|After all, without patents, technological insulation, or barriers to entry, a companys brand - the relationship it has with its customers - is one of the few things a company can rely on to extract value over time.
A brand is one of the few things a company can own forever, so it only makes sense to treat the brand as a strategic asset. After all, without patents, technological insulation, or barriers to entry, a companys brand - the relationship it has with its customers - is one of the few things a company can rely on to extract value over time.
When developing your companys brand strategy, you can either perform these services on your own, or use an outside firm that specializes in brand consulting. There are numerous benefits to using a branding consultant, as summarized here:
First, the brand consultant will likely have deep experience and expertise that may not be resident in-house. Second, a branding companywill typically provide fresh thinking and cross-industry perspective. Third, the branding consultant will often provide objectivity and fact-based decision-making, which can be particularly useful when internal consensus is lacking. Finally, the branding firm will offer dedicated, external resources that can free up the internal team for other pressing business issues.
When considering brand consulting services, youll want to determine whether your needs relate more to brand strategy or brand execution. Brand strategy encompasses brand architecture, brand positioning and strategic messaging. Brand execution focuses on brand identity, including logo development, look and feel and other creative components.
When looking to hire a firm specializing in brand consulting, youll want to consider three service areas, to make sure they have deep expertise in the following:
The first is brand architecture, which is the strategic, relational structure of all brands and products in the portfolio. In considering brandarchitecture, step back for a moment and look at your organization from your customers eyes. Is it clear how the brand, product and service offerings fit together? Or is there an opportunity to improve clarity, synergy and leverage? Brand architecture development can help address these issues.
The second major component is brand positioning. A brand positioning defines the conceptual space the brand should play relative to competitors, and is fundamental to marketing, communication and messaging development. Here, emphasis is placed on defining a strategic positioning that is both relevant to customers and differentiated vs. competitors.
The final component often offered in brand consulting services is strategic messaging. Strategic messaging typically includes a detailed messaging framework, that aligns the portfolio of messages against various target customers and their needs. The most effective messaging frameworks include details on acquisition vs. retention messaging strategies.
Brand execution should only be considered after the brand architecture, brand positioning and messaging framework have been developed. This will ensure that the investment in creative execution - including your website, advertising, public relations, and other promotional efforts - are truly maximized. It is for this reason that you should consider the services of a specialized branding firm to increase the chances your other marketing efforts.