Sun Startup Essentials Marketing Masterclass

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Brand strategy is one of the most fraught areas of marketing, though also one of the most important. As a Startup it's often the element that gets left behind and not really identified. But how can you tell an investor what business you are in, if you don't really know yourself? It's a vital step in creating the company identity.

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Sun Startup Essentials Marketing Masterclass

  1. 1. Unlocking your brand Getting the basics right as you enter your market © Michael Bayler 2009
  2. 2. What I mean by brand … Coca-Cola is of course a hugely popular sticky brown liquid, that’s not very good for you. The Coca-Cola brand – the bit that isn’t directly anything to do with the manufacture or distribution of the liquid – has been valued at about $80bn. (But how much does the brand have to do with the enjoyment of the consumption of Coke the liquid? A good question!) Your brand is both intimately connected, and nothing to do, with what you produce day-to-day … It’s out there, talking about you when you’re not in the room. And what use is an ambassador who has nothing to say? In this sense, branding can be viewed as the discipline concerned with managing all of the key ideas associated with your business. © Michael Bayler 2009
  3. 3. Developing the logic of your brand © Michael Bayler 2009
  4. 4. What business … are you REALLY in? In that context, what's your positioning? Given that positioning – who are your real competitors? Can you crisply define and communicate the compelling value you offer? Who are your key stakeholders? Which are most important, and at which stage of your growth? What are your core and secondary product and/or service propositions? Having established all the above, are you able - briefly and in plain language - to communicate your differentiated and powerful branding to clients, partners, media and investors? © Michael Bayler 2009
  5. 5. Your business? © Michael Bayler 2009
  6. 6. success 3 x T 2 1 y © Michael Bayler 2009
  7. 7. Believe it or not … Converting the development of your business into value, revolves around moving it forwards between axes x and y, along the timeline T. Once you’ve had your Big Idea and decided that yes, you can build it, everything from that point on – everything – depends on this terribly simple challenge. For a giant telco client of mine, their B2B positioning in broadband revolved around, over time, Transforming The Brand Experiences of Their Clients’ Consumers (the x axis), while Helping Their Clients Rationalise Their Internal Processes (the y axis). Notice what’s missing? Nothing here about Data, Speed, Robustness, Security and so on. These concerns were of course critical to the How, nothing to do with the What. © Michael Bayler 2009
  8. 8. success 3? Transform Consumer T 2? Experience 1? Rationalise and Streamline Processes © Michael Bayler 2009
  9. 9. Go To Market Rule #1 Don’t confuse the “How” with the “What”. For all your stakeholders, your business is about Impact, not just Activity. © Michael Bayler 2009
  10. 10. Your positioning? © Michael Bayler 2009
  11. 11. We begin from here … to focus on what differentiates the business, what’s special about you? This should be logically derived from the What Business Are You In?” component … … from “We’re playing football”, to “What league we’re in”. … from “We have these capabilities”, to “We solve these problems”. This naturally demands tearing yourselves away from your lovely business … to focus on: YOUR CUSTOMERS. Nightmare! But it has to be done. © Michael Bayler 2009
  12. 12. What do the x and y axes mean for your most valuable potential success customers? Can you, for example, estimate a commercial or comparable value for each of them? 3? Transform Consumer T 2? Experience 1? Rationalise and Streamline Processes © Michael Bayler 2009
  13. 13. Go To Market Rule #2 The value of the problem you solve for your customer, determines the value you can place on your solution. © Michael Bayler 2009
  14. 14. Your competition? © Michael Bayler 2009
  15. 15. Now you can see … that your competitor profiling and threat assessment are not just built around “People who do what you do” … … it’s about the (relatively few) people who more or less solve the same problems you set out to solve: can they do it better, faster, cheaper … or all of the above? Your positioning comes home to roost in a big way here … Think about, say, 37 Signals (Basecamp, Highrise etc) vs. Microsoft Project vs. AN Other 2.0 Brand. Many of the functional and operational essentials might be similar … but how are these developed into differentiated, ownable, market positions? © Michael Bayler 2009
