Corporate Internet Marketing Strategies

Internet has influenced the way we live and work drastically; a few years ago nobody imagined the extent of the involvement of internet in our day to day lives. Internet connects us to the world, reducing the communication time. Companies are developing Corporate Internet marketing Strategies to fully utilize this interesting as well as efficient medium.

Corporate Internet marketing Strategies include maintaining a proper and efficient marketing site along with building customer loyalty, garner supplier support and Corporate Internet Branding. Most of the corporate organizations aim at reducing the overall costs of the business and providing new virtual products. The websites have to be very focused to appeal to the specific target audience.

As internet is a dynamic medium, constantly changing and evolving itself, therefore the Corporate Internet marketing Strategies too need to be changed as per the market requirements. New technological advancements give rise to fresh opportunities that have to be tapped to make optimum utilization of the internet. Secure exchange and information overload have led to the development of regional search engines and more sophisticated search engines where you get well organized information that help in Internet Branding and improving visibility.

Mosaic services is one of the major Internet Marketing experts India, outlines a strategy for online presence. The major points of consideration are:
Visibility on the search engines
As most of the users use search engines to get information on any subject, visibility in search engine is the key factor. This can be done with the help of search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, PR campaigns and affiliate marketing.
Impression on the visitor
After the visitor reaches the site, the design and information on the site should interest him. The content should be easy to understand and the site should be user friendly and easily negotiable.
Conversion of the visitor into a client
The goal of any marketing strategy is to convert the visitor into a client. An internet marketing campaign and e-commerce strategy help in increasing the conversion after an initial curiosity is aroused in the visitor or the target audience.
Retention of the visitor or client

The site must have features that attract repeat visitors. These elements help in increasing visitors as well as business from present clients.
Mosaic services, is the solution to your online marketing needs. Visit the site to get more information about the services being offered by the internet marketing company.

The Kodak Brand Lesson: Your Heritage Is Not Your Future

Kodak’s recent filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection is a historic comedown for a brand that once defined American industrial power and innovation. The photography empire founded by George Eastman started at the end of the 19th century, dominated the 20th and did not last long into the 21st. The company felt a tremendous impact from the shift to digital photography – a technology Kodak invented – and away from film, where Kodak once earned 70% margins and enjoyed a 90% market share in America.

Yet its problems were not unlike those of other big American technology near-monopolists had to deal with in the 20th century. National Cash Register (NCR) was once one of the world’s top computer makers, but has been reduced to making ATM machines. Westinghouse, once an industrial powerful equal to GE, has morphed into CBS, the broadcasting company it acquired and now licenses the once noble Westinghouse brand name to a ragbag of companies. Xerox, the pioneer of copying machines, is struggling in the competitive market for imaging products and services. Even AT&T, the telecom giant, was not able to replicate the dominance it once enjoyed in handling long-distance calls.

The moral of Kodak’s fate is that technology trends are often clearly visible, but changing a successful company is exceedingly hard. Take Nokia for example. In 2007, the Finnish mobile phone manufacturer was at its power peak. It made 4/10 mobile phones sold worldwide and demand was exploding. BusinessWeek lauded the Nokia brand as the 5th ‘best’ in the world, one place behind GE. In June of that same year, Apple released the iPhone. The game suddenly changed. Today, the industry giant is struggling to reinvent itself in a market that shifted abruptly to smart phones. So too is RIM, the maker of the Blackberry, with their two joint-CEOs ousted by an anxious board concerned about Blackberry’s declining relevance and the poor performance of its tablet.

For Kodak, the shift to digital photography was equally massive and sudden and it failed to make the leap. Perhaps a new management team will be able to revitalize the brand. Its brand name is certainly recognized the world over, but for what? Yet Kodak’s fate ought to be a lesson not just for today’s technology powerhouses such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook.

Digitization of content is laying waste to traditional industries that either can’t see the writing on the wall or choose to ignore it. Amazon and Apple between them have destroyed Borders, Blockbuster, Tower Records and (almost) Sears. What gets you there won’t keep you there. Iconic brands tend to lose their relevance long before the cash they generate begins to dry up. Once they lose their luster, they are nearly impossible to change.

