A brand is the sum of all facets, features and characteristics of a company, both good and bad, which are a result of the company’s interactions with suppliers, manufacturers, service providers, distributors, resellers, employees, customers, the general public, owners/investors – basically, every stakeholder to the company.
Brand development and management can get complex and consume resources that most startups and small companies cannot afford, but it does not have to be resource intensive.
One of the best ways I have found to develop and manage a brand is through brand pillars. Brand pillars are like a unique recipe to a company that is made up of a set of ingredients. While the ingredients might be common, it’s their combination that makes the recipe unique. The key here is to develop a recipe that no other company can successfully replicate, so that the recipe stays unique and differentiated in the marketplace, and ensure it can be defended. The last word defend – is crucial, because an enduring brand is one that the company can successfully protect in the marketplace against competitors.
Brand pillars are developed principally through a combination of activities, including the following:
Identity: looking inside and asking who you are, how you do what you do, what you want to be and why.
- Company founders/owners look inward to understand vision and mission for their own lives and if and how they want them reflected in their company.
- If the company has an operating history, what stories or culture can be identified that make for potential brand ingredients?
- What kind of people do you want to work with and how do you want to help them? More great information on this from Russell Brunson in his first video “Module #1 – The Secret Formula” of his Dot Come Secrets Training
Utility: looking outside to customers, competitors and market.
- What financial, emotional, physical or spiritual benefits are provided to customers through products and services, support, marketing and pricing that satisfy needs and desires?
- How are competitors positioned? What is the company’s fit that makes it unique and differentiated?
- Where is the category and market going and how can the company position itself to take advantage of those changes?
Once developed, brand pillars should help guide companies in many of the usual activities they perform to operate and grow, which also means that they end up managing and developing their brand through the normal course of business.