Branding by Formula

Branding is complicated because it requires strategy, tactics, execution, delivery, follow-through, actionable insight gathering, a sustained maintenance and tinkering toward refinement. That’s a lot of activity to keep track of. My formula attempts to build a model around the various activities involved in building, sustaining & evolving brands:

S + T + E + D + F + A + S + T™

[S]trategy

Marketing strategy consists of identifying a segment, targeting that segment and positioning your product or service such that it clearly articulates a value proposition and differentiated advantage for the target segment that is not only different from but also better than competing offers. A mouthful, so you know marketing strategy by itself is hard — imagine how hard branding is if marketing strategy only represents 1/8 the effort required to build, sustain & evolve brands.

[T]actics

Strategy by itself is useless unless the optimal tactic(s) is/are identified to help best communicate the brand promise (which originates with positioning from strategy) to the target audience(s).

[E]xecution

Tactics must be executed properly in order for awareness to occur. Brands can not come into existence without awareness.

[D]elivery

So long as the intended target audience(s) is/are made aware of the brand promise and engage in trial, the brand must make delivery of the product or service. At this critical juncture, so long as the product performance as delivered lives up to the brand promise, the brand can continue to survive in the marketplace.

[F]ollow-through

Firms that are not wise to the ways of branding stop their activities at delivery because they are concerned with the transaction more so than they are with the relationship that may result (and be fostered) as a byproduct of the transaction. Follow-through assumes the plan for and/or the existence of a post-transactional relationship between the brand and its consumer(s).

[A]ctionable Insight Gathering

Proper follow-through will result in data that may be gathered and analyzed in order to refine various aspects of a brand’s product and/or service offering on a number of levels.

[S]ustained Maintenance

Actionable insights enable the astute brand to sustain and maintain its competitive advantage through an intimate understanding of the needs, wants and desires of its consumer(s).

[T]inkering Toward Refinement

Sustained maintenance alone, however, is never enough. Craftsmen tinker because they love their craft and are always in quiet pursuit of incremental progress toward a refined mastery. Brands that embrace a craftsman’s approach toward refinement maintain their competitive advantage by leading the pack rather than following.