The companies that survive are the ones who have no problem moving beyond their cash cow brands. IBM has successfully reinvented itself more than once. In recent years the brand deftly managed the shift from selling hardware to offering software and services. Apple has done this over and over again, disrupting first the computer industry, then music, and now the mobile phone industry. Killing cash cow product brands has been the hallmark of every Apple product innovation since the Macintosh.

The marketplace moves too rapidly to rely on the momentum of scale, history and heritage. When brand heritage represents “old and tired”, it’s nearly impossible to change that perception in people’s minds. Iconic brands make the leap to new relevance only when they focus on the two-stage strategy – essentially leveraging the cash-generating strength of the iconic brand to fuel the innovation of a new brand, and then “killing the cash cow” as the new brand takes full advantage of the momentum of the first.

Enlightened management with the intestinal fortitude to stay the course can slingshot their iconic brands and pave the way for newer and more relevant expressions of the original value that people continue to care about. No brand, however strong, can count on continued success: market dominance is only a snapshot in time.

Corporate Internet Branding Fundamentals

The Internet is a ubiquitous Corporate communications and sales channel, however many companies are still not utilizing much of its power. That could be because of loyalties to comfortable old channels or that there aren’t enough Internet marketing experts to take their brands into the digital realm.

Regardless of the hold-ups in leveraging internal or external Internet communications options, consumer and B2B channels are growing their share of the market. Resistance is futile and with this change in how consumers and B2B buyers are reached, is a change in the symbolism, voice, and style of promoting brands. That doesn’t necessarily mean the Internet can’t play a supporting role for your offline or TV advertising. For many campaigns, the Internet is just another conduit for sales videos and corporate brochures. Some are satisfied with this, however the Internet’s own power to communicate and generate business shouldn’t be underestimated.

The Internet, whether through public Web sites, search engines, Internet radio broadcasts, and e-mail are very targeted. It is shown to reach the right target at the right time with the right message. It doesn’t matter whether you use a Web friendly, or search engine friendly approach to your online advertising and promotion. You need to be there anyway you can. It’s too important to let it slide.

Internet branding is a term in increasing usage because branding can be adapted to be effective on the Internet. That’s different from broadcasting your TV video ad or showing your marketing brochure on your Web site. With Internet branding, you’re taking into consideration that viewers have searched around and seen many other products similar to yours. They may have reviewed many more product or service features than they would think about while watching television or casually reading a magazine.

Your customer’s context then is different. The splashy video display generally isn’t there and surprisingly, few people are interested in seeing it. They’re pressured for time and want to find what they’re looking for. If you understand their quest for knowledge, you can better shape your value proposition and even your sales pitch.

Active Internet Positioning

The Internet appears to be a passive marketing environment, but it’s actually very active. To stay one step ahead of the elusive customer, you have to continually position your products and Web site to meet their needs ahead of time. An Internet marketing expert helps to tell you where people are going ahead of time. You may even position your brand better with this knowledge. You have returning customers whose loyalty you want to build and you have new prospects coming in searching and enquiring about different things. It’s not easy to position a brand to meet all those needs. There are experts in the field who can help you understand Web visitors and help you build powerful Corporate Internet branding strategies.

It’s easy to say you’ll advertise to reach all the same prospects you did with your TV campaigns, but Internet audiences are different. And, advertising, such as search engine advertising can be expensive. You may not be able to afford to reach those same people. That means you may have to plan a way to reach particular segments of that audience with more specific features and benefits. Only after you bring them to your Web site and established credibility with respect to the product they’re inquiring about, will you be able to present your corporate brand. Corporate branding is powerful today and corporate Internet branding even more so. You can introduce products more quickly and even reposition them more effectively. People see corporate brands all the time though and are not necessarily impressed that your corporate brand will make this particular product relevant to them. For instance, just because Nike makes golf equipment doesn’t mean their big mammoth driver” is the right one. The corporate logo won’t be enough and forcing the brand on them isn’t going to make them buy it.

