Build a brand & marketing strategy that makes your brand the one that competitors are compared with

Brand and marketing strategy

Are you struggling with how to clearly explain what your brand stands for and what makes your product or service different?

Perhaps you are thinking about re-branding or launching a new product or service but you’re not sure how to make it a success.

Is a competitor with deep pockets dragging prices down and you need to fight back or has a new challenger entered your market and you need to respond?

Let’s work together to build a brand and marketing strategy that solves your challenges and provides you with a guiding star for all your strategic decisions about your product or service, your sales and your business operations.

Together we can build a standout, top-of-mind, preferred brand that dominates your category.

If this business were split up, I would give you the land and bricks and mortar, and I would take the brands and trademarks, and I would fare better than you.

John Stuart, CEO Quaker Oats Company, 1922 to 1953

Brand and Marketing Strategy Methodology

Every client’s challenges are different so my approach is always tailor-made to your specific needs. Through a combination of workshops and research, we will work together to develop a brand strategy and architecture that forms the foundation for your growth.

A group of people sat around a table working on a brand and marketing strategy

Looking at your history and your vision lays down the foundation for your brand strategy. We’ll look at things such as:

  • What is your vision, your purpose, the mission you set yourself and the values that you want your brand to hold to?
  • Where are you now and how did you get here?
  • Where do you want to be next year? What about in 3-years time? What will the future look like for your business?
  • What has worked well in the past? What failed to work for you? What makes you unique? What makes you compelling?
  • What brand and marketing assets have you already created? Which ones work?

Why do customers prefer them to you? How are they positioned? What do they say to the market? Careful research and analysis of competitors and their sales, marketing and customer base is essential if you are to create a successful brand strategy.

It’s not just customers and competitors that can affect your company’s success. Together we’ll consider closely the other factors that could affect your market and your business.

Can you deliver what is needed for your target market? Do you need to modify your offering? Are there any political issues on the horizon? Is the economy in your target market subject to any foreseeable changes? What about likely social changes or changes in ethics? What about technical innovations or any possible legal or regulatory challenges?

Who are your customers? What are they like? Why did they choose you? What’s your customers’ experience of your brand? How do customers and prospects find you? What do they think of you? Where do they meet and where do they go to solve problems?

By talking with current, past and prospective customers we pull together the story of what drives their purchases, how they buy products or services like yours, how price sensitive they are and what they want from your product. If we need to size the market we can also carry out desk research and quantitative surveys.

The most important part of brand strategy is deciding what you won’t do. We’ll look at which segments are the most attractive to you by asking questions such as:

  • Where are you likely to make the most sales, grow the most and make the best profit? What are the characteristics of the segments?
  • Which ones need you to develop a different product or service?
  • Which segments will you leave alone for now and where will you compete?

Once we have selected your ideal segment, we then help you to define the characteristics of your ideal customer and identify the best communications channels to use to communicate with them. If yours is a complex product involving a number of people in the buying process, we’ll look at who is likely to be in the buying committee and what roles they play. If needed we’ll also look at how you can grow and improve your database.

There are many ways to position a brand including price, quality, product use, customer needs, compared with competitors and so on. Based on your new understanding of your target segment, customer, competitors and landscape, you’ll be in a position to decide how to position your brand in the target segment and to craft the guiding positioning statement.

Now that we understand how customers buy products or services like yours we can begin to design your marketing and sales funnel. This lays out the steps a customer goes through to buy your product. It’s an iterative process because we’ll also need to develop buyer personas and map onto the funnel which personas are involved at each stage, what they care about at that stage and what marketing and sales material and tactics you need to get them through to the next step.

These are the buyer biographies for anyone involved in buying your product or service with explanations of what drives them, what their concerns are, what they need your product or service to do for them and explanations of what they need to see and hear at each stage of their buying journey.

Together we will craft no more than three compelling messages that we want each person represented by a persona to understand. These underpin the messaging that will be used in your communications plan.

Next we’ll look at how you are going to sell your product to each segment and decide on your sales model. Will you sell directly to customers or via retailers and resellers? Will you use intermediaries between you and the resellers or will you manage that relationship? Will you sell online only or employ a sales team as well?

