What is a brand?
A brand is the promise you make to your customers...your company’s DNA that makes it like no other. It is conveyed through the look, feel, tone, and voice of all communications, actions, and interactions, and is based on a positioning strategy.
What is brand strategy?
What you offer is your product and/or service. How you do business, how you position your product/service, and how the customer’s experience is perceived are all unique to your brand strategy. You want people talking about your how, not just your what. They’re your brand ambassadors.
How are people talking about your business?
“A brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
— Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon
Why do businesses need a brand strategy?
When customers have a choice, a strong brand differentiates your company/product from others and de-prioritizes price. It also shifts the focus from the buying decision to the having decision, which is the beginning of loyalty and repeat sales.
After all, when customers buy again or refer others to your business, it’s likely based on the experience of having your product/service. A clearly articulated brand will help prospects imagine the customer experience, even before they buy, and move you closer to making the sale.
Do your prospects know enough about your business to choose you?
What are brand ambassadors?
They’re the people talking about your product, service or business positively AND articulating your how in ways consistent with your brand strategy.
A brand ambassador can be anyone who interacts with your business, directly or indirectly, and at any touchpoint: customers, prospects, employees, suppliers, sub-contractors, service providers, etc. Taken to the extreme, your brand makes an impression every single time someone is made aware of it, no matter how remotely. Even casual interactions can be valuable for brand awareness, the first step toward a sale.
Who are your brand ambassadors and can they articulate your how?
What is the customer experience?
It’s the brand promise, experienced—by customers and employees. At every touchpoint. The customer experience is inherently related to the employee experience.
Money spent for brilliantly on-brand marketing materials will be wasted if the customer’s experience isn’t what was promised. Brand attributes should be consistent throughout the customer’s journey with your business, despite any unexpected detours. This means that your operational components should be aligned with the brand promise.
The heart of your organization is undoubtedly your employees, who must understand your brand strategy. More importantly, they must feel your brand strategy in their employee experience. The benefits of a seamless internal culture and external brand are numerous, including the cultivation of employee brand ambassadors. Best of all, your customers will recognize and appreciate the consistency, and be able to differentiate your business from others where there’s a discernable disconnect. More brand ambassadors!
Does your customer experience deliver the brand promise?
“Your culture is your brand turned inward.”
— Source Unknown
A good team starts with strong talent. A great team emerges with strong leadership. And it’s never a good time to interrupt that momentum. When there’s change, experience and perspective are invaluable. Marketing knowledge and management skills are priceless.
When deciding whether to retain an interim or advisory marketing leader, consider these benefits:
Continuity & Stability
An interim manager can coach and lead your marketing team to continue day-to-day support of business goals, giving you time and space to plan how best to fill the open position. When you’re ready to post the job, you have time to recruit the absolute best candidate.
A savvy advisor can provide you with keen observations to inform your long-term plans. At the least, they’ll confirm your conclusions. More likely, their unbiased view will enable them to identify other considerations.
For a special project that can’t be covered by your team, “renting” an experienced leader could be the perfect solution. They can be available for as little or as much time as you need, per week/month, and may be able to come and go at various stages of an initiative.
“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”
— Jack Welch, former Chairman & CEO of General Electric
Marketing Team Design
Marketing leads brand development, supports sales, and accounts for significant expense on the P&L. And it’s never “done.” Designing a marketing team with the right people in the right positions is critical to keep pace with business needs and customer demands.
There’s more to building a good marketing team than hiring individuals with strong technical skills. It helps to have a blueprint of considerations to guide the design.
Today’s needs vs. future growth
Episodic projects or those that can be outsourced vs. ongoing programs or those requiring in-house talent
Leaders vs. implementers
Workflow and communication
Career development paths
Soft and hard skills
Complementary strengths across the team
Well-written job postings to attract the right candidates
What’s your plan for designing a marketing team with the right people in the right positions?
"Gettin’ good players is easy. Gettin’ ‘em to play together is the hard part.”
— Casey Stengel, MLB Player & Coach (Yankees, Mets, Braves, Dodgers)