- Your brand should be used by management to drive the company: There is no tool better than the brand for uniting the forces and the stakeholders inside and around your company together. Managing is all about focusing mental energies. Any leakage of energy or unproductive connections will cause a loss of voltage in your branding efforts thus adversely affecting your brand in the market place. The good news is that brand builders have control to act or not to act. They can kick-start the process from the inside rather than waiting for something to happen first.
- Your brand should be crystal clear about its role in the marketplace: There was a time when you could manufacture or produce a little of everything. However, internationalization and tough competition have brought this to an abrupt end. Brands must be focused. You not only have to focus on which business you are in, but also what role in that business you wish to play. Pin-point a niche and stay there! Stray not!!
- Let your brand encourage creativity amongst your customers: Interactivity and creativity are necessities, not occasional indulgences. A brand has to encourage a feeling of ownership amongst its users. The customer must feel as though they are a brand’s creators, a sort of beta-tester playing a vital role in helping it achieve constant improvement. Your brand should be a gigantic creative joint venture involving your critical stakeholders.
- Let your brand enjoy alliances with other brands: Traditional brands are very anxious not to involve themselves with other brands, but those are yesterday’s brands, or will soon be. Brands of the future must be strong, distinct, stand for something special – based on deep values – and have nothing to fear from connecting themselves to other brands. Sharing common ground can make everybody a winner. Indeed, a strong brand might gain even more strength through co-branding with an apparently weaker brand or in other cases, with an even stronger brand. Every brand has everything to gain by connecting itself to the right alliances, in the right environment, and with the right people.
- Your brand is best protected by the brand itself: Traditionally, trademark legal protection has been central to brand protection. Now, thanks to internationalization, and the transparency of the web, it is very difficult to control all the aspects of a brand. Great brands need not fear however. If you have a deep relationship with customers, bad copies and imitations hold no fear for you. Actually, in a lot of proven cases, fraud against a brand that maintains a base of loyal customers, will probably further strengthen the bond between your customers and your brand, maybe even garner you new ones from the fraud or imitation.
- Your brand must be a vehicle for the transfer of both value and values: The brand transfers value and values from one product generation to the next, from one product to its derivatives, and from one kind of a product to another kind. It transfers value between company and product, and vice versa. The brand is not simply an economical mechanism; it is also a philosophical mechanism. It’s not just about money anymore; it’s about culture and humanity as well. A brand of the future will need philosophical strength to gain economical results. The value chain will give way to an even greater chain of values.
- Discover whether you and your potential customers are a good fit: Let go of forcibly trying to close a deal or by all means getting the appointment and you will discover that you don’t have to take responsibility for moving the market process forward. If you simply focus your sales conversation on problems that your brand or services can help potential customers solve, and if you don’t jump the gun by trying to move the sales process forward, you will find that customers will actually bring you into their buying process.
- When you lose a target, it is usually at the beginning of the marketing process: If you believe that you lost a customer because you made a mistake at the end of the process, take a look back at how you began the relationship. Did you start with a presentation? Did you use traditional marketing languages like “We have a solution that I believe you really need” or “others in your industry have bought our solution, so you should consider us as well”? When you use traditional marketing language, potentials can’t help but label you with the negative stereotype ‘marketer/salesman’. This makes it almost impossible for them to relate to your position of trust. And if trust isn’t established at the outset with honest communication about the problems your brand is trying to help them solve, then you have lost the customer.
- Pressure is the only cause of rejection; rejection should never happen: Rejection happens for only one reason – something you said, as subtle as it might have been, triggered a defensive reaction from your potential customer. Yes, something you said! To eliminate rejection, simply shift your mindset so that you give up the hidden agenda of hoping for a sale rather than build your brand. Everything you say and do should stem from the basic mindset that you are there to help potential clients. This makes you able to ask the kind of question customers wish to hear: “Would you be open to talking about issues affecting your bottom-line?”
- Never chase a potential customer, you’ll only trigger more marketing pressure: Chasing potentials has always been considered normal and necessary, but it’s rooted in the old ‘macho’ selling image that “if you don’t keep chasing, it means you’re giving up, and that means you’re a failure”. This is dead wrong! Instead of chasing potentials, let them perceive that you would like to avoid anything that involves the old cat-and-mouse chasing games by arranging quality time for your meeting. Build a bond, and the money will build the bridge.
- When a potential client offers objections, uncover the truth behind them: Most traditional branding and marketing programs spend a lot of time focusing on overcoming rejections. These tactics only put more marketing pressure on potential customers and fail to explore or understand the truth behind what the customer is saying. When you hear “we don’t have the budget” do you think you are hearing the truth, or do you suspect that these are polite evasions designed to end the conversation? Rather than trying to counter objections, you can uncover the truth by replying, “That’s not a problem” – no matter what clients are objecting to – and use gentle, dignified language that invites them to reveal the truth about their perceptions of your brand.
- Never defend your brand or what it has to offer; it only creates more pressure:When a potential client says, “Why should I choose your brand over your competition?” Your first instinctive reaction is probably to start defending your brand or service because you want to convince them to buy. But what do you think goes through your potential’s mind at that point? Something like, “This marketer is trying to sell me on why what they have to offer is better, but I hate feeling as if I’m being sold to”. Rather than defending your brand, try suggesting that you aren’t going to try to convince them of anything because that would only create marketing pressure. Ask them about the key problem that they are trying to solve, and then explore how your product or service might solve those problems – without ever trying to persuade. Let potentials feel that they choose your brand without feeling sold to.
Put these 20 suggestions into practice and your brand will be walking on water even when others seem to be drowning.
Best of Luck!
Written by Brain Essien