  16. 16. Go To Market Rule #3 Your competitors are simply the people who occupy the same space in your customers’ minds as you do. Once you get beyond the basics, it’s all about Brand. © Michael Bayler 2009
  17. 17. Your core positioning? © Michael Bayler 2009
  18. 18. Showing your hand … With the gritty and demanding work you’ve done so far , you’ve set the scene for building a basic vocabulary around the positioning of the business. A former client of mine’s business was exploiting patents in the field of mobile information services. (We found within a week of starting work that their name was already owned and in active use globally by A Huge Bank.) Having gone through the process, they agreed that the line “Leadership In Intelligent Mobile” summarised and communicated their competitive positioning as they wished it. Another client – one of the many online music platforms – went for the crushingly simple “Music To Market”. © Michael Bayler 2009
  19. 19. Go To Market Rule #4 You cannot think usefully about naming, or even touch your marketing materials, until you know exactly what business you’re in, and why. © Michael Bayler 2009
  20. 20. Your stakeholders? © Michael Bayler 2009
  21. 21. Everyone has a piece of you … A bit of an exaggeration, true. But there were you thinking it’s just our little gang … … and suddenly you’re worried about Investors, Affiliates, Sponsors, Partners, Staff, Management, Industry Press, National and International Press, Bloggers both serious and idiotic, Competitors (yes them too) and of course, the full range of potential customers. What’s more, some customers may be consumers, some may be business. The thing to remember is: every genuine stakeholder has a right to expect something from you. For the press, it’s news, for example. You need to be smart and proactive about how you manage and prioritise this critical concern. © Michael Bayler 2009
  22. 22. success As you develop the business along 3? the timeline T, different stakeholders emerge and fade in Transform Consumer T their relative importance. How you 2? value them respectively, and the Experience focus of your communications with them, are largely determined by the stage you’ve reached. 1? Rationalise and Streamline Processes © Michael Bayler 2009
  23. 23. Go To Market Rule #5 Your stakeholders are all “customers” of the business: they just expect different things from you at different times. © Michael Bayler 2009
  24. 24. Your propositions? © Michael Bayler 2009
  25. 25. A proposition is … (in this context at least) an expression of a product or service offering, in terms of its distinctive value to the typical customer. It’s essentially a promise. A product or service is not a proposition: it’s actually what delivers on the promise of the proposition. You may sell products or services … your customers buy propositions. Microsoft manages to produce scores of products apparently without breaking a sweat. But ask them, for example, to explain their proposition set in, for example, media and advertising. Nightmare! (Don’t even think of asking them about their positioning.) A good rule of thumb way to articulate a proposition is: “You know THIS? Well … THAT!” © Michael Bayler 2009
  26. 26. Your propositions are the building blocks that enable you to “fill the success competitive space” that your positioning creates for the business. 3 D E F Transform Consumer T 2 Experience A B C 1 Rationalise and Streamline Processes © Michael Bayler 2009
  27. 27. Go To Market Rule #6 The rational development and consistent communication of your propositions, along the timeline, define the growth of your business and guide the evolution of the brand. © Michael Bayler 2009
  28. 28. Now you’ve got something to talk about! © Michael Bayler 2009
  29. 29. And your brand is coming to life … Talking of which, when I was working for a funny little start-up called BT Rich Media, I developed a brand for them. The business – which sadly folded after a while – was intended to offer media producers and rights owners, and consumers too – the opportunity to use broadband to get their content to an audience. For the professionals, it was about rights monetisation; for the consumer, mainly about sharing content. The starting point for all marketing materials, which evolved out of exactly the process we’ve just walked through, was simple, rich, accessible to all stakeholders, differentiated and ownable: “Bring It To Life, with BT Rich Media”. (Now Guinness is using it worldwide!) © Michael Bayler 2009
  30. 30. Go To Market Rule #7 Until you can describe and sell your business, in 3 sentences, in less than 30 seconds – your elevator pitch – you don’t have a brand. © Michael Bayler 2009
  31. 31. That’s all folks! © Michael Bayler 2009

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