Search Marketing

Instead, Internet branding strategies, particularly those that deliver targeted visitors to your Web site, ensure your establish credibility and relevance. Remember that Web visitors are in an intense state of consciousness. They’re very often looking for something specific. If you want to get anywhere on the Web as a user, you have to have an idea of what you want, or you’ll sit frustrated in front of your computer. Television and magazines are very different. The channels and pages in these mediums are limited and the prospect is captured. Not on the Internet. There are billions of web pages and hundreds of millions of Web sites.

With search engines, consumers can get help finding what they’re looking for. High ranking sites get first crack at these motivated/directed consumers. Your corporate Internet marketing strategy should be heavily involved in search engine visibility. It is an opportunity to present your site many different ways to many different types of consumers. The potential reach is further enhanced because you have International reach and the cost of entry is so minimal.

Searchers are looking for quick solutions too. They’re not looking for fancy graphics and complicated menus that fly out all over the place. They’re looking for specific things about your products and services. Here, you have a low cost of adapting your brand imagery and communications to suit each group of visitors. Generally, it just takes another Web page designed and written for that group of consumers. You can fashion your homepage to let current customers get to what they’re looking for as well.

After these searchers have found your products and services relevant to their search, your corporate brand will then have the power to make the sale and establish brand loyalty.

Intelligent corporate Internet branding adapts to the consumer. It de-massifies to serve each person as they arrive; yet it still delivers the corporate brand communication at the right time after the visitor is satisfied. Rather than a boastful in your face confrontation with the consumer, your corporate image becomes a helpful one and is relevant and timely. You get credit for being there when they needed you.

The 7 Secrets Of Successful Corporate Rebranding

Here are seven rules of the road to avoid the naming wheel of pain and ensure a successful outcome:

1.Get Serious

Corporate renaming is not a game for the inexperienced. Getting a group of students in a room with beer and pizza, as one General Counsel of a major corporation suggested, is guaranteed to fail. Find a professional branding company that has done it before. Make sure they have resources in-house. Check references, talk to the team members about their experience and their philosophy of naming. And above all, make sure they understand your business and how it works.

2.Look two steps ahead

Names should be created for tomorrow and not just for today. Enough time should be spent analyzing the market, identifying opportunities for differentiation and setting the appropriate strategic naming objectives to be used for the name evaluation process. In today’s highly competitive environment, the strongest brands are the ones that transcend the physical attributes of a product or service to form an emotional connection with the customer. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, deliberately picked a general, non-product specific name because he knew he’d eventually be selling more than books.

3.Get uncomfortable

Step outside the comfort zone of your industry and the competition. Look for inspiration outside your category and learn from completely unrelated brands. Names created in this way have the advantage of being more readily available from a trademark perspective since they go beyond the common category descriptors into fresher territory. AirTouch Cellular launched as a spin-off from Pacific Telesis completely broke the mold of the “com, cell, tel” names and was a resounding success in the marketplace, but it was a difficult choice for senior management because it was so unfamiliar. They were ecstatic about the name however when AirTouch was acquired for $68 billion.

The lesson: names that make you feel uncomfortable at first should not be dismissed. Usually these are the ones with impact and differentiation in the marketplace. Winning names don’t always rise to the top immediately; they need time to sink in.

4.Avoid the “CEO’s wife” syndrome

When it comes to final name selection, avoid the informal focus groups with your nearest and dearest. It is not a popularity contest. A small team of the key decision makers who have a good understanding of the business and strategic objectives should select the final name. Senior management needs to be involved throughout the process.Do not evaluate the names based on a like/ dislike basis, but more on a “fit-to-concept” scale. Every new name will look strange at first. Remember the strategic objectives you set up at the beginning of your process? Now is the time to use them. Check each name against these criteria.

5.Be prepared to fight for your name

A major difficulty of corporate naming today is legal availability. It is often said that every word in the dictionary is legally encumbered. That’s why you’ll rarely find a new corporate name based on a word that can be found in the dictionary.A more usual route is a hybrid name made up of two word parts, such as Agilent, Entergy and Verizon. They sound familiar, but they are clearly manufactured words, thereby being all the more ownable and unique.

