I coined the term brandparenting in honor of mother’s and father’s day, because it seemed to me that being a brand’s custoidan, and raising it, has a lot in common with raising a child. Big companies, who can, have Chief Brand Officers, or CBOs. They are the brandparents – the stewards of the brand. If your company doesn’t have a real brandparent, you, and everyone else there will have to adopt the brand and raise it yourself.
In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you, I do not have a child myself. But I am a parent. This here is my baby. His name is Sheep. I also was a child myself, as you will see in the following slides.
Just a glimmer: This is before you even start your business, or start building your brand through a rebranding and concerted efforts. This could be the stage where you’re writing a business plan, doing research, building capital and creating strategies for how you’re going to start, run and grow your business. Conception: This is when you make it happen. You know what your company stands for, and take action. You design the visuals, codify the values behind them and start to tell people. At least those close to you. Birth: Here it goes, out into the world. You send an announcement, tell everyone. Start marketing wholesale. You better have a really good brand in place so that it will stick.
Infancy: needs constant care and feeding. Needs to be nurtured, and needs high-touch. You have to be really conscious of your brand. Don’t leave it with an untrustworthy babysitter (i.e. don’t let people use it without following the brand standards). Don’t go out and forget about it. Childhood: As your brand starts to gain traction, and is able to stand on its own two feet – at least with the people you already know and the clients you’ve cultivated so far, you have to keep giving it guidance. Keep holding it’s hand and introducing it to new experiences and new audiences all the time. Keep marketing to new or more refined audiences whenever you can. Tween: This might be an awkward stage. As things your company grows, your brand might have growing pains. It might be tempted to branch out in inappropriate directions rather than staying true to it’s core values. Can it still represent you when your offerings expand? Stand behind it, give it guidance and some tough love. Keep putting your logo on everything and keep the message consistent.
Teenagers can be difficult. You’ve raised your brand well, given it constant guidance and barely let it out of your sight. But now it wants a little more independence. It may be ready to explore some strategic alliances and partnerships. It may want to go further afield and test the waters. It might want to take up photography. Once you’re finally over those awkward years, and your brand starts really have legs of it’s own, you still have to be there. You still have to be there, ready to recite the rules if it calls home. But more and more, as your brand matures, you hope the values you’ve instililed in it are planted firmly, and it can go out in to the world on its own and hold its own. At a certain level of maturity, your brand will be SO established and secure, it will take care of you, instead of you taking care of it. This is payback time. Mature brands have an equity all their own, and they bring in business because of their past experience and reputation. This is what all the hard work rearing your brand is leading you to – they day when it finally takes YOU out to dinner.
Brand Parenting: How to Nurture Your Brand and Power Your Sales Cycle
Why children run away from home <ul><li>New buyer or other decision-maker/key influencer </li></ul><ul><li>New account leader the client doesn’t like − poor succession planning </li></ul><ul><li>Merger resulting in an RFP or other search for new vendor </li></ul><ul><li>Service issue </li></ul><ul><li>The incumbent firm collapses </li></ul><ul><li>New needs the incumbent does not think to cross-sell </li></ul>
Welcoming new children (and stopping run-aways) <ul><li>Branding is the by-product of repetition </li></ul><ul><li>Communication results from: Simplicity Relevance Repetition Exclusivity − when relevant </li></ul>
Be yourself Market position Provides clarity on… Impact on the prospect… element Target Need or Business Problem <ul><li>Recognized need/problem of theirs that you address </li></ul><ul><li>Recognizes the “aspirations and afflictions” on which your messages focus </li></ul>Value of Solving Need <ul><li>Financial and other benefits of solving the need/problem </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrates the value/urgency of addressing the issue </li></ul>Target Clients <ul><li>Ideal types and locations of companies, titles, and functions that have the need </li></ul><ul><li>Prospect identifies with your description of whom you serve </li></ul>
Be yourself Market position Provides clarity on… Impact on the prospect…element Your Offering <ul><li>Services you offer that solve the target need, and how they solve the need </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrates that you understand how to solve the problem </li></ul>Proof of Concept <ul><li>Evidence to suggest that what you say will happen; will, indeed, happen </li></ul><ul><li>Inspires confidence that you can do what you say </li></ul>Genuine and Distinct <ul><li>Why your offering is preferable to other options for solving the need </li></ul><ul><li>Creates desire and preference for your services and firm </li></ul>
Positioning Example » Kindergarten <ul><li>I’m a marketing consultant </li></ul><ul><li>My clients are professional service firms </li></ul><ul><li>We do market research, branding, strategy, implementation, lead generation and business development training and coaching </li></ul>
A Positioning Example » High School <ul><li>I work with growing professional service firms to help them build their businesses. </li></ul><ul><li>Our clients are generally looking for new ways to enhance their market visibility or increase sales. </li></ul>
A Positioning Example» Refreshed (cont’d) <ul><li>Through research we’ve learned exactly what it takes to create growth in consulting, accounting and law firms. </li></ul><ul><li>Recently we worked with a law firm whose business has been stagnant in this tough economy. They were going to spend more than $150,000 per year on a business developer, but we helped them use training and coaching that cost them half as much to get the results they wanted. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Situation: A law firm was considering hiring a business developer for roughly $150,000 per year plus benefits and bonus compensation </li></ul><ul><li>Solution: Instead, we convinced them to engage us to train a group of their partners and build their sales skills </li></ul><ul><li>Results: They spent less than half of one year of a business developer’s salary and achieved the revenue goal they had set. </li></ul>Tell Me a Story
Simple, Relevant, Repeated <ul><li>… The downturn could hurt Boston's biggest law firms the most because they may not be able to make adjustments as quickly as smaller and midsize firms. The mega-firms are challenged ( Boston Globe , March 2, 2009) </li></ul>
Simple, Relevant, Repeated <ul><li>The convergence of factors that are in flux right now may combine to force changes on law firms, even the ones that are reluctant to move the needle. The economy will probably end up forcing the issue of change at law firms, even if partners are reluctant. ( Boston Business Journal , March 6, 2009) </li></ul>
Simple, Relevant, Repeated <ul><li>While companies will continue to use big firms for such high-stakes work, smaller firms can handle routine deals and lawsuits as well as patents, real estate, employment and immigration work ( Bloomberg , April 6, 2009) </li></ul>
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Brand is the Outcome Brand RAMP SM Prefer They’re the leader… Dying to work with them… Very valuable… Memorize I’d remember them at the elusive time of need I know what they do. And how they work with companies like me. To solve problems like mine. Articulate I know who they are Recognize
Parenting By Example—True Nurturing <ul><li>Go forth and teach the gospel, speak if necessary </li></ul><ul><li>- St. Francis of Assisi </li></ul>
<ul><li>THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING! </li></ul><ul><li>any questions? </li></ul>