Heating Up Your Branding Iron
In This Chapter
Determining what you want your brand to accomplish
Evaluating your existing brand identity and assets
Eyeing the costs of building a brand
Incorporating branding into your business plan
Assembling and leading your branding team
Brands are indelible. When they’re seared into customers’ minds, they’re
long-lasting and durable.That’s why this chapter is so important. It
helps you plan your branding strategy before you leap into branding action.
This chapter walks you through the steps of figuring out what you want your
branding program to accomplish, what kind of brand identity you’re seeking,
and what it will take in terms of budget, manpower, and planning to reach the
branding success you seek.
If you don’t yethave a brand — that is, if you’re starting a new business or
getting ready to launch a new product — this chapter can help you plan your
brand from scratch so you get your brand identity, image, and strategy spoton
from the get-go.
If you already have a brand — that is, if people already know your name and
have impressions about what you stand for — use the information in this chapter
as youassess whether the brand image you have is the one you want and, if
not, how you can move your brand from where it is to where you want it to be.
Gearing Up to Brand, Rebrand,
or Refine Your Brand
If branding is the hot topic in your organization, you’re probably facing one of
two situations: Either you’re starting a business and want to create a new
brand to go with it, or you have a brandbut want a different (or somewhat
different) one to better represent your offering in the marketplace.
Whether you’re launching a new brand or you’re in the process of refining an
existing brand, you have to start by figuring out what people think when they
hear your name or think about the industry or business arena you’re entering.
When you’re clear about how people currently perceive youridentity,
then you can figure out what brand assets you have to build upon and what
brand identity, in your dreams, you want to achieve.
Getting real about your
current brand identity
The best starting point for brand development is a true and candid look at
what people currently think of your brand and industry in the marketplace.
If you’re starting a business and don’t yet have a brand toanalyze, instead
assess the image of the business arena you’re entering. For instance, if you’re
starting a children’s museum, think about the mental images people have
about museums in general and children’s museums in particular. When you
know the preconceived notions you’re dealing with, you’re in a good position
to develop a strategy that leads to a brand image that reflects the uniqueattributes and differentiating aspects of the organization you’re starting.
The point of your brand assessment is to determine answers to the following
What do people like or dislike about you, your business, or your
What do they trust or distrust?
What do they think you are and do?
Why do they choose your offering?
How do they think you compare with yourcompetitors?
How do they think you affect their lives for better or worse? How do
they find your offering relevant and a good fit with their lives and needs?
Don’t rely solely on your own judgments or those of your top management
team to assess your current image. Instead, gather input from a wider range
of people. Ask those who work on the front line of your business. Go to the
people whoanswer incoming calls, take product orders, field complaints,
and fix service problems. Then go talk to some customers or prospective
Use the following questions in your interviews. They’re designed to help you
collect information on your current brand identity without making you or
those you’re interviewing feel self-conscious about their answers:
44 Part I: Everything You...