Linzi Boyd, who featured at our recent Business Insights Event and author of Brand Famous, essential reading for anyone wishing to grasp the fundamentals of driving brand exposure and fame, discusses how to join the dots and uncover the true essence of your brand in the eyes of consumers and the best of the rest in your field.
Within this process you’ll learn to understand that, underneath everything lies the words that you are saying and how you deliver these to the outside world is as important as the product(s) or service(s) you have.
The brand discovery process
This is the most vital stage for any brand. It gives you an opportunity to pinpoint the key message that underpins your brand and the core values that will set its blueprint going forwards.
The following tips can help deliver you a way to apply the information through your visual and verbal language which comes in the form of branding, website, videos, creative look and feel through to product lines and communication plan:
- What is your brand and what is it not? – decide where your brand could be in the future and the potential challenges stopping you from getting there.
- What makes your brand your brand? – what are the key words/messages that come to mind when talking about your brand?
- What do you want your brand to be known for? – if you are struggling with this, ask potential new clients how you have left them feeling after a meeting with them. You could also interview past clients to see what experience they got from working you.
- What is your target audience? – how old are they? What are they influenced by? What is the size of the market? By drawing up a full picture of your target audience’s needs, you will define who you are going to speak to, how you will speak to them and why; as well as the information they’re after.
- What are the habits of your target customers? – most successful brands seek to either provide their target market with a brand that create either a new need/habit or; they build on and nurture an existing need/habit. A new habit was created by Apple, providing the consumer with the tablet and the iPhone – creating a generation of touchscreen swiping that had never been seen before.
- List your big-thinking vision for your brand – consider three to five achievable stretch goals.
- Focus on brand appearance – think about your end customer: list the key areas where you can incorporate your core brand message and values that your end user will engage with it. E.g. office entrances, meeting space, website etc. You should have a tick list that is all run from your brand guidelines. Everything that you say should be mirrored across everything you do.
Don't forget, you can download a free chapter of Linzi's 'Brand Famous: How to Get Everyone Talking About Your Business' right here.
Your product vision
Creation is the key to producing stand-out product lines and services; providing your brand with a voice that speaks the passion of the brand.
- Create a marketing toolkit – without the following marketing tools you have no way of communicating your product to the world in today’s business environment: website; viral videos; promo videos; e-shots; sales brochures; biographies and head shots of owner/CEO; press releases and head shot imagery.
- Consider what aspects of your toolkit you can use to engage with your customer in a way that makes you unique and stand out.
- Cross-pollination of products and services to multiple areas – there’s no need to pigeon hole yourself as just a B2C or B2B business. Think about your ability to open up new product categories to existing customers and give potential new customers fresh product lines who you can upsell other products to down the line.
- Work out your product options – what product are you? Consider the importance of the influencer for brands today i.e. those more driven by style than branding.
- Define where best to produce your product – work out whether you’re looking for high-volume, low cost products or at the other end of the spectrum – or somewhere in between!
- Design first, sample second – look for someone who is not only best suited to design your products but also able to ensure that the production factory knows the dimensions of the product and the material requirements to ensure an efficient sampling process.
Connecting your product to your audience
It’s then important to consider how you are going to connect your product directly to a sales channel. How are you going to sell your product once it has been produced and what are the options available to you?
- Finding a buyer and your niche – try not to create a product first and seek someone to buy it later. It’s easier to fill demand than it is to create it! Think about the niche audience you’re selling to. By taking ownership of your space you can become a big fish in a small pond. Based on your product vision, spell out which products you have decided to create and the target audience that each product would be speaking to.
- Know your place in the retail space – set your retail objectives: what would you like to achieve with your venture into retail? Do you want to grow the brand into different areas to infiltrate new retail spaces? Would you like to focus on just the top 10 retail stores in your field to set the precedent for your brand and engage an influencer audience? Are you looking at mass distribution through one retail store which has multiple retail outlets nationwide? Or a number of small retail stores, or both?
- Build confidence when pricing – get retailer insight into your costing model. Carry out a quick competitor analysis to see what other similar products are selling for in the marketplace. Work out the average cost price, profit margin and retail price of your product.
- Decide where and how to produce your product lines – ask yourself whether you’re ready to produce your product. Do you have end customers lined up to buy your product? Are you clear on the volume you expect them to buy? Has the product been sample tested? Are you clear on a competitive pricing structure? Are you happy where you’re manufacturing your product?
Once you understand who you are and what your business stands for, who you are talking to and the services you can provide them, you need to make sure that you engage properly with your customer and encourage them to keep listening.
Consider the following touchpoints you can use to create spikes in awareness for your brand:
- Traditional print – define the publications that your target audience read. Research the publications, the relevant pages/sections and discover the name of the specific journalists that you wish to target. Think carefully about seasonal spikes such as Valentine’s Day and Christmas where publications are inundated with products to get featured. Be creative and think outside the box where your product is concerned and hopefully it will get the attention it deserves.
- Social media and digital engagement – to achieve the maximum success rate, you need to be able to execute a digital PR campaign which has the following three tools to create hype around the product/brand you are promoting: great product imagery; continually updated video content; and short, punchy news releases.
- Brand partnerships or collaborations – if there’s one thing you should do with your business, it is to look at collaborating with a person, brand, opinion former or celebrity/tastemaker that can really enhance or make a difference with the awareness of your brand. A tastemaker influences consumers into buying or desiring a product by them being seen with it or wearing it.
- Retail engagement – a retail partner doesn’t have to be someone with a high street store. It can be a partner online, a chain of gyms, a restaurant chain, nightclubs, book stores, etc. The one thing they all have in common is that they are able to promote you and sell your product to your target audience. Align your brand with a partner that is already speaking to your target audience.
- Experiential events – Creating an experience to allow people to truly embrace your brand is as important as your branding, marketing, product and distribution. Without creating the experience, no-one can truly engage with the essence of your brand and know what you’re about. Consider creating projects that captivate audiences, engaging and igniting them with your brand and having customers realise its huge potential via creative brand experiences.
Measuring your success as a stand-out brand
So, how do you really know that all that hard work is paying off? Let me help you through the evaluation process to ensure that the steps you are taking with your brand are going to:
- Be beneficial for the brand;
- Monetise the brand;
- Raise the profile of your brand.
Not evaluating your brand’s progression is a little bit like working hard for an exam, then not bothering to find out the result.
The importance of ROI – creating the return on investment for your whole plan reflects the budget that you have set aside to spend on the projects that you want to implement. Setting ROI enables you to have the confidence to spend money on projects that you may otherwise have avoided because you thought you lacked the money to spend in that area.
When working out the ROI for your projects, I would highly recommend you take these three things into account, as without these it will prove very difficult to get going:
- Something to sell is the first thing (e.g. a product or service)
- Someone to sell it to (a distribution channel)
- Marketing and PR to drive sales
In order for you to really understand how to take your business forward, a road map outlining the key performance indicators (KPIs) and ROI measurements for each aspect of your business is necessary. Without this, you’ll be unable to evaluate phase 1 of your brand development and find out the areas that were successful in order to build upon them for phase 2 growth.
For those interested in learning more about building a famous brand from the ground up, make sure you grab yourself a copy of Brand Famous: How to Get Everyone Talking About Your Business by Linzi Boyd. Linzi’s fascinating talk at the launch of Grand Union Studios was as inspiring as the rest of her book, we heartily recommend it!
Linzi is also running her next Business of Brand School course on 8th-9th September in London at High Road House. Workspace customers and readers can secure a discount of 37% on the standard price for the 2-day course. Using promotional code BOB787 you can sign up for £787 for both days (a saving of £463!)