You could be trying to connect with the wrong buyers. You could have the right buyers but the wrong message. Or you could be failing to consider influences on your brand reputation other than your buyers or products. Most branding processes start with the question, "What do you do?" Idea Grove's Three-Dimensional Brand™ strategy begins by asking "How do you make the world a better place?" We help you combine thought leadership strategy, product marketing and social purpose to create a more durable brand—one to help you grow while protecting you through crises, criticism and cancellation attempts.
Our brand strategy process starts with conversations that help us and you discover the essence of your brand, its personality, your ideal buyer, and the unique story that you can tell them.
Next, we work to find the gold in those conversations and pair that with competitor and industry research to help create a brand that stands apart from others in your space.
We help you take your brand strategy and implement it, whether that’s with a new name and logo, a thought leadership or social purpose program, or a go-to-market strategy for your product.
If you are finding that your marketing tactics aren’t effective at all or not as effective as they used to be, then it’s time to think about a refresh of your brand strategy. Either of those situations is a sign that something inside your strategy is off. It could be that it was never properly targeted in the first place, or that your market has shifted and you haven’t kept up. Either way, if you’ve tried to fix your tactics and that still hasn’t worked, it’s time to consider whether your issues are bigger.
Brand strategy starts with your buyers and knowing their motivations. Before you can reach them, you have to know what prompts them to start looking for new solutions. You have to know where they are going for information and what kind of information they find valuable. Once you know that, you know how to reach them. It’s easy to build out the rest of the brand strategy from there.
Brand strategy is critical but time-consuming work, and if you’re trying to refresh a brand strategy that’s gone stale, it could mean pausing all of the other marketing work that you’re doing until the brand work is complete. That’s not an option for most marketing leaders, so outsourcing the heavy lifting of the brand work while you oversee the overall project is optimal. Additionally, brand strategy work can be hard to do when you’re caught up in the everyday of an organization. It often takes someone with a fresh perspective on your business and your customers to come up with something that’s truly effective.
We would argue that you may not know your buyers as well as you think you do. That’s not to say you don’t know who the organizations you sell to are or what their surface-level challenges are. What you may not know, though, is what prompts your buyer to look for a solution in the first place, or what criteria they use when selecting a new vendor. Our buyer persona process gets into all of this, because it’s these smaller details that can make a difference in your brand taking off or falling flat.
We believe that, more than anything, messaging has to be authentic. It’s what today’s buyer is demanding, and if your message doesn’t feel like it can naturally come from you then it’s going to fall flat. Or, worse, it’s going to actually turn off your buyer. That’s why we start the message development process with conversations. We want to get to know you as a business and you as people. Messaging is about matching your experience with your expertise. We can’t do that without talking to you.
So, is it an iPod touch or iPod Touch?
Well, if you're Apple's marketing team, it's "touch" -- but if you're a journalist following Apple, it could be either. If you read Apple's media coverage, you'll see both versions.
Nicole Stockdale, director of digital strategy at the Dallas Morning News and previously a copy editor there, has counseled fellow journalists not to let Apple's marketing language undermine grammar and style rules. Apple has a habit of using lowercase words in many of its product names, including iPad mini, watchOS, the retired iPod shuffle and iPod nano, and more.
As Nicole puts it: "Proper nouns are capped. And that means that iPod's Shuffle and Nano are capped, too, no matter what they want to do on their website or with their logo."
Our view is that this kind of brand inconsistency is OK—if you're Apple. Apple's brand is so well-established and backed by so many advertising dollars that it doesn't really matter.
But for most companies, we would argue that you're better off with a straightforward approach to capitalization in branding -- one that jibes with AP style, and that is consistent for both your logo treatment and the use of your company name in plain type.
The value in this approach is that it makes it much easier to enforce your brand standards -- not only with the media, but with employees, business partners, and customers, too.
That's the kind of counsel you get from Idea Grove—advice grounded in our practical experience in the real world of PR and marketing.
From The Beatles in the ’60’s to One Direction in recent years, boy bands (and the marketing executives behind them) recognize that young women have a lot of socioeconomic influence and buying power.
Being able to answer fundamental questions about who buys from you—this is, creating buyer personas as part of your brand strategy—is vital to being able to connect with buyers and convert them. Who are they? What are they looking for? Why should they buy from you?
As young women get older and have more expendable income to spend on merchandise and reunion tours, boy bands have become an ultimate case study in target marketing. Learn more marketing lessons from boy bands on our blog.
“Idea Grove’s branding process starts with a conversation. They helped lead us through discussions that reframed how we saw our business internally and shifted how we spoke about and portrayed our company to the market as we relaunched our brand.”
DAVE CHAPLIN, ALTEZZA