It would be fair to say that the majority of people in professional services are not marketing specialists. Usually great technicians and specialist advisers, often great at selling and relationship management at an individual level. Not so great at getting the marketing going though….
Whenever I talk at workshops or conferences about marketing, client engagement and building the professional services brand the question that invariably arises is “what do I need to have in my marketing mix?”
That could potentially be a very very long list, but here are the Marketing Kitbag Essentials:
- A defined target market and client profile
- A succinct Value Proposition & a Positioning Statement
- Consistent brand imagery and logo’s
- Your own name domain (e.g. billsmith.com) – even if you aren’t sure where you will use it yet
- Professional Business Card
- Professional letterhead stationery
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Although Facebook(s FB) has led a pretty charmed existence — swelling to more than a billion users by creating a social media product people around the world cannot live without — the company doesn’t look so successful when it comes to mobile product development. Failed apps (Poke, Home), failed hardware (HTC First) and even failed iterations of Facebook itself (with years of stunted growth) have landed on and fallen off phones across the world.
On Wednesday, when Facebook announced its acquisition of messaging service WhatsApp for $16 billion, some wondered why Facebook would spend so much on a service it already has through its successful Messenger app — which, according to analyst Benedict Evans, has 56 million users as of last year — but a close look at Facebook’s strategy and limitations with mobile helps show how WhatsApp can not only continue to operate alongside Facebook…
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During my stint as the P&L head, business manager of the CPG start up in Africa, Marketing was directly managed by me. In a span of 5 years, I launched 3 successful brands in 3 different categories.
As I understand now, brand management is as much an art as a science.
Most CEOs understand that Sales= clients= revenues (YES!!!), HR= people related issues and systems (necessary evil!!), Finance = bean counters, penny pinchers ( Cant liev with them, cant live without them!)
Marketing confounds them the most!! They are extremely nervous about signing off checks that give the marketing teams their bugets.
When I look at what passes for marketing out there, hell, I’d be nervous about funding it too. I mean, what do you get for all that money? How do you know if it’s working or not?
And branding, that’s even worse. It doesn’t help that the name conjures up images of branding cattle, or somebody being branded a criminal. How about that, branding has a branding problem. Ironic, isn’t it?
Here’s how branding works.
Your company and its products and services have associated attributes that affect customer buying decisions, employee morale, and investor confidence. They also affect your company’s market share, profit margins, and bottom line. THATs THE EASY PART!
Branding strategy enables your company to measure and change the perception and affect of those attributes.
Here are five things that i think that every manager needs to know about branding strategy.
- Customers experience thoughts and feelings when they consider your company’s product or service. It’s the same thing with potential employees and investors. It’s called brand reputation or perception and it exists whether you do anything about it or not. (Be aware, these are my definitions. Some differentiate on symantics; I don’t.)
- Brand reputation is a function of experience with your company and its products. It’s the sum total of many things, including product features, quality and reliability, customer service, even executive presentations. It goes way beyond marketing, PR, ad campaigns, and websites.
- Branding strategy is not a one-off; it’s a component of your overall corporate strategy. Hopefully that begins with some sort of strategic planning process that defines your company’s vision, goals, and key strategies. Branding strategy is integrated and aligned with those.
- Contrary to what the name implies, branding strategy is not about names per se. It’s about using certain tools to achieve strategic and operating goals. For example, branding can be used to position similar or the same products in different market segments, typically at different pricing levels. That means changing perception without changing the product -a neat trick.
- There are a myriad of decisions and tradeoffs involved in developing the right branding strategy for a company and its products and services. There is method to the madness. For example, a product line’s goals, market requirements, and value proposition will lead to a unique branding strategy. At least it should.