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Brand development

Creating customer craving

Even though a plethora of studies point to the financial advantages a strong brand has on the bottom line (think Apple’s enviable margins and share price), the subject of branding—and how to go about enhancing a company’s brand—often generates consternation. It sounds “fuzzy” and unaccountable.

It doesn’t need to be that way.

Brand development can—and should—be addressed and measured in a rigorous manner. Smart branding also requires common sense and a willingness to deeply understand your target audience from the eyes of the target audience.

And there is one more thing needed—to make sure we are talking about the same thing.  After all, “brand” is an overused and misused term. Some think a brand is the company’s logo. It’s not, although the logo (hopefully) helps provide a short-handed way for consumers to identify the brand. Similarly, it’s not the tagline, the mission statement, or the advertising—although all of those are contribute to the brand.

Brand is more fundamental and ethereal than the physical manifestations of logos, taglines and advertisements. It is the promise, i.e. the expectation of experience, your company connotes whenever someone encounters you—whether that is seeing a logo or tagline, using your product or service, or interacting with anyone from the CEO to the receptionist at your company.

Perception is reality. And your brand is nothing but the perception of you in the marketplace. Brands exist in the mind and heart.

That is not to say that you can no longer master your brand. You can, but to master it you also must understand how your prospective and existing customers see you so that you can adjust accordingly to make sure that their perceptions align with how you want to be perceived.

So how do you influence the brand to be what you want it to be—to have prospective and existing customers craving what you offer?

Customer-craving brandingTM begins with gaining a fresh understanding of how others—your target audience and others in the marketplace—perceive and experience you. This is accomplished by applying a marketing audit, and then overlaying that analysis with a series of internal and external exercises designed to uncover and codify gaps so those gaps can be filled.

The subsequent insights gleaned provide the means to understand how to make the seemingly complex simple and elegant, how to differentiate rather than merely match and commoditize, and how to craft a roadmap to prioritize the actions needed to propel you ahead with a brand that rings true.

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