Brand Matters … Even In The Most Technical Markets
I attended an interesting conference yesterday where the folks at United Business Media unveiled their recent discoveries into the mind of the design engineer. The one thing that struck me the most was how much brand really matters into what would be considered a very technical decision. I thought it would be helpful to re-visit the idea of brand and the technical purchaser.
A company’s brand or brand message is best encapsulated in a formal message platform. The message platform, as a strategic construct, creates message consistency and frequency across all communications tactics. Here’s a quick outline of how to create a compelling message platform.
Align with the Corporate Vision
The corporate vision is the heart and soul of the company. Ultimately, customers buy the goods and services that result from executing the corporate vision. The corporate vision should guide all enterprise aspects from product definition, to management philosophy, to customer relations. A solid message platform starts with the corporate vision as the foundation.
Define a Value Proposition
A value proposition is the total of the benefits promised to the customer. Not the attributes and certainly not the product, but the benefits. The Value Proposition is the beginning of the customer-facing mindset. It contains what my colleague at Santa Clara University, H. Buford Barr, refers to as WIFME … What’s In it For ME!!
Create Integrated Value Drivers
Value Drivers are the customer directed attribute statements that substantiate the company’s value. In other words, Value Drivers substantiate the WIFME claims.
Draft The Campaign Messages
Now comes the hard part. Developing the campaign messages. These are the guts of the brand. These are images (verbal and visual) that align customer perception with the company’s value proposition. They should directly address the needs and wants of the stakeholders. More importantly, these are elements that drive discipline and consistency throughout an integrated marketing communications program. Every ad, news release, banner ad, web site, blog and tweet; every trade show display, speech and coupon needs to encompass one or more of the campaign messages.
Sadly, the quest for brand equity is too often side-tracked by the one-off “bright idea.” A well-thought out message platform can keep the brand on track, consistently communicating the WIFME to the stakeholders.