Are you ready for Brand Buy-In™?
Our point of view and our approach to business-to-business brand development and marketing communications are rather unique in our business. To us, communications planning and marketing communications are inseparable from brand development. And vice versa.
Now, and forever in the future, b2b marketing is a whole new ballgame. It’s a journey. It’s evolutionary, not revolutionary. And integration has new meaning. It’s not all about identity, aesthetic and clever advertising (although they are important components); rather, it’s about defining and delivering on a brand promise. Because at the end of the day, your brand is a promise—an experiential expectation that is defined, evidenced and then delivered on. Every day. And success is about earning trust and living the brand every day. There is no shortcut.
To be sustainably effective today requires more than just talking the talk. There has to be a strong connection among your mission, your vision, your strategic plan and your communications to all audiences and publics. There has to be a meaningful connection with your prospects, your customers, your employees, your managers, your distribution channel, your suppliers and vendors, your communities and the market at large — every employee, affiliate and stakeholder. There has to be real substance.
We call our approach to thinking on this issue Brand Buy-In™.
At the heart of our Brand Buy-In™ philosophy and approach is that brand development is really about defining and delivering on an experiential expectation. It’s about earning trust and living the brand and the brand promise every day. That’s particularly important in buyer access and analysis of marketing messages and choices continues to explode.
We take the point of view that brand development is really about defining and delivering on an experiential expectation — about earning trust and living the brand every day.
With brand development focused only outward — to the market — the brand becomes nothing more than a fragile facade, a balloon, easily punctured and deflated. At the same time, the outward is important for it represents your manageable opportunity to differentiate, persuade and shape the story. Still, for brand development to be truly advantageous — profitable and sustainable — the brand development effort must permeate the organization and the experience to the core. The brand, that experiential expectation, must become indistinguishable from the very fabric and face of the organization itself.
To be sustainably effective today requires more than just talking the talk. There has to be a strong connection among your mission, your vision, your strategic plan and your communications to all stakeholders and publics. There has to be a meaningful connection with your prospects, your customers, your employees, your managers, your distribution channel, your suppliers and vendors, your communities and the market at large — every employee, affiliate and stakeholder. There has to be real substance. It really is, and must be, Brand Buy-In™.
Critically, Brand Buy-In™ is not some stock program, not a one-size-fits-all, off-the-shelf solution. Nor is it some best-selling book du jour. Rather, Brand Buy-In™ is a way of looking at things — a considered process, a strategically driven framework and approach for applying strategic thought and communication to drive and effect brand development and the achievement of marketing and business objectives.
In that process — from strategizing, planning and concepting, through development, through deployment, through measurement — effective, meaningful, strategic communication is absolutely imperative and key to the success of the process. Every manager, employee, affiliate and stakeholder must understand the promise and deliver on the experiential expectation, and to do that, there needs to be a leveraging of strategy and resources to create full engagement and commitment — top-down and bottom-up; inside-out and outside-in.
The core of Brand Buy-In™ is a communications framework designed to get the right information in the right hands at the right time. Broadly, it’s built on four inter-related and inter-dependent areas of focus, directed at four broad classes of stakeholder: Best Informed Prospect; Best Informed Customer; Best Informed Employee and Best Informed Marketplace.
Importantly, because people are over loaded with information today, it’s critical to determine and prioritize what strategic information each stakeholder group wants to know, what they need to know, what is expected or desired of them, and finally how best get that information to them efficiently and consistently. Additionally, to be effective, communication requires more than mere transfer of information. It requires dialog. There are no cookie cutter solutions; rather the dynamics and situation of each organization must determine and drive the best fit and best practice.
While all media are fair game, depending on the message and delivery metrics, the power of face-to-face (direct word of mouth, viral communications, social media, Web 2.x, etc.) must not be under valued. The vision, described with passion and expressed with genuine evangelistic conviction, motivates more effectively than a thousand sales meetings or television commercials.
Further the brand must be built on the back of valuable metrics, among them: sales inquiries/leads, orders, facility and service line utilization, customer satisfaction, employee engagement and profitability.
That thinking and opinion, that definition of, and delivery on, Brand Buy-In™, shapes our approach to brand development, marketing planning and marketing communications execution for all of our clients.
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