We’ll also look at issues such as policies for inventory and returns, co-marketing, reseller margins and the implications for your marketing, sales and sales operations teams and your wider organisation.

Making a profit is important but there are many ways to achieve that. Together we will work through options such as Freemium, Tiered, Competitive, Value-based, Penetration, Skimming and many more to work out which is best for you given your growth plans, market landscape, target customers and product or service.

We’ll also look at discount policies, options for range and bundled pricing and pricing for different types of customers.

Of course no marketing can be done without investment, so together we’ll create a budget based on your business growth plans, short-term and long term sales goals, brand objectives, collateral requirements and available funding and resources. The budget that you have and can make available will determine which channels and tactics can be deployed in your communications plan.

This is where we build the tactical plan that most people think of as their marketing plan. We start by looking at the key messages that you need to communicate and the split we need between short-term sales activation and longer-term brand awareness building. We then define target and objective based briefs for the promotional campaigns that you will run across the year and which form the basis of your promotional calendar.

Based on your strategic brand plan we’ll also select the online and offline communications channels – such as web, PR, trade shows, advertising, SEO and a hundred more – that are available to you and then decide which is the best blend through which to reach your customers.

This will allow your marketing team to identify which tactics to bring inhouse and which to outsource to agencies or freelancers and start to build out the plans for the execution of each communication campaign. If you don’t have an inhouse team, I can help you with sourcing a fractional (part-time or temporary) marketing manager or with building an inhouse marketing department.

Some customers need a visual identity put together. If this is a service that you need I can create a brief for a brand identity designer that will encompass elements such as logo, brand code (colours, sounds, graphics etc.), typography, collateral (business cards, stationary, brochures etc) and any packaging plus identity guidelines. I also have a roster of identity designers that I can brief on your behalf.

As your brand grows it will also be subject to pressures to change and evolve which means it needs to be constantly managed and carefully developed. Equally some of your promotion or communication campaigns will perform well and others will need to be tweaked or even cancelled.

Having the right metrics and performance indicators in place will allow you to see how strongly your brand is growing and how effective your campaigns are at bringing leads into your marketing & sales funnel and moving them through to successful sales.

Brand and Marketing Strategy Deliverables

Together you and I will create a brand and marketing strategy that details:

  • Your brand vision, purpose, mission and values
  • Key competitor analysis listing their strengths and weaknesses, your opportunities and the threats they pose, along with their key messages and positioning
  • A description of the market landscape in which you will be operating
  • The market segment(s) that you will sell into along with their characteristics and potential value
  • A definition of who your ideal customer is and how and why they buy
  • Your brand positioning rationale and statement
  • Buyer personas and key messages
  • Your marketing and sales funnel with persona mapping and list of required collateral and tactics at each stage
  • Your distribution (sales) strategy
  • Your pricing plan and policy
  • Your marketing budget with the allocations assigned to brand building, sales activation and product marketing
  • Your promotional calendar for the next 12-months with agreed channels and tactics and briefing documents for your marketing team, agencies and freelancers
  • Optionally a briefing document for a brand identity designer
  • A list of brand, sales, lead generation and funnel objectives, metrics and KPIs
  • Plan-on-a-page – a single page document that lists the most important elements that will guide your execution of your brand strategy plan.
  • Any supporting data sets (other than those that have been rented) such as anecdotal notes, databases, or documents that are used in the research stages.

My 5-point Client Satisfaction Promise

  1. Your brand and marketing strategy will be customised to your business and its unique challenges.
  2. Your investment and your payment schedule will be clear. If I can save you money by using what you already have, I won’t reinvent the wheel.
  3. We’ll discuss, agree on and document each step in the process. If I need you to pull together data or documents I’ll ask you before the relevant step begins.
  4. The completion of each step is a milestone and creates a page (or pages) in your brand strategy plan. These will be delivered as we go so you can regularly evaluate them.
  5. Sometimes the unexpected happens. If something extra is requested or required I’ll ensure you’re fully informed about the implications before you commit.

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