Brand planning

Recently I was asked to write a brand plan for a company. The person who asked me to do this from a product buying background and didn’t give the communication elements or any customer or employees views of their brand a second thought.

Your brand is not just about your logo, the look and feel of your communication tools and the products you sell. Agreed it is really important, but it’s crucial you consider the internal and external views of your brand. What image does your company convey and how do people feel about it?

Coming from working with large National and International brands, we are exceptionally good at taking a step back with lots of our clients and we look at the reasons people buy into their brands and services. From having the knack of understanding these elements, we can tune into them to help us create and execute solid strategy and great campaigns.

Like any plan, there are important questions to ask; Where are we now? Where do we want to be? Why are we here? How can be get to where we want to be?

How to get started with a brand plan

First things first, you need to start with the basics ; Products & Services and you can use the basic 4 P’s to help with this – Product, Price, Place and Promotion.

Next you need to look at internal views of the brand by speaking to employees to find out the good, bad and the ugly.   Lots of companies skim over the bad and ugly, so it’s really refreshing for them when they start working with a new agency who is not afraid of the bads and can find ways of improving the brand, some by working the plan around the not-so-good’s. It is equally important to find out why employees think the brand can succeed and what can be done to improve it.

It is crucial to find out external views of the brand. We start working with lots of new clients who do not have a true representation of their brand as they’ve never asked their customers, prospects, suppliers or associates what they think. For example, a customer might feel like they are forced to buy from your company, because you have better buying power and they can’t buy from the supplier direct. Another customer might deal with your company because they have a great relationship with their sales rep as they’ve worked with them for years, but they don’t like the sloppy service provided by the engineers.

Marketing perception survey

A simple brand perception and communication survey can help you retrieve this information. We’d recommend you get an external person or company to do this for you – your contacts won’t sugar coat the answers as they would with you.

In turn the elements above can help you develop the brand personality. What your company is, how you speak, your sound and tone of voice, your attributes and your key messages.

The next stage would be to look at your customers, develop a sales and marketing approach which leads to how you do implement it (branding, Marcoms and the marketing mix).

If you think you need any help with your brand plan don’t hesitate to give us a shout vicki@vickistonemarketing.co.uk