People are always changing and growing. So is your brand. There are always new lessons to learn, new roads to travel and new objectives to reach. Your brand is never satisfied with meeting or even exceeding expectations. It can always do better. It’s always asking, “What’s next?”
We constantly measure, evaluate and improve your brand’s performance. We make sure it anticipates and adapts to changing conditions in the marketplace and evolving customer needs and preferences. And if something’s broke, you better believe we’ll figure it out and fix it. Fast.
They say if something’s not growing, it’s dying. Our goal and the purpose of our entire 7-step Brand Development Process is to create a brand that can grow exponentially throughout its lifetime. A brand that delivers a lifetime of benefits to your customers and your company.