Guest Post: Beth Taubner, Brand Strategist, Mercurylab

In our upcoming webinar later this month, we are going to talk about what it really means to be a brand and why branding matters. The “B” word is thrown about quite loosely, so as a primer I’ll start by defining what it means to be a brand.

1. The power of authenticity.
Generally, we think that brands are about marketing and advertising, and that a branding approach applies only to big brands, “out there,” whereas the real material we use in defining and constructing our own brands stems from our belief systems and our own psychology. A strong brand marries this deep exploration with objective analysis to come to market in a meaningful way, no matter the size or type of the offering.

2. Brands are the marriage of emotion and facts.
It’s important to convey what makes you different — your special capabilities and attributes — so that potential customers can easily understand what sets you and your business, product or offering apart from the competition. If you visualize a target, brand definition and brand attributes sit at the center, and then the ways in which you apply or communicate your brand radiate in circles from that center.

3. How do you communicate as a brand?
For example, strategy and implementation for designing your logo, marketing, advertising, packaging, and line expansion should be governed by your brand’s unique attributes, brand story and business strategy. A brand with a clear identity and communications stands out from the competition, with a resulting increase in awareness and market share.

4. Is it for everyone?
Brand strategy and communication applies no matter what field you are in.  And if you are just starting out, working from a brand perspective will help provide a focus for all of your activities moving forward. You want to root all that you say or do in the authentic brand core of your business or offering.

5. How to get started.
All of my clients start with what I call “discovery” sessions, where we bring to light your business culture, your goals and aspirations, and what works — and doesn’t — in the way you have been approaching your business or in presenting your offerings to the marketplace, no matter what sector you are in. With my guidance, we rigorously dig down into order to benefit the most from the branding process. If you are doing brand discovery on your own, without a brand consultant, start by writing about “the make or do” for your company and products — that is, the facts. Then move on to writing about where you are now, where you would like to be, and what YOU believe your audiences think about you. It’s helpful to remember that brands are about perception, and sometimes that perception is a misperception, so try to write honestly about how you believe that you, your company and your products are perceived in the marketplace.

Once you have spent some time thinking about your own brand, then you will be in a
better position to develop the tools that are specifically right for YOU, your company, and your products. There isn’t one unilateral set of tools that is right for every company. The best results are derived analytically, and then married with strategy and clear emotional expression.

To learn more about Beth’s work, visit http://mercurylab.com/

To check out past webinars on branding, visit our Marketing & Branding Playlist on our Webinar Archive.

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