Tag Archives: messaging

5 Principles for Creating a Great Brand Promise

14 Oct

I’ve been thinking brand promises of late. Here’s what I believe goes into a great brand promise:Handshake

  • Singular Expression of Value: A brand promise is a singular expression of what makes your organization — or its offerings — uniquely valuable to your customers.
  • How You Want to Change the World: The brand promise shouldn’t just describe what you do and how you deliver it. It should express how you want your customers’ lives or work to be improved as a result of what you do.  How do you want them to feel before, during and after they choose you?
  • Build from Customer Insights: As a result, the brand promise should grow organically from insights about your customers. This is a combination both of what you believe, and what people outside the organization believe about what you do.
  • Be Aspirational: A good brand promise should reflect both who you are, and who you aspire to be.  It’s OK if you’re not meeting every aspect of the promise today…as long as you’re committed to getting there.
  • Put it up on the Wall: Your brand promise may not be a company tagline, but it could well be your mantra — and that of everyone in the organization. Put it up on the wall — it’s what you’re trying to live up to each and every day.

These are my principles. Your thoughts?

Five Leadership Positioning Strategies: What Kind of “Leader” is Your Business?

30 Nov

Everyone wants to buy from a leader. You want to buy from companies that give you confidence that when you lay down your money, to know that you’re doing right by yourself, your family or your business.

So if everyone wants to buy from a leader, every business wants to be a leader. So what kind of leader is your company? What kind of leader should you be? The answer can go a long way toward focusing your public relations and marketing efforts in the right direction.

Consider these five leadership styles:

1. The Visionary Leader: The company that looks ahead. Keeps the customers at the state of the art, and guides them to the future. Visionary leaders think beyond their own product, shape industries, and tell us which way the world is headed.

2. The Market Leader: The one that dominates market share because they sell the most. They are the leader because they make good products, sell them well, and at some point “everyone else” buys their stuff, so it’s a safe choice. Not the flashiest or the coolest, but solid and reliable. Many Market Leaders  are content to continue as Market Leaders; others look to extend themselves into the role of visionary.

3. The Technology Leader: The geeks and the nerds.  The ones who get known for making the best products, with the most elegant feature sets or innovative designs. As leaders, the team’s experts explain technology and advocate for better solutions. They quickly integrate ‘what’s next’. They position their team as the smartest guys in the room who can solve their customers’ problems with their smart thinking.

4. The Best Practices Leader: These are the process experts. They know what’s going on in the customer’s world, and are always thinking about how to solve problems and make things better. They’re team has typically been there, done that, and can send you a whitepaper on how to implement best practices that enable customers to lower costs and improve speed and efficiency.  The Best Practices Leader wants to sell their solution, of course, but doesn’t mind sharing their broader knowledge of how to do things right.

5. The Customer Service Leader: These are the customer advocates. They are there for their customers. They differentiate on service – fast response, easy to reach, easy to do business. Go the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction. It’s a positioning that works in industries where most products are largely the same – what the customer needs is to know that their vendor will take good care of them.

Every company uses different styles, often more than one at once.  Choosing a primary leadership positioning style focuses public relations and marketing strategy. The key is to choose a strategy that fits, that amplifies the existing products, brand, and company culture.

For further discussion:

• Agree or disagree with these leadership positioning types?

• What other categories would you add?

• What style does your company use?

• What well-known companies would you attach to each of these leadership positioning styles?

The State of My Economy (or, “How It’s Going, 2009”)

19 Mar

We’re three months into 2009 and it feels like I’m working at the kitchen table sipping a cup of coffee and gazing out at the backyard and there’s a koala up in the elm tree, staring back at me.   

“That’s odd,” I say to myself.  

It’s been an odd start to 2009, and this is a good thing.   Since the beginning of the year, I have (in no particular order),  

* reconnected with my big clients from last year, and, beyond new projects, had discussions about PR, marketing and corporate communications we’d not had in some time.  

* been found on Facebook by a high school friend living in South Africa who I haven’t seen in 20 years, a unexpected surprise that may also turn into business.

* created and conducted my first new media training session in many years, and developed a “PR 101” session for a client.

* begun to work with an former client at a new company. This isn’t unusual except that we reconnected at a networking event, and I usually say that I don’t like networking events…but there I went and look what happened.

* reconnected with the marketing entrepreneur I advised last year whose startup didn’t quite make it, but whose new start up is already off the ground and making money.   And this one may well stick.   

And I’ve spent a good deal of time thinking about the economy, and come to the conclusion that I shouldn’t spend so much time thinking about the economy.  It feels better to think about family. And friends. And clients. And business.

Because nothing has changed.  For us to succeed, we need sharp messages. We need clear brands. We need smart strategy.  We don’t just need be in front of customers — we need to be there with them, delivering what they want and what they need in ways no one else can. 

It’s shaping up to be an odd and memorable year.  I think I’m going to enjoy this.

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