Build in enough time for full legal investigation. There’s a chance that the name will be in use by a company somewhere for a product or service, however marginal. Be prepared to negotiate.

6.Listen to your target audience

If appropriate, test the old name alongside new alternatives. Again, the criteria is not like/dislike but “fit” � can this name carry the meaning of the company in the future? The key in naming research is to listen carefully for things that can be overcome (e.g., neutral to negative associations, etc.) and for things that need to be addressed, such as inappropriate translations. Even if you are solely US-based business, we live in a very diverse country and cannot ignore key languages such as Spanish and French.

7.Let everybody know the smart, strategic vision behind the new name

Have a well-planned and well-executed communications campaign to support the new name. People need to understand how they should think of a new name. Your internal audiences are the most critical for the success of the new name. Employees are the ones who have strong emotional attachments to the old name; they are also the ones who will “live” the new brand on an everyday basis and they should feel good about it. The goal is to use internal communications to raise employee morale and excitement about the name by building awareness, generating acceptance and sustaining commitment. In this way, you enable them to better understand the transition, the new brand promise and create a “rally call” for success.

And remember – a name’s ultimate meaning is always the result of ongoing communications and people’s experiences with an organization and its products and services. Just think of Google, Amazon and eBay, or Shell and Kodak for that matter.

Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast

Management guru Peter Drucker clearly understood that corporate culture is an incredibly powerful factor in a company’s long-term success. He is right! No matter how good your strategy is, when it comes down to it, people always make the difference.

So how do you create a great culture? Does it just happen or can you shape it?

First, you have to define what your culture is and more importantly you must live it and protect it. Living it begins at the top. If people don’t see the executives living and displaying the corporate values that they expect others to live by, the end is near. However, the problem is that most companies don’t seriously take the concept of defining their values. Often they go through the process of identifying values they feel are necessary, but really these are just empty words that don’t mean anything. They check the box and move on. What a waste of time. Or worse, sometimes corporate values are selected as a strategy to “rally the troops” and are really manipulative in nature. This concept can cause resentment and backfire completely.

We find that the best corporate values are those that are personalized and reflect the true beliefs of the company. Above all, avoid standard one word solutions like: integrity, ethical, teamwork, honesty, etc. The best solution is when the values are clearly understood so they truly influence how people make decisions and behave on a daily basis. Everyone should keep this in their mind that values drive the people within the business, not the business. Values must be internalized by the people in the organization to have meaning.

As part of our process in helping companies develop their core guiding statements of Purpose, Vision and Mission we often evolve and clarify an organization’s values to reflect their culture. Many clients prefer to keep their values internal and not publish them externally. To illustrate our beliefs, I’ll use an example that many people are familiar with. Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh, and his team represent a great example of how corporate values can drive business success. Take a look at their viewpoint in words, photos and video.

Zappos Family Core Values What puts the Zap in Zappos

“As we grow as a company, it has become more and more important to explicitly define the core values from which we develop our culture, our brand, and our business strategies. These are the ten core values that we live by:”

* Deliver WOW Through Service
* Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
* Embrace and Drive Change
* Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
* Pursue Growth and Learning
* Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
* Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
* Do More With Less
* Be Passionate and Determined
* Be Humble

