From bland to brand.
The expert strategists that make up our Brand Strategy practice help define the roadmap for successful brands. We'll help you navigate through the tough decisions, so you can reach your goals. After all, without a good roadmap it's a lot harder to get to where you want to go.
Without proper research you can't do strategic work.
In order to deliver effective branding programs, we must be able to clearly understand the conditions surrounding the brand. Among other things, we should have data about existing perceptions (from employees, customers, financial pundits, etc). We should build a customer profile that identifies the key drivers for a client's potential audiences. We should also have insight into the competitive landscape so we can see how other brands position themselves.
Qualitative. Quantitative. Ethnographic. And more.
Some of this information can be gathered by our clients. However, in order to have truly comprehensive findings and a neutral perspective, we often have to conduct our own independent research. The Brand Strategy team at Liquid knows how to deliver a diverse set of research initiatives, and we frequently collaborate with research partners who specialize in a variety of research methodologies including qualitative, quantitative, ethnographic, etc. We also field store audits in order to assess best practices, or simply to get a better idea of the conditions at retail.
In person, online or in the field. We do what it takes.
The research process can take many forms. Some research is conducted through online panels while at other times we do direct interviews. We also do research in the field, where we can better observe people's behavior, especially when the project at hand involves a retail component. Additionally, we offer a unique series of workshops where we work with a select group of your executives to identify key issues about the brand and uncover management's perceptions and insights. Learn more about the workshops.
Finding the right path for your brand.
In order to get to where you want to go, you need to make sure you're heading in the right direction. This applies to branding as well. And that's where the Brand Compass comes in handy. The Brand Compass is a unique and pwerful strategic tool that has been developed to help clients define and the ideal direction for the brand and navigate the brand towards its desired destination.
A strategic foundation for the brand building process.
The Brand Compass is developed through a highly participatory workshop methodology that allows key stakeholders to contribute to the definition of the brand, ensuring that there is alignment at the executive level. Once defined, the Brand Compass becomes the foundation for internal and external brand building initiatives, ensuring that the brand is consistently manifested inmessages, taglines, visual styles and marketing materials.
The four points of the Brand Compass.
The Brand Compass was originally developed by Marty Neumeier, our Director of Transformation, and it consists of four simple sentences designed to describe the fundamental essence of the brand. Arriving at an agreement about these words can be challenging at times, but our Brand Strategy teams have built quite a bit of experience facilitating the Brand Compass workshops and helping executives through the process. Below are the four points of the Brand Compass.
When these four points align, they point to "true north" for the brand.
ONLINESS The definition of your brand's most compelling differentiator.
TRUELINE An internal expression of your brand's onliness.
PERSONALITY The attributes that define your brand's personality.
PURPOSE The fundamental reason you're in business beyond making money.
Clear messaging is crucial to effective branding programs.
The way you communicate with customers, employees, partners or the financial sector should not be the same. The messages should definitely align with the Brand Compass, however they need to be carefullly tailored to ensure that they are relevant for each unique audience the brand needs to reach. Not having a clear messaging plan that addresses all your audiences, is a sure way to dilute a brand building program.
The Messaging Matrix defines and organizes the message structure.
Our approach to a successful messaging plan starts with what we call a Messaging Matrix. This document distills the essence of the brand into a framework that includes primary and secondary messages for each target audience. We will work with our clients to define the audience segments, and from there, we will craft messages that make sense for each audience - while being aligned with the Brand Compass.
It's important to know what to say....and to understand why it's relevant.
The Messaging Matrix includes short and long versions of each message, along with criteria and background information outlining why the message should resonate with a particular audience segment. Here are the basic components of a Messaging Matrix: - Primary and secondary value propositions organized by audience. - Reasons why the messages are relevant to each audience. - Proofpoints to support and defend each message.
Messaging is about what we say...not necessarily how we say it.
We don't consider "messaging" to be the headlines or text used in ads or websites - instead messaging is about the ideas behind the headlines. The Messaging Matrix is a document that should be used by agencies and writers to drive the content being communicated through the marketing materials - ensuring that we're saying the right things to each audience. How we express the messages depends on the nature of the communications vehicle (an annual report might not use the same tone as an ad) and the personality attributes of the brand (as described in the Brand Compass).
Brand relationships can become confusing.
As companies grow, the relationship between the master brand and the sub-brands can become complex or confusing for customers as well as internal audiences. This can make it more difficult to organize operational functions, marketing campaigns and differentiation strategies. When our clients face these challenges, we are often called to help them address their Brand Architecture strategy.
Brand Architecture provides a strategic brand framework.
The Brand Architecture establishes a strategic approach to the relationship between the various brands and sub