To get all your ducks in a row when it comes to brand growth, there are 5 foundational pillars we need to establish. In short these are:
1) Purpose & Contribution
Your Vision, Mission, Values and Value Proposition
2) Distinct & Salient Brand Assets
This includes things like your logo, colours, slogans, taglines, phrases, product names, thought leaders/ambassadors, jingles, video pre-rolls
3) Media & Market Penetration
Consistent creation and distribution of your content to your market
4) Points of Sale
Where your offers - your products, programs & services - are available for purchase
5) Resources & Funding
Established time and funds that you set aside to grow your brand
To design this tool, we looked at the fundamental empirical laws of marketing science as identified by Professor Byron Sharp in How Brands Grow. Let's have a look at each of these pillars in more detail now.
Pillar 1: Purpose and Contribution
Market need is the foundation of every successful business and a key predictor business success.
We cannot survive for long without a strong reason to exist and a clear direction and purpose that inspires our staff and our customers.
But this is easier said than done.
With the rapid disruption across industry sectors as part of the fourth industrial revolution, customer needs and behaviours are rapidly changing...and what is needed today, may not be what is required tomorrow.
Pillar 2: Distinct & Salient Brand Assets
Our brain is a very brilliant pattern-recognition machine.
Every second 1 million bits of data flood our brain - but our brain can only process about 40-120 bits of data.
In essence - we only see part of our reality - and what we see depends on what we've learnt is important and not important to pay attention to - ie. we pay attention to what is most salient to us.
So the brand assets you create need to be salient and they need to be recognisable as belonging to YOU.
Like if Pepsi did a fantastic advert but it looked like a Coca-Cola advert - then who has really benefited?
It doesn't just apply to big consumer brands though - the same rule applies to small business-to-business brands as well.
Like - if you did this assessment but you ended up working with a competitor who you thought was created it because it wasn't clearly by The Change Makers and Lauren Kress - then who who has benefited?
Pillar 3: Media & Market Penetration
We've all heard that old cliche question - if a tree falls in the woods and no-one is there to hear it, does it really make a sound?
It's all well and good to have a clearly defined purpose and a range of on-brand assets but if nobody knows about them, then how much good is it going to do your business?
The media you create to deliver your brand messages is like your mode of transportation - and it must be created with it's destination in mind.
You need to think about how the end user will experience that piece of content - for example, will they be viewing your video in their facebook feed or embedded in an article on your website blog?
And how will you amplify this message out in market - how will you increase your market penetration?
(Did you know that market penetration of viable brand messages is the number one predictor of growing your market share?)
Pillar 4: Points of Sale
The buyers journey is an emotional roller-coaster ride
Before we've made up our minds on whether or not we want to purchase a particular product, program or service our brain is in the mode of "what do I stand to gain"
We're cautious, skeptical, and maybe even a bit scared, cold or closed off.
We need to be warmed up to the purchase.
Depending on whether a person or brand is familiar to us, and how much the cost of purchase is, this stage might take milliseconds, like when you reach for gum at the grocery cash register, hours, like when we're choosing a new mattress, weeks, months or even years - like when we're deciding on whether to procure a new piece of project management software for our business.
During this time, our brand messages need to speak to these emotional and rational drives - whether that's delivered via a package or a salesperson.
BUT - once someone has DECIDED to purchase, our brain is in a state of heightened emotion and excitement - and we need to make it as easy as possible to connect that excitement with purchase of our product.
We need to make sure that our gum stick is within arms reach. That our mattress is in stock with our distributors. That purchasing our software is just a click away on the easy to find email our salesperson sent just yesterday.
If your brand isn't easy to buy at the point of sale - then in all that decisive excitement...we can end up lining the pockets of our competitors.
Pillar 5: Resources & Funding
Why did we include this in a brand assessment?
Because brand growth requires investment-led strategies.
If your business has profitability and cash flow issues - it's important to figure this out first.
It's a bit of a chicken-and-egg conundrum in the early days of a business or a new product launch - particularly without capital to invest from the outset.
But even with capital, it's important we don't put the cart before the horse when it comes to growing your brand.
Investing in pilot programs and agile learning is key to developing your proof of concept and making reasonable predictions for overall business performance.
Failing fast and learning from your failures is as is important as celebrating early successes that enable you to gain support and commitment from key stakeholders.
Designing a pragmatic and sustainable approach to your continued improvement will enable you to accelerate your innovation initiatives with evidence-based solutions and practices.