Online Marketing Strategy & Tip

The recent years have brought great changes in the world of business strategies and planning. These changes have been aptly supported with the advent of the internet or we can say that online marketing has revolutionized the business world. This revolution is now growing at a rapid pace and within a few years this will be the driving force of majority of the businesses. With the advent of internet many companies have realized the need for new and improved options for communicating with prospective customers, especially those who are sited across the seas and boundaries of India. Nowadays, Internet has become a crucial medium for reaching prospective clients anywhere across the globe. This power has been recognized by Mosaic and now online marketing in India has been given a new definition ever since its inception.
Mosaic, India’s foremost online marketing agency or you could even say online marketing company has been able to live up to its name with its outstanding team of online marketing experts helping the clients and people receiving qualified leads through their existing website, with measured results. Driven with a powerful vision, we can only tell you that relying on us will only help you in interpreting and understanding the Internet in its right perspective while also maintaining stability through all your marketing messages. In recent times it has been witnessed that by applying the wrong means, some other contemptible websites dictate the position you are worthy of. This is disheartening as we are well aware of the fact that you have slogged day and night to achieve your target and to emerge as the foremost website, however, the step in the wrong direction might prove fatal. For that Mosaic is there to offer you array of online marketing strategies and tips through our online marketing consultants.
Our professional marketing teams keep a close watch on the changing technology and adapt itself according to the trend in vogue. Moving along with technology, our skilled team of marketing professionals continuously works on every aspect of the website to make each and every campaign a success. Mosaic, with its awesome Online Marketing strategies, strives to gives its best to the client thereby achieving client satisfaction which is its forte. Hence the most important decision you can make for your company will be in choosing the right marketing team such as Mosaic that can guarantee you increased revenues.

Branding Strategies on International Markets

When a company is planning to enter some international market and is looking for a suitable strategy to brand its products there, it’s always very important to appraise all the nuances in order to make the right decision. There are three possible variations of how to brand your products on the foreign market and you should choose one basic strategy which is most suitable in your particular case.

The strategy of international brand

Company operating in the international market don’t make a broad adaptation of its offers, brands and marketing to different local conditions. So, a brand, designed for domestic market is used on external markets in the same form. Such a strategy is suitable for companies whose brands and products are truly unique and they don’t face any serious competition on foreign markets. For example, Microsoft Corporation.

The strategy of global brand

Company that uses this strategy don’t adapt the concept of branding to possible national differences and use same brand name, logo and slogan all over the world (like Intel Corporation did at the beginning of its operation). Market proposal, brand positioning and communications are identical. So, everything is originally developed for the multinational audience. Branding operations standardization leads to significant economies in terms of investments needed.

The strategy of transnational brand

Company using this strategy develops individual concepts of branding for each of foreign markets it’s interested in. Not only brand name, but also market proposals and marketing events are specially adapted to local conditions. Nevertheless, the concept of corporate brand is quite visible and it works as a framework, which guides local adaptation. So, a brand can be positioned different ways and an appropriate price can be settled and trade policies used. High investments needed to match all local requirements, as well as the absence of benefits of standardization are negative aspects in this case.

Implementation of branding strategy involves certain difficulties. Constant adaptation is important because of changing conditions and dynamic development of the market. In addition, these three main strategies are hardly seen in their purest form in practice. In reality we are dealing with a lot of options and a wide variety of hybrid forms. Nevertheless, these strategies provide a good starting point and help to characterize a general direction of brand strategy.

The Best Branding Strategy – Make a Real Connection

What is it that makes some brands connect so well with their audiences? We could learn something about building brands for organizations by also asking, What is it that makes some people connect so well with other people? In many ways, organizations are like individuals. Each has its own specific “fingerprint” — strengths, character, and personality — that makes it unique and recognizable. It’s how we get to know our friends and understand what it is about them that we like. In a world where no one has time to carefully weigh all available brand options, this fingerprint acts as shorthand to help us sort through the maze, a very real point of value at a time when it is increasingly difficult to tell one product or service from another. When an organization’s brand fingerprint is clearly defined and articulated so that customers, shareholders, distributors, employees, and partners consistently feel they “know” the organization and know what to expect from it, magic happens.

This is when high emotional engagement occurs. This is when “raving fans” and customer loyalty are created. This is when organizations gain sustainable competitive advantage. Discovering and communicating this brand fingerprint helps organizations bring strategic focus to the power of their brand — giving brands a meaningful and recognizable shorthand that helps cut through the noise and clutter to connect with people.

