Five Rules for a Winning Brand Project
The Marketing Options
As marketers who have evaluated their options in hiring a brand company can tell you, there are wide variety of companies offering a wide variety of products and services. Some brand companies seem to promise the world through their delivery of a logo and/or name created by the trendiest creatives. Other firms are so client-focused that their “work” simply becomes the execution of someone else’s idea. Still other firms base their work on solid strategic formulations backed up by real quantitative research data.
Each type of firm has their place in the brand-building consultant world as each and every client tends to look for something different. However, regardless of what kind of branding firm a company chooses to do business with, taking the resulting work and putting it into practice can be a challenge to many, even the most seasoned marketer.
There are a number of things that marketers can do in order to help improve the implementation of any branding project. The size and structure of the affected organization may affect some of these guidelines but they are all relevant to some degree, regardless of size or organizational structure.
Five Guidelines to a Winning Brand Project
- Have The Desire to Win – Sometimes moving forward (i.e. winning) requires one to do something differently than what it has always been done. Usually the status quo does not enable us to get ahead, rather, at its best, it only allows us to maintain our current state. Having the desire to win goes beyond the desire to increase sales, profit margin, or top of mind awareness. The desire to win should be about asking ourselves, “What are we currently doing (either in action or thought) as an organization or brand that gets in the way of our success?” This includes examining preconceived thoughts or opinions concerning our brand and/or organization that cause stasis, business practices that are over cumbersome that cause us to think more about internal process than selling our product or service, and moving away from “this is the way we have always done it” thinking.
- Check Ego at the Door – No matter how good a brand firm is, it could never serve as a replacement for quality personnel within an organization. Hiring an organization to look for problems and offer their solutions can be an extremely unnerving experience for some marketers. Having the ability and self-confidence to let a brand firm do their work is extremely important.
- Have C-level Support and Buy-in – This is one of the most important keys to success. The leaders of the organization must be onboard and the initiatives biggest cheerleaders. At the very least, stakeholders – employees, customers, and Wall Street – need to see that the C-level executives are in the loop and supportive of the brand change. In some cases, a change in brand and brand philosophy can necessitate the need for changes in organizational process. The success of that can greatly be dependent on how much encouragement is coming from the top.(Read about the CEO’s role here).
- Hold No Sacred Cows – A brand firm must be given permission to challenge everything. This does not mean that an organization should be required to give a branding firm free reign over the organization. Rather, it means that an organization should be open to the possibility of changing anything in the face of overwhelming evidence. If something is not working for the brand, regardless of what it is, it should be fixed, made better, or all together eliminated.
- Remember Who the Brand is For – At the end of the day, the brand should be about and a reflection of the current and prospective consumers of the product or service. A brand should never be about the company. Logos, names, strategy, target audiences, brand positioning, and tactics should never be chosen solely based on what we as marketers believe. These things as well as every other brand touch point should be chosen based on what the target market says.
Helping the Organization
This is not an all encompassing or an exhausting list. These five guidelines represent the five biggest issues most marketers face when thinking about and executing a change in a brand. Marketers may or may not have to address all of these points and may find additional issues that are unique to their business or organization. They ensure that you will have a winning brand project. (Read our rules for a successful brand project)
However, generally speaking, in most organizations, these guidelines will suffice in executing a brand change. Whether an organization is refreshing, reworking, or completely overhauling their brand, following these guidelines will assist marketers in assessing, selecting, and executing brand work within their organizations.
No matter what kind of brand firm the organization chooses to use, adherence to these guidelines will maximize the ROI on the investment as well as help you, the marketer, in planning for and dealing with issues before they can impact the project. (Read about our process and how it works)