The real problem is not lack of money
One of the biggest obstacles facing the marketing departments of small and medium-sized businesses (and far too many nonprofits and social good organizations as well) is actually not lack of money—it’s lack of a strong brand understanding.
Too many businesses and social good organizations haven’t spent the time necessary to build a clear internal understanding of their brand. They miss the crafting of the core messages at the foundation of what Mark Di Somma calls “The Brand DNA.” This leads to wasting time and resources on brand messages and activities that are not compelling and don’t work in concert to achieve strategic goals.
There is a different vision, however.
When the entire organization has together built an understanding of the brand and its promise, they understand why what they are doing matters. They are more inspired. Communication is more effective. Marketing brings in more sales. There are fewer wasted steps, and progress is easier to measure.
So how do you build a strong brand understanding within your organization?
First, understand that your brand isn't really your name, logo or tagline.
Your brand is what your customers think of you. It’s that set of associations or experiences in their mind when they see your logo or name. Matching those impressions to your company’s values and messaging is the brand marketer’s holy grail.
To define your brand, start with 3 questions.
At stitchDX, we coach our clients to answer three simple questions:
- Why does your company exist?
- Who do you serve?
- How do you help?
Your answers make your brand powerful and easy to understand inside and outside your organization. When you have brand clarity within your company or nonprofit, you’ve enabled the threading together of projects and skills across silos for a more integrated digital marketing strategy. And you’ve put more persuasive power behind all your communications.
1. Why Do You Exist?
Every company has some sort of foundation story. Is the company the dream of a single founder? Was it born in response to customer need or unfulfilled market?
When we do this work with nonprofits, the foundation story is often inspirational and fun to tell. For businesses, it may be more pragmatic. Whatever the case, what does your organization do that wouldn't get done if you didn't exist? Or, how do you connect your organization’s foundation story with its values and mission?
2. Who Do You Serve?
Your answer to this question is really the center of your marketing communication strategy. Seems simple enough: You don’t want to waste resources, for instance, marketing spring break party vacations to gardening hobbyists who want to see Holland at tulip time.
In inbound marketing circles, we talk about personas. These are profiles based on research and knowledge of your customers, but are generic enough to stand for a group of potential clients. We create little stories about who we serve, delving into what inspires and motivates them and what problems they're looking to solve. The more detailed the persona, the better we can position brands to provide them solutions.
3. How Do You Help?
This is where you describe what your organization does that improves the lives of the people you serve. Do you...
- save them money or make them more money?
- help them have real impact in their community or globally?
- save them time?
- make them safer?
- help them do something they could not do on their own?
In other words, how do you make the people you serve the heroes in the stories of their everyday lives? Everyone wants to be a hero in some way.
Build a better brand, build a better organization.
The answers to these three questions are not just helpful in defining a digital marketing project but also vital to building the digital marketing team of the future. From scoping a project to managing a remote team, having a clear understanding of brand will help ensure that everyone is moving in the same direction, whether they are in Boston, Bangkok or Berlin.
While brand clarity is vital to creating an integrated marketing strategy that engages more leads and closes more sales, there are additional benefits across the organization. Staff are more engaged. Decisions are easier to make and to understand. Hiring and training are cleaner, more effective processes.
What brands do you admire and why? What core brand stories have you found inspiring? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
And remember to download our ebook, “The Definitive Guide to Selling Better & Faster,” to learn how inbound marketing can take your brand to the next level.