Brand fingerprint process

Following a process to help uncover the organization’s brand fingerprint will ensure that the intangible attributes assigned to the brand — assets like integrity and innovation — are translated into a visual, tangible representation to which audiences can relate. The process has two phases, strategy and visual translation. It works like this:

Phase I. Strategy

Step 1. Finding your brand values, character, and personality
Step 2. Understanding the competitive landscape
Step 3. Determining your position in the marketplace
Step 4. Developing your value proposition

Phase II. Visual Translation

Step 1. Developing the brand mood
Step 2. Determining the key brand elements
Step 3. Developing the brand roadmap

Phase I. Strategy

The strategy phase can be compared to traditional methods of brand development and is based on core values. The difference here is that the exercises used in the facilitated sessions with company decision makers are designed not only to uncover brand values and attributes, but to gather information in a way that it will be useful for development of the visual translation of the brand. Pairing the creative team with decision makers at the very beginning of brand strategy development is essential in gathering input that will be critical to visual translation.

This is important since experts say that 80% of what we learn comes to us visually, and customers will most likely see brands long before they understand the strategy. There are many benefits of considering how the brand will be communicated visually at the strategy stage. Some of these benefits include: – translation of intangible company assets and attributes into tangible representations that truly reflect the company’s core values – avoidance of possible disconnects when logos, websites, and print materials are developed – development of marketing materials that really communicate key messages – deeper understanding and long-term recall of brand messages by customer audiences – consistency of brand messages over time

Phase II: Visual Translation

The visual translation phase takes all of the information gathered in the strategy phase and translates it into a visual form that people can see and relate to — the visible brand fingerprint. A clear and accurate brand fingerprint can communicate assets like integrity, zero defects, and innovation and make them palpable. Visible. Understandable. Audiences will know at a glance “who” the organization is, what it is saying to them, and why they should buy, react, or be moved. And it will be real, it will be authentic, and it will stand the test of time — because what people see represents the synthesis of the brand strategy.

The benefits of developing the visual components of the brand directly from strategy exercises include:

– a brand mood that will communicate to customers on an emotional level, because the design is based on authentic aspects of the brand’s character and personality – because the mood is a direct translation of strategy jointly developed by company decision makers and creative team, there are no unpleasant surprises at the design stage – the main visual components of the brand will look and feel “real” and will become the pillars upon which other marketing materials will be built – there will be no need for new themes, visual approaches, or deviations from the established visual translation. Brand equity builds with consistency. This is a cost-effective benefit.

Brand communication

Being true to the organization’s authentic brand is how trust, loyalty, and sustainable relationships are developed between the organization and its audiences. Great graphics and cool animation aren’t effective if they don’t accurately communicate the company’s character or brand. Something’s amiss if the organization is not clear and consistent about how it is presenting itself in front of its publics. If the organization’s brand and its image are not aligned, “brand schizophrenia” occurs, which significantly affects the quality of the relationship and level of trust with valued audiences, including customers and employees. Both lose trust in companies when they don’t know what to expect. With brand strategy and visuals clearly articulated in a unique brand “fingerprint,” organizations can make a real connection with their audiences. Once established, this connection enables them to communicate compelling value, promote long-term recall of brand messages, and foster the trust, loyalty, and emotional attachment that sustain relationships.

Building Effective Brand Strategy Through Product Design

The world of product design is changing. For those companies intent on making products that are enthusiastically received and championed over time, it’s no longer enough to simply design them so they function well and are aesthetically pleasing. For a product to have stickiness in today’s market it must reach consumers on a deeper level.

Today’s new breed of product designers understand that the key to successful, long lasting products lies, not just in the look and feel of them, not just in the function of them, but in the entire experience, from the first contact in the store, to the product’s ultimate disposal. At every stage, the experience should be meaningful and positive for the consumer, fulfilling aspirations and emotions.

This trend in design, called “experience design”, underscores, at its most basic level, the folly of taking a reliable, aesthetically pleasing product and putting it in an aggressively sealed clam pack that’s nearly impossible to open. It looks askance at such brand killers as poor customer service, badly written instructions and missing peripherals, such as batteries or mounting screws.

Frustrating and angering the customer should never be part of the consumer experience at any level. Unfortunately, these negative touch points can occur anywhere, from misleading advertising, to poor merchandising, to difficulties in disposing of the product.

