In my last four posts we discussed the four areas of strategic planning that I evaluate during a Clone Your Favorite™ Client (CYFC) Assessment: mission, vision, core values, and SMART goals. I’ll be honest, rarely do I find all four of those items present in my target market companies let alone communicated throughout their organizations. But I usually find at least one or two which is enough to help define the company culture (even though you really do need all 4). So when I start the next section of my CYFC assessment (Marketing & Branding), the first thing I evaluate is how well a company’s branding strategy reflects their strategic plan and company culture.
If your company is the Ritz-Carlton of your market providing the best in customer service and quality, then you probably don’t want a stick figure for a logo that your nephew designed. You also might want to avoid commodity pricing references like “low-cost” in your marketing material. On the flip side, if your company provides an affordable product or service that targets clients who can not afford the Ritz, then you probably want a brand that is simple (no frills), but friendly – like Walmart. Neither brand is better than the other, they are just better suited to different target markets.
And no matter which type of branding you use, I always look for consistency. Again, you don’t want to refer to yourself as the “low cost provider” in your brochures, and at the same time the “premier service provider” on your website. One of my favorite go to phrases in a contract negotiation is “You can have it fast, cheap or high quality – pick two.” Rarely are you going to be able to deliver all three and still make a good profit. Set your client and prospects’ expectations properly by letting them know who you are consistently in all your marketing materials from proposals to direct mail pieces to your website and social media pages. And whatever you do, make sure your logo and tag line are consistent throughout all your materials to reinforce those expectations.
In my next post I’ll be covering relevance of your marketing and branding to your target market (favorite clients). In the mean time, I would love to hear about companies you have run across that have branding that really matches your customer experience with them. And, as always, happy hunting!