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Shine A Light on Your Marketing

September 13, 2015

I wrote a movie script. It goes like this:

Hello. I’m Kevin Walker from Boardwalk.

I’m standing in the dark because I want to illustrate a point about the value of having a well-considered brand strategy. Any business, product, service, campaign or event needs to be marketed. And if you have something that needs to be marketed then you need a clear brand strategy to light your way. Otherwise, your marketing team, like so many these days, will be operating in the dark.

Now, even when a marketing team is lost in the dark, they still have tactical options. They can do the things most marketing teams do. They can improve their website, run some ads or print a brochure. But they will be feeling their way, lacking a clear direction, and always in fear of falling off a cliff or running into a wall or some other obstacle because … well, they’re in the dark. They have no vision. They can’t even be clear about where they want to go.

A smart brand strategy is like [switches on a flashlight] having a flashlight. It can show you where marketing success [points flashlight in various directions] is and how to get there. Once you can see your way to your goal [points flashlight in a fixed direction], you can start taking the steps that will get you there. [places flashlight on a table, still pointing in the fixed position]

[Takes a step along the illuminated path, away from the flashlight] You can hire the right staff.

[Takes another step] You can create a new visual identity.

[Takes another step] You can develop an appropriate website.

[Takes another step] You can start up a new ad campaign.

[Takes another step] You can hire a public relations firm.

The problem is, almost every business [walking out of the light] eventually walks beyond the beam … and finds itself in the dark again. Why does this happen?

[Walks back to the flashlight]

It’s a strange thing about marketing but almost no one remembers to take their brand strategy with them. [Picks up the flashlight]. Let’s try that again. This time, let’s live the brand. Let’s take it with us every step of the way.

[Takes a step along the illuminated path] You can hire the right staff. But let’s immerse them in our brand strategy so they’ll know how to deliver on our brand promise in any situation. After all, our brand promise is our competitive advantage.

[Takes another step] You can create a new visual identity. But let’s make sure our logo is a visual reminder of our brand promise.

[Takes another step] You can develop an appropriate website. But let’s include a blog from our CEO where he provides frequent demonstrations of how we’ve delivered on our brand promise.

[Takes another step] You can start up a new ad campaign. But, again, let’s make sure it communicates our brand promise and how we deliver on it.

[Takes another step] You can hire a public relations firm. But let’s make sure they’re as invested in our brand strategy as we are.

So, when you live the brand, when you carry your brand strategy with you every day and let it illuminate your every step, you will never find yourself in the dark again.

I’m Kevin Walker from Boardwalk. Ask us for a flashlight.

This week's best branding reads

National Geographic Transitions to For-Profit Brand with $725 Million Fox Deal
I hope they retained editorial independence

Uber Joins Airbnb in Creating Branded Content as Magazine Publishers
Are these two modeling each other?

Join the Club: American Express, Exiting Costco, Hooks Up with Sam’s
Somehow, I can't see these two as being a very worthwhile match.

Building The Optimal Marketing Budget
Writer does a good job outlining how it's done.

How Brand Accessibility Builds Strong Brands
Accessibility is vital to brand building. If people can't find Coke, they will drink Pepsi.

New Logo for Verizon by Pentagram
Yes, the old logo was horrible so this is a big improvement. But I agree with the reviewer – what, now, seems like a "meh" solution will probably seem cutting edge, in the future.

Meet Minion Yellow by Pantone: the world's first character-branded colour
Damn you, Minions! (shakes fist). I hope you haven't started an insufferable trend in branding.

Tags Positioning, Strategy, Added Value

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