Accomplishing an effective brand experience means reaching across disciplines. The marketing manager must be on the same page with the product designer as well as the customer service manager, the supply chain manager, and the retailer; all parties must work in concert to achieve the same goal by the same brand strategy.

The brand strategy, the overarching plan to manage the consumer’s experience of the product is at the heart of experience design. But who conceives of and directs this strategy?

The most effective brand strategies flourish in the fertile soil of collaboration. The gardener of this soil is the corporate executive in charge of product development. But just as a good gardener will nurture the many different plants in his garden, giving them the light and nourishment they need to blossom, the good corporate brand strategist will recognize the talents and abilities of his team while marshalling them toward a common goal based on an agreed upon brand strategy.

Working in teams is essential to effective brand strategy, teams at every level. A more apt analogy may be to a league, a confederation of teams, a team of teams, working together to achieve a positive experience for the consumer with the product. There’s the marketing team, the merchandising team, the design team, the retailers, the shareholders, etc. If any one of these teams is not working effectively with the others the strategy bogs down.

This can present a significant challenge to the brand strategist, particularly when some of their teams are independent entities with their own agendas. So it is incumbent on the brand strategist to get complete buy-in from all his teams, which means communicating a coherent brand strategy, one with the power to move even the most stubborn holdout.

To accomplish this, the brand strategist should work with the design team to anchor the strategy in the firm bedrock of consumer experience. One needs to know how the consumer interacts with and feels about the product (or if the product is yet to be developed, similar products).

Today’s product design firms routinely call on anthropologists to observe and evaluate consumer interactions with their products to discover ways to improve them, to fulfill aspirations and connect with positive emotions. This is not done in a vacuum.

Traditional focus groups too often rely on a false environment, a corporate meeting room, a few words of advice, a video presentation, which does not observe the consumer interacting with the product in a natural way.

Anthropological field work – observing consumer interaction with the product in their own environment – tells a much deeper story. Imagine following the consumer through their first experience with a product, from finding a description of it online, to driving to the store, to searching the aisles for it, to purchasing it, unpacking it, assembling it and using it.

Were there any negative touch points? Did the online description create the proper aspirations and expectations? Was the store conveniently located? Was the product properly categorized and easy to find? Was the price right? Was the product easy to get out of the package? Were the instructions adequate? Did it come with the necessary peripherals? Did the appearance of it elicit positive associations? Was the function of it intuitive? Did it function according to expectations?

An anthropologist working with a design firm can get answers to these questions. Working with the corporate brand strategist, the design team can help devise ways to enhance the consumer experience at every level. They can make suggestions that can be picked up and analyzed by the marketing team, the merchandising team, and others, on the way to designing an overall brand strategy with the power to move all players.

So while the brand strategist will work with many teams in his effort to create his strategy, one of the first teams he will want to consult with is the design team. Product design in many cases becomes the catalyst to develop a coherent and powerful brand strategy.

Product design is so much more than it used to be. Today’s product design firms are working on a much broader canvas, incorporating the philosophy of experience design to help companies design products that connect with the consumer’s emotions and aspirations. After all, delighting the customer is the key to successful, long lasting products, and the way to a better bottom line.

A Branding Strategy Is More Than Just Looking Good

When hired as General Manager by the Chicago Cubs in 1981, George Dallas Green asserted at his opening press conference as well as every press conference thereafter that he was a baseball authority and expert. He spoke the truth. He played professional major league baseball for many years and managed major league teams for many years.

It wasn’t long before Chicago sportswriters, broadcasters, and local dignitaries came to label Green as an authority and expert on baseball. Newspaper articles routinely described him as a baseball expert or something similar.

What Dallas Green did back then was develop and implement a Branding Strategy. He positioned himself as not just one of the several major league baseball managers and general managers, but differentiated himself more so as an expert and an authority on baseball. He didn’t change his appearance. He didn’t need to be something other than what he was because his experience spoke for itself. It was a great branding marketing strategy at a time when the Cubs needed it.

