Seeing how today is our official one-year anniversary, we thought we’d take a look back and identify what key elements we’ve adopted to build our brand. Now, with only one year under our belt we realize that we’re still in our infancy and that this party is only just getting started. Nevertheless, in the spirit of “fake it, ’til you make it” we want to celebrate now and share with you 5 key branding lessons that we stole from the Fortune 500.
As we’ve mentioned before – and as the wise-one Robert Kiyosaki so eloquently summates – “If you’re not a brand, you’re a commodity.” Well, we decided one year ago today to say a big “HELL NO!” to being a commodity. What we’re building has never be done before so we need to sing our song loud and proud to make sure every company out there can benefit from spying on the competition in the most efficient and effective way possible. In order to get Kompyte’s predictive competitive analysis tool into the hands of everyone who needs it, we knew we had to find some shortcuts.
Here’s a little secret: You don’t have to be Fortune 500 company to define your company’s image. In fact, you can steal the strategies they undoubtedly overpaid some brand strategist for and put them to work for your company. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery so here are 5 key lessons in corporate branding we stole just for you:
Establish A Top-Down Brand Strategy From 30,000 Feet In The Air.
What do think of when you think of Apple? Innovation? Creativity? Thinking Different? Apple’s clear, comprehensive brand strategy didn’t happen by accident. From their sleek and elegant product line to their addictive tv ads to their unique in-store experience and brilliant product packaging, Apple’s brand strategy has been carefully constructed from the top down. As a result, a large part of Apple’s success can be attributed to the “why” rather than the “what”. In other words, when you unwrap your new iPhone for the first time, you get that same fuzzy feeling you did when you were a kid on Christmas morning.
Select an Enforcer
In order to achieve your all encompassing brand standard, you’ll need to dedicate one person or group to enforcing these standards all the way down the value chain. If you’re developing a new marketing campaign, your enforcer should be involved. If you’re redesigning your product packaging or retail experience, your enforcer should have oversight. If you’re implementing a new training program, make sure your enforcer has carte blanche to make changes in order to stick to the overarching brand strategy.
Don’t Disregard Your Data
It’s likely that you already have a number of software programs tracking and analyzing your data for you, but take a good look in the mirror tonight and be honest: are you actually doing anything with this data? What are the results? Are you truly making data-driven decisions? If not, it’s okay – you’re not alone.
Start by identifying the 3 KPIs that are most critical to your company’s success. If you were in prison, these metrics would be your cell mate – you couldn’t avoid them if you tried. On the first day of each month, pull your reports, carefully analyze them and compare them to your projections.
Don’t get overwhelmed with the avalanche of data pouring in or get wrapped up in the minutia. Keep it simple and pull as much value as possible out of your key metrics before adding more to the pile.
At the very center of your brand strategy should be a compelling gravitational force that attracts your target audience. The people, specifically your ideal customers, that are exposed to your brand will be drawn into your sphere of influence over the shared bond of similar interests and values. This is your community.
One of the best examples of a brand community is Yelp – their army of Yelpers have banded together on the simple premise of demanding better service and rewarding the companies that provide. God help you if you piss off the Yelpers in your industry.
Whether you’re selling socks or your in the hi-tech world semi-conductor efficiency, there is a community out there as passionate as you. Encourage your audience to get involved, share their experiences and make them feel liek they’re part of your special community. It will pay dividends in the long-run.
Harness The Power of Storytelling
I never get bored watching GoPro’s version of the Felix Baumgartner jump from the edge of space in 2012. While it was RedBull’s Stratos Jump campaign, for me it was GoPro that made the lasting impact. They used the power of storytelling to draw the entire world into this one-time event and creatively placed their product as the main character in the production in an authentic way.
While you probably won’t be engineering a space jump anytime soon, embracing the power of storytelling isn’t limited to publicly traded companies. Be authentic and tell the real story of how your company came into this world, why it exists and where you’re headed. Publish your success stories and find collaborative ways to collaborate on marketing campaigns WITH your customers rather than a drab testimonial on your website. Shift your focus on the thing that make your company special and you’ll be amazed how fast your target audience latches onto these stories and does your marketing for you!