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Is Your Brand Healthy? Insights for Effective Brand Positioning

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Recently, I was featured on the podcast Confident ROI hosted by Alex Vorobieff on OC Talk Radio.

We discussed strategies and insights that you can implement in your company to position your brand more effectively, as well as how I helped reposition a leading wine brand.

How Can I Move the Needle Forward for My Brand? Start with Market Research. You don’t need to have a seven-figure budget, or be the leader in your market segment, to move the needle forward for your brand. Regardless of what your brand is or where you are currently positioned, start with this question: who is your customer? In order to be strategic in your marketing and sales efforts, having a clear understanding of your customer is key. What are their pain points? What about their wants and needs? How do they consume information? What is their customer journey?

Understanding this important information often begins with conducting market research. Don’t be intimidated--market research doesn’t have to be expensive! Marketing research can be considered the use of any means that allows you to capture qualitatively or quantitatively.

If we are looking at market research from a cost efficiency standpoint, there are many tactics that can be put in place for no money at all, such as interviewing current customers or establishing a competitive intelligence program (check out my Competitive Intelligence eBook for more information on this topic). Your customers can provide valuable insights into how you are doing. And, they can also provide insights into your competitors, as I’m sure they’ve been contacting your customers to steal your business. In addition, these interviews can also provide insights into how well your brand messaging is being received and to potential changes that need to be addressed.

Focus on Strategy Often, business leaders, in their efforts to move the needle forward, become paralyzed by an urgent need to generate more business. However, it is not just about what you do, but how you do it.

When it comes to your marketing efforts, think strategically, not just tactically. What is the right message? What is the right communication channel? Every communication channel allows you to speak differently, so it’s important to strategize how to truly grab the consumer’s attention wherever they are at in the buying process, and where they are in their customer journey. How close are they to a decision? What communication channels does the target audience like to be reached through? If you aren’t using the communication channel of choice, you are already at a disadvantage. Think buyer persona.

It is crucial to have a strategic understanding of these different aspects before you move towards your specific tactics. Only through strategic work can you ensure that you are shaping your messages effectively and using each communication medium to its fullest. Brand Alignment and Brand Health Every brand assignment I begin starts with an alignment of the management team. If they are not in alignment regarding what the brands stands for, your messaging will most likely be flawed, regardless of what communications strategy is implemented. It is essential that not only is management is in alignment, but that everyone in the company has a unified understanding of what the brand is, and where it is going. There needs to be consistency in the brand messaging and the stories we tell about the brand and its values, core principles and, of course, products/services. While external marketing is obviously important, do not neglect internal marketing. Ensure that the people inside understand the brand and can speak to the values of the brand as well as what the brand stands for, which is essentially the value – both the tangible and intangible aspects. Continuously evaluate how healthy your brand is. While you may think your brand is doing well, it is crucial to receive – and work to understand – feedback from those who interact with the brand, both internally and externally. It is not enough for you to understand what your brand is; you need to ensure that you are effectively articulating this in everything your brand is and does. Don’t assume just because you’re putting your story out there, everyone one truly knows it. Keeping your brand healthy is not an annual checkup. You need to live it everyday and keep your finger on your brand’s pulse to make sure it stays healthy. The Kendall Jackson Case Study – a Brand Health Story When I first started working with the Kendall Jackson brand, they had over a 90% awareness level among Chardonnay drinkers. However, while K-J was a super-premium wine, it was perceived as a mass-produced wine. The brand became the victim of its own success and lost its “specialness.” The brand appeared everywhere from chili cook-offs to country fairs, as well as found in the wall of wine at local grocery stores, and was no longer being viewed in the market as a high-end brand. It was being seen as an everyday wine, not special anymore and the price point was dropping as a result. My agency’s challenge, of course, was to make the brand special again on a national level with a modest budget. My work with the brand began by conducting a series of focus groups and quantitative surveys to gain a better understanding of how the brand was currently being perceived in the market. During the process, we identified 26 different attributes being attributed to the brand. Thirteen of them were perceptions we wanted, while the other thirteen were not. Understanding how

consumers perceived the brand led to messaging strategies and a creative execution that over the next several years achieved the goals we were after, making the brand special again.

We started with changing our messaging. In our communications, we reestablished the specialness of the brand by emphasized the care put into the entire process by the man and family behind the brand, not the large corporation the market had come to suspect.

To make sure we stayed on track with our goal, we implemented quarterly tracking studies. Every quarter, we investigated and analyzed whether the needle was moving in the desired direction and if not, we made adjustments accordingly. Not only did we see the needle move regarding the brand attributes, but increases in prices and volume as well. Ultimately, the brand came out of this process with a renewed reputation and cache as a result of our strategy. Listen to my full interview on the Confident ROI here:

Beginning September 11th , I will be hosting my own show called the Business Growth Café. Visit www.businessgrowthcafe.podbean.com to learn more and to subscribe.

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