A version of “Branding Success” published in the quarterly publication, Canadian Society of Nutrition Management News
Author: Marty Goldberg, all rights reserved.
Published Fall 2012
What does the word Brand mean? Branding 101
A brand is a collective mental construct – a group of attributes which strongly influences purchase or choice. Brands raise expectations about quality, price, purpose, and performance. They enable marketers to build extra value into products or services and differentiate them from competitors. To be a brand, a product or service must have significant awareness of its brand name, a consistently delivered function, and clear, motivating benefits associated with it.
The important, enduring ideals or beliefs that guide behavior within a culture.
What is promised by a company’s marketing and sales efforts, and then fulfilled by its delivery and customer service processes.
The verbal or written portion of your marketing message that summarizes the main idea – what customers should expect for all interactions with your people, products, services and company – in a few memorable words. It is sometimes called a slogan, tag line or strap line.
The value in a brand is the total of how much extra people will pay, how much more often they will chose to associate themselves with the expectations, memories, stories and relationships of one brand over the alternatives.
Plan to brand, plan to succeed!
Like any complex system to be built and sustained, branding requires planning. At thinkdo, we know a thing or two about planning and building brands. We have worked with Aspirin, Arm and Hammer and the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Earlier this year, we began working with CSNM to strengthen its branding and marketing efforts.
We begin client engagements by reviewing or creating the brand plans – the architecture for the marketing. We agree on Vision, Mission, Value Propositions and Values. We summarize as a Positioning Statement, and then restate as a Brand Promise. See the box at right for some important definitions.
We then write and communicate Brand Stories to our clients’ prospects, customers, employees and influencers; those who will benefit from a closer association with or engagement with the brand. These are our Target Audiences. The Targets we hope will pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word.
Write it down- use the tools!
Marketing professionals use specialized tools to define a brand and plan for marketing activities. These tools help answer the question, “Who says What to Whom, and How”
Before building a brand, you must create or understand its foundations. You describe and collect all of a brand’s attributes and supports, targets and values in writing. I encourage you to use the tools I describe below to position your corporate brand, your department or your professional brand within your organization. Take time to select the words you use to describe your brand. Please take out a fresh sheet of paper and a pen or open a blank document on your computer and work along with me as you continue to read this article.
The Positioning Statement
The Positioning Statement is a unifying, overarching idea that drives the creative messaging and artwork targeted at key audiences. A brand’s positioning defines a differentiated perceptual space relative to the space occupied by its competitors. It is a description of the strategic intent, style, personality, and competencies of the organization and can include both rational and emotional attributes.
The Positioning Statement follows the following format:
To (1. Target Audience), (2. Brand) is the
(3. Frame of Reference) , (4. Delivers the Benefits)
Here is our latest version of CSNM’s Positioning Statement:
|To (1.) members and potential members, (2.) CSNM is the (3.) best resource supporting the Nutrition Management profession in Canada, providing members (4.) clear, simple and proven ways to develop professionally, make contacts within the broader community and find skilled employees or great new job opportunities.|
Identifying your targets
Clearly identifying your priority target audiences – the WHO – is an important step in brand planning. Who are your customers and prospects? Please take a moment now to list your targets. Remember: clients, customers, staff, management, shareholders are common target audiences for marketing messages.
Prioritizing your targets
80% of your success, profits or results will come from focusing on the top 20% of the customers you serve. Revisit your list, and reorder your targets from most to least important to your future.
Frame of Reference
The easiest way to identify your Frame of Reference is to look to your competitors. It is crucial to know how and in which categories of service your competitors present themselves. Check out their web sites, or LinkedIn pages. Think about how they would be classified in the Yellow Pages™ – or what terms someone would use to find them online. Review the words they use to describe themselves. Now write down your brand’s frame of reference.
Developing your message – Getting to WHAT
How do you decide WHAT to say? Think about each targets you listed above. In a professional sense, consider internal and external customers; your boss, your staff. Think about the people, patients, customers, clients you serve. Now list the benefits of your service to them, by describing the firm foundation that already exists for your Brand Stories, rooted in your Values. Capture the benefits your targets derive from working with you.
Don’t just write down WHAT THEY GET – the features, but how it makes them FEEL. Restate the WHAT THEY GET with a BENEFIT. For example, the regular service your professional brand delivers in the workplace may be: rolling up weekly food expenditures in a budget for your organization through your manager. You track the inputs, review the content, prepare the budget, customize the report and send it by email. This is a functional description of your service. It is important to be able to describe the functional service you perform, but it is not enough. It is more powerful to describe the benefit the target audience derives from your service delivery. Imagine instead, describing the WHAT THEY GET like this – “Providing accurate information so your internal customers can make informed decisions in the best interest of your organization”. This is a BENEFIT focused approach to stating the functional service your brand offers.
What are the BENEFITS of the professional services you provide as a nutrition manager? WRITE ‘EM DOWN!
Once you have listed what you think are the BENEFITS of your BRAND, do a reality check. Find out what your customers actually think you do – in their own words. Do a little research. Have a frank, face-to-face discussion with the clients to whom you feel closest. What do your customers get out of their interactions with you? Get them to describe the tangible expression of value – how your service delivery makes them feel? If a less direct approach suits your style, ask some questions using a free online tool. Share the benefits you have listed with stakeholders you trust (your partner, colleague or boss). Get their input. Finalize the descriptions of the BENEFITS you deliver.
Get Ready to Tell Your Stories
Your next step is to write your own Brand Story. This will help others more easily define how great you are, why you should be sought out above your competitors. Every product or service needs a story, as does every brand. Stories could be about the product’s history, the vision of the founders, or a unique experience the brand delivers. These stories provide value and help consumers remember and relate to the brand in language and imagery that is meaningful to them. What is the idealized experience you wish your customers would have? How would they benefit from your service delivery? What personal attributes will your customers remember? How can you emphasize them? Start with your Positioning Statement – and shorten it to create a Brand Promise – Lengthen and customize it for different Targets and you are writing your Brand Stories.
CSNM’s Brand Story:
|In today’s competitive economy, institutions and organizations are challenged to provide the optimal quality and quantities of nutritious food to their clients at the best cost.The best resource supporting the Nutrition Management profession in Canada, CSNM successfully communicates the vital role the Nutrition Manager plays, raising the profile of its members and the profession as a whole. The hub for Nutrition Management expertise, CSNM provides members clear, simple and proven ways to stay on top of their professional development, make contacts within the broader community and find skilled employees or great new job opportunities.Members are passionately aware of the importance of their profession and, through CSNM, are empowered to lead as ambassadors in their communities, managing multigenerational, ethnically diverse staff, educating employers, investing in students, and advocating for like-minded colleagues to join the ranks.As a result, the welcoming member community is the ‘must-join’ associationfor aspiring Nutrition Managers, has an actively growing member base and is sought out by the best employers.|