This week we will look into Brand. Here is the marketing strategy template again, for your reference.
- Unique Sales Proposition
- Product or Service
- Promotion Goals
What’s your brand? We used to think of BRAND as a logo or group of stylized words and colors. Clever marketers even dream up fanciful words like ultra-surfactant quotient and X-43 Super Clean to push their brands. Since the beginning of time, clever marketers have been trying to come up with more and more fantastic adjectives to describe their products to make them seem more interesting. “BUY THOR’S WHEELS, CUT ROUND FOR A SMOOTHER RIDE!” Savvy consumers and businesses don’t fall for code words or slick logos as a replacement for the values of the company.
Your brand should be an extension of who your company is, what it stands for and how it does business. If that sounds like a tall order, it is. Creating the perfect marketing package takes more than just combining your products with cool logos to create a brand. And branding is way more than just fancy marketing. While the slick marketing piece will help play a role, it’s the marriage of your brand message with the actions of the company that ultimately matter. In other words, reality must match your branding or your customers will consider it all just more hype.
You have to first understand that all businesses are really providing a service. Whether your company is a ‘service’ business or a manufacturer, distributor, retail or wholesale, you are really providing a service. And what’s worse, today’s on-line virtual world has turned every competitor in the world into your competitor. The only real distinction comes down to service. It’s not what you sell. It’s how you sell it and how you support your customers after the purchase. How does your brand tell that story and does the brand story match the reality?
A mission statement is a simple statement of what business you are in and why. This statement is the responsibility of the owners and senior management of a company to define and implement. Once written, the mission statement serves as the ground rules for operating the business. That is, each major decision of the company should somehow support the mission or vision of the organization. Small business owners ask if the mission statement isn’t just some big company nonsense made up by Fortune 500 executives without a real job. I think the mission statement is just as important for small companies, maybe more important, than for their multi-national counterparts. You should be able to use your mission statement to guide the company as you grow. If you are considering new ventures or product lines, they should first be measured against your mission statement to see if they support the overall goals of the organization. If not, you should reconsider the venture or your mission. All activities of your company should further your mission.
How can you succeed in a small business if you don’t know what business you are in and why you are in that business? Without a clearly defined statement that you support and believe, you may wander aimlessly among your competitors trying different courses and taking different paths without any real goal. Especially for a small business, your mission statement should be a defining document of your beliefs and objectives for going into business in the first place.
A mission statement can be a simple sentence or declaration, or a more complete summary of an organization’s beliefs, values and vision for its future. If you have a strong drive and vision for your company, here is your chance to share that belief and value system with your employees and customers.
For a mission or value statement to be effective in guiding your company direction and operations it should be a clearly stated and honestly held declaration of your beliefs, not some phony corporate speak. Your mission is a basic statement describing the overall purpose of your company. It is the first strategic decision the company should take. The mission should define your direction, priorities and what sets you apart from your competitors. It should reflect the personality of the owners and help build the image of the organization. Ideally, it will motivate your employees and clarify the direction you will take on your path to success.
Whether your mission statement is long and involved or short and sweet, it must be real. Your customers and employees will be turned off by marketing hype that doesn’t reflect the way you behave.
Stay connected with us on social media and our blog. Next week we will look at product or service strategy.