Business Marketing Strategies 101

Masterbranding your Company for Success

  • Identifying your target market
  • Targeting the market
  • Create Strong Visual Marketing Material
  • Spread the word

The latest business book to sweep across corporate America is The Masterbrand Mandate by Lynn Upshaw and Earl Taylor, an in-depth look at the branding strategies of some of the world's best-known companies. The book shows how branding is the key to the success of top organizations like FedEx and Amazon.com and alongside the Brand Council's 'Superbrands' books, is fast becoming another must-read. You may not yet have read the books - but the best marketing managers will know just how important good branding is to their company. And going one step further and creating a masterbrand of your own could boost business, increase client loyalty and keep you ahead of your rivals for years to come. But what exactly does masterbranding mean? In essence, it is ensuring that everything you do creates a visibly consistent image of not just the goods and services you produce but your company as a whole. And that means everything from how your staff answer the phone to the language you use in promotional publications to the colors and typefaces you use in marketing material. And, vitally, tailoring this branding to the image your clients have of themselves so that they know what you stand for and want to be associated with your company and its products. To achieve this you need to identify what it is about your business that your clients appreciate most and concentrate on maximizing this potential. The creation of the masterbrand should be designed to ensure not just short-term business growth but long-term client loyalty. And that means everyone in your company, from managing director to front counter receptionist, must know exactly what image you are trying to cultivate and how that should be achieved. The Masterbrand Mandate by Lynn B. Upshaw and Earl L. Taylor, is published by John Wiley & Sons and is available via Amazon.com and other fine book sellers.

Identifying your target market

THE Virgin brand has been one of the most spectacular success stories of recent times - a masterbrand which understands its market and tailors its image to suit its clients. From the daring ballooning exploits of figurehead Richard Branson to the young, trendy assistants in its record stores, everything about Virgin shouts youthful enthusiasm. This trendy image was not created accidentally, it has been carefully built over the years and whenever the company has diversified it has carried its branding into the new venture. In a similar way, Coca-Cola has remained one of the world's top brands not just because it tastes nice. It may not always "win' a blind taste test against other colas but it scores because of the image people have of Coca-Cola itself - of how it is linked with freshness, their youth and good times and the company's marketing is all targeted at reinforcing this image. If you are to emulate such success, whatever market you operate in, you need to understand your own strengths. You need to identify your clients, finding what they want from you and deciding how best you can supply their needs. The most obvious way to achieve this is by conducting market research - the larger companies invest considerable amounts into information gathering of this kind. But you can achieve similar results without spending a fortune. How? Your existing clients will tell you...

  • Use your own client database - if you don't have a computerized system then look at your invoice lists and compile a list of all your clients.
  • Then ask them what they like best about doing business with you and use those plus points to build your brand.
  • For instance, if they tell you it is your friendly, approachable staff they like then build your brand and your marketing strategy around those strengths. If it is your reliability, your ability to complete a job to high standards and to a fixed deadline - then play up to these qualities.
  • If they tell you they can't get your services anywhere else at the price you are offering then make the most of that strength.
  • And, in gathering client feedback, remember your staff, particularly those at the "sharp end". They will have a feel for what your clients are saying. Remember, too, that if you are to sustain and build a brand you must carry your staff with you, asking them to be "brand champions". If your staff are unhappy with the image they are being asked to project it will show. They should be involved at every stage of your rebranding process - beginning, if possible, with a workshop to fully explain your branding strategy.

Targeting the market

Once you have decided the focus of your brand then you need to think about how best to present that image. A good start is to hold a branding workshop with your staff. It's a good idea at this point to lay everything which carries your company branding on a table - literally. That means everything from invoice forms & letterheads to newsletters, mail shots you may have done in the past, to more advanced marketing material like newsletters, brochures and catalogues. These all need to achieve a high design value, utilizing the right colors, the right typography and the right illustration - all in the right places. They should also properly reflect your brand and be designed to appeal to your market. For instance, do you know which audience is more likely to be attracted to bright blazing reds, or which will respond more to mid blue pastels? Or that the kind of typeface you select for your publication also sends a specific message to readers? Vitally, you need to ensure your logos and letterheads in particular, your first point of contact with new prospective clients, not only appeal to the target audience but are not dated or old-fashioned. Once you have decided upon what the brand should look like you need to make sure that it is a visible brand. Your new imagery should be used consistently. Follow the example of the big companies, many of whom have stylebooks stipulating exactly which color values and typefaces should be used, even down to the type sizes to be utilized, in specific and varying circumstances. Make sure your branding is used at all client points of contact, including front of office decoration, signs and all delivery vehicles. If your staff wears uniforms make sure they are all uniform. Remember masterbranding is above all about consistency.

Create Strong Visual Marketing Material

Your Artwork makes all of your visual business communications a masterpiece.

  • Corporate Identity · Logos · Brochures
  • Point-of-Sale material · Business Stationery · Report and Accounts
  • Document Layout · Promotional Material

Effective design gets you noticed. But more importantly it gets you business. From a simple logo to a full corporate image, you can trust Hotcards.com to achieve contemporary graphic design that grabs the eye, catches the imagination and meets your budget. And because both the design and print take place under one roof, you're always assured the very best image in print at an affordable price.

Spread the word

So, you have a new look and have prepared your masterbranding strategy. Now it's time to launch it into the world. But what is the best way to do this? There are a number of avenues open to you. Here's a few to consider... Advertising. The first and most obvious route. If you are considering an advertising campaign then now is the time to provide existing and prospective clients with special offers - two for one deals, discounted services and reduced fees for long-term contracts or regular purchases etc...

  • Don't forget the potential of cost-free advertising in the shape of news articles. Send out Press Releases about your new imagery, including a copy of your logo and branding materials to local media (addressed to the business editor) and also target business-to-business, retail, trade and consumer publications, depending on your company type.
  • Direct Mail can be effective provided it is targeted correctly. Always try a sample mailing on a smaller scale first to gauge response to specific offers before rolling out to a larger geographical area.
  • Consider putting your new logo into the world by sponsoring local events or teams, ensuring that a prominent display of your branding is part of the deal.
  • Consider producing a regular newsletter for clients, creating a "part of the family" feel, encouraging brand loyalty and informing them about new products or services.
  • And finally, don't forget your existing clients. Tell them about your new look and new approach to business and stress the extra benefits it will bring them. "We've got a new look, a new approach and a new deal especially for you..."

All these things can be achieved by having creatively designed materials and corporate identity… Hotcards.com can help.