Every day we are all saturated with images and messages of different brands. Some messages are very direct whilst others can be very subtle but we are all affected by them, whether we realise or not.
A brand is made up of a group of attributes which may be tangible or invisible, rational or emotional. It is these attributes which help create the messages consumers receive and which contribute towards someone’s decision to buy into that brand or not. For example, what makes someone automatically pick up the Heinz baked beans at the supermarket without considering any other brand? And what makes people happy to queue outside Hollister Co. when they wouldn’t think about doing it for any other store? If we consider how we ourselves shop as consumers and all the brand decisions we make every day, the importance of these attributes and the impact they have on buying power, becomes clear.
It is imperative that companies understand this and if they haven’t already, consider what their brand attributes are. I still find it surprising how many companies are willing to leave these things to chance and don’t place any importance on defining their brand and taking control of the messages they are putting out to their customers.
Marketing messages need to be 3 things and none are independent of the other:
- Relevant to the target audience
- Different from the competition
- Deliverable – this is hugely important because a brand will fail if it can’t walk the walk!
Chalk & Ward Advertising have developed a proprietary approach to helping companies take this step towards defining their brand and messages. We call it ‘Core Values’ as that is what is at the heart of every business – the values they stand for in the marketplace.
The strategic session takes the form of a collaborative workshop with key members of the team across the organisation to represent all the different aspects of the business. Collaboration is essential to develop a feeling of mutual creation and help with internal ‘buy-in’. The Core Values need to be embraced and lived by all staff, for example, how will the Finance department deliver on them vs. the Logistics department? It’s therefore very important to get a multi-faceted team behind it from the outset.
We work with the team to help them agree what is at the heart of their business and then how they deliver on this for their target audience and against their competitors. Many organisations just don’t have the time on a day-to-day basis to spend thinking about their brand so it’s a great opportunity for people to get together and focus on what’s important for the business. A recent client agreed with us:
Thanks again for co-ordinating all our thoughts yesterday. It was great to have someone facilitate the thought process and help us to focus. To simply spend a day where we had no other distractions was really beneficial
Karenza Cross – Primary Excellence Teaching School
It’s a hugely engaging session and the Core Values then become the foundation from which companies can communicate with their audience. This is why it’s so important to get the strategy of a brand right before moving on to the communication stage because together with great creative work, it is the right, consistent messages that builds a strong brand.