Branding and Marketing
by Clay Marafiote
Here is an
article about Branding and Marketing.
You're better than your competitors, right? Of course! But if you're
not exactly sure "why" or "how" you're better (or different) then there's something you need to know.
One of the biggest challenges companies face is figuring out what differentiates them from their competition. In fact, many never figure it out and choose to leave this task to their prospects, which is a problem and a very BIG mistake.
Because prospects don't spend much time trying to figure out on their own how a company is unique and different from its
competitors. They expect a company to tell them.
Are prospects lazy? Absolutely not. After all, if it's not important enough to a company to position themselves - to differentiate themselves from the crowd - why should you or I expect it to be important to a prospect? There's a solution.
You see, "branded" companies don't have "identity" problems because their message is clear and prospects know precisely
who they are, what they do, and what they stand for. How many people can you name who don't know that Coke is "the real
thing," Visa is "everywhere you want to be," and "BMW is "the ultimate driving machine"?
So, is "branding" advertising? No. But, the branding process might include advertising.
In a nutshell, branding builds a consistent message into and across all marketing channels, and differentiates your company and products from other industry participants. It's based on the idea of "singularity," of being different, and creates (in your prospect's mind) the perception that your company isn't the same as all the others... it's unique. And in marketing, "unique"is better.
Are you thinking that branding is just for multinational conglomerates? It's not. Branding can be targeted locally and regionally, as well as nationally and internationally. It depends on the company. And regardless of what some mega
corporations spend, effective branding does not have to cost millions of dollars. There are many low cost, effective tactics
you can use. The problem is most people don't know what these are - and it's costing them money (lots of it) in the form
of wasted advertising dollars and lost sales.
Want a local "for instance"? Okay.
A lot of Information Technology "solution providers" have been very busy promoting their services over the past year
or two. Some are "end-to-end"; others are "back-end"; and still others claim to be "total" solution providers. Sounds excellent. But what, exactly, is a "solution provider"?
And does my "back-end" need attention or should I focus more on the "front-end"? "End-to-end" sounds sort of like a makeover, which, according to my fiancée, could be a pretty drastic and
expensive way to go.
Now what? How do I choose? Maybe I should just go with one of the BIG boys, someone I've heard of (e.g., IBM, Cisco, etc.). Even if it's going to cost a small fortune, at least I have a mild idea of who they are and can rest assured they'll be here tomorrow!
And there's the rub.
But it's precisely what (your) prospects think when they're surrounded by hoards of non-branded companies. It's just too
difficult to figure out the differences. So by default, they go with a company they know... a company that's been branded.
Prospects and Marketing Resources:
- Marketing V. Branding