Like the Cubs back then, today most small businesses need a great marketing strategy or business development plan to survive the economic ups and downs.

In my experience, a common consulting activity or action when addressing the business development needs of a small business involved connecting my client with an outside marketing or advertising agency. Usually, small businesses don’t have the resources or talent internally to provide the marketing needs or to develop the strategies required.

Typically, here’s how the process would go. Potential marketing or advertising agencies were invited to a fact finding and exploration meeting with the business owner, myself, and selected others. The outside agency would return in a week or so to present their plan. Virtually without exception, the strategy the outside agency would present was one of Branding or Re-Branding the client’s business.

Branding remains at top of the marketing and advertising buzz today. And rightfully so! Branding is a powerful and effective marketing process when designed and implemented properly.

However, after observing scores of Branding presentations by marketing and advertising firms, it is apparent to me that only a very few marketing and advertising firms really understand and know what a Branding Strategy is all about. In fact, most of the time the presentations I observed were not Branding Strategies at all, but more precisely Makeover Plans.

Sure the Branding Strategy may employ a new look, new logo, new colors, new tag lines, and so on. But the Branding Strategy needs to do more than change appearance.

The Branding Strategy translates the Company’s Vision and Goals into Strategic and Tactical actions and behaviors. New internal processes or procedures may be necessary. The Branding Strategy will establish and/or reinforce the Company’s Perception and Position in the marketplace.

Part of the Branding Strategy involves taking the Core Concepts and Core Competencies of a business and then identifying a singular concept, service, feature, or benefit that the business can claim that sets it apart from its competitors. That’s Competitors, not Alternatives.

There may be a number of alternatives for a person looking to replace the air conditioning unit, or to build an addition to the home, or to move to new home, or to replace the transmission, or to build a new deck. The alternatives range from the top quality and established brand name product and service providers to what is affectionately labeled as a Chuck in a Truck. The latter cannot be viewed as a competitor to a business that is among the former.

In most every market in the United States, there are usually about five or six established brand name product and service providers in each business category. Any one of the five or six would consider the others as true competitors. One of the primary objectives of the Branding Strategy must be more than to differentiate the company from its true competitors. The Branding Strategy must establish what separates the company from the others.

How? The Branding Strategy identifies or establishes a Singular Market Position that will separate the company from the others. The Singular Market Position or separation factor must be something tangible or concrete rather than abstract. Quality, Value, and Service are abstract, not really tangible or concrete. They are perceptions. More importantly, they are expectations particularly if the business is among the top providers.

Once the separation factor is determined or identified, then all the strategies and tactics associated with the marketing and promotion of the Branding Strategy will reinforce the Singular Market Position to everyone in the company’s Target Market. It is not just differentiation, but distinction and separation from the company’s competitors.

To illustrate, if the business is one of six short haul trucking companies in the market that is considered among the top alternatives, then most likely each company provides Quality, Value and Service. The six differentiate themselves by the color of their trucks. If one of the competitors has red trucks, the Branding Strategy surely would not be to have red trucks as well. So what could separate the company from the others? The answer usually comes from asking what the company does better or more often than the others. A look at the customer base may discover that the company has a number of electronics manufacturers or suppliers on the list. That discovery becomes the separation factor. The Branding Strategy centers on the claim that the company is the electronics products transportation experts of choice. The advertising and promotion programs reinforce the claim routinely.

Or, if the business is one of six residential roofing companies in the market that is considered among the top alternatives, then, like the truckers, each of the six provides Quality, Value, and Service as well as has different colored trucks and nifty logos. So what could separate the one from the others? Just like the truckers, the work history and customer base is likely to reveal what the company does the most and maybe more often than the others. So this company could be the clay tile roof experts, or singles and shakes roof experts, or metal roofs expert. That choice becomes the separation factor of the Branding Strategy. The advertising and promotion programs reinforce the claim routinely.

In short, the purpose or objective of the Branding Strategy is to alter the competitive arena in the company’s favor by setting the company apart from the others in its class, and then advertising and promoting the separating product or service until the message of the Brand is known and repeated by all who matter and more.