Marketing & Branding
Positioned for success
Interviewed by Elizabeth Grace Saunders
How to create customer loyalty through strategic branding and positioning
n a world where business as usual is no about talking at your customers, it is about
I longer usual, you need to know how to talking with your customers. By talking and
drive growth despite the down econo- listening to your key stakeholders, you can
my. Branding and positioning can help understand where they place you in your
your business thrive in the midst of change. marketplace. Employee retention, premium
“Your product or service fills a need,” says pricing, increased traffic or leads, and
Bo Bothe, President and Chief Creative reduced cost of sales are metrics you can
Officer of BrandExtract. “A clear position examine to gauge the effectiveness of your
defines the need for consumers.” brand.
Smart Business asked Bothe how to
What are the first steps in developing and
assess, develop and strengthen your brand
implementing a brand strategy?
and position to capture a larger market share.
Why are branding and positioning essential To begin, you need to understand that
to business growth? today you don’t own your brand — you man-
age it. True competition now comes from the
Effective branding helps a company bond clutter in the marketplace. Consumers have
with its customers in a way that builds loyal- more confusion than confidence around the
ty and differentiation. When a brand really products and services they consider buying.
President and Chief Creative Officer
‘connects,’ it not only creates a barrier for Here is a basic outline of how to effectively
competitor entry but also develops a premi- build and manage a valuable brand:
um situation where consumers perceive a Assess your position in the market-
higher product value, such as Apple. When a place. A brand assessment is critical in defin-
brand emanates from an organization’s mis- ing the right place to start, identifying gaps in
How does positioning differ from branding?
sion, it reflects marketplace value and com- expectations, and defining how you will
municates and operates in a manner that sup- measure the effectiveness of your marketing
Your position is where your company and
ports that position. A position is the essence and sales groups. Do people know and iden-
product intersect with your target market.
of what a brand stands for and when clearly tify us correctly? Are our products and serv-
Positioning is capturing the story your
defined, it is easier for the consumer to make ices relevant? What is the current market
organization has to tell and packaging it in
the correct decision. opportunity?
a consistent and memorable way that con-
Develop the tools you need. Determine
nects with the audience and explains how
What are some of the possible outcomes of your position in the marketplace: What space
you will fulfill their need. On the other
an effective branding campaign? do we want to own? How will we communi-
hand, branding is the experience your con-
cate this effectively to our target audience?
sumers have with the product or service.
Goals for any branding initiative should be Then, a marketing plan should outline the
The more unique the position, the easier it
defined at the onset. What equates to success tactics needed to achieve these goals and
is for the brand to stand alone. Companies
will be different for every organization, but objectives. Finally, you need a visual ‘tool kit’
that actually stand for something rather than
the following are examples of results good to effectively and cohesively communicate
everything tend to succeed in building tangi-
branding initiatives achieve: your brand’s position and value proposition.
ble brand value. IBM, Coca-Cola, Google and
I Clear differentiation and value Track your results and know when to
Apple are examples of companies that peo-
proposition reassess. You’ll have to decide who is
ple connect with. For these brands, success
I Customers purchasing your product accountable and how to measure effective-
comes from more than the product they sell;
faster and for a premium ness based on key indicators outlined in
it is the experience they provide that gives
I More focused and efficient operations the assessment phase. You’ll also need to
them an edge.
I The right customers and prospective determine key times, survey tools and
employees knocking at your door other opportunities to gather information
How can you evaluate the effectiveness of
I Your entire organization knowing what about the perception of the brand in the
your current brand?
you do and ‘selling’ for you marketplace. This continual process will
I You connect immediately because guide you on whether you need to adjust or
Listen frequently. Take action often. A
people know what you stand for alter your position. <<
brand should be a conversation. It is not
I Improved insulation between down
cycles and negative news BO BOTHE is the President and Chief Creative Officer of BrandExtract, an integrated branding and communications firm that guides
I Improved perception and increased growing companies by providing strategic branding solutions, marketing communications, advertising, print and interactive services.
firm value Reach him at email@example.com or (713) 942-7959 or go to the company’s Web site at www.brandextract.com.
Insights Marketing & Branding is brought to you by BrandExtract
22 Smart Business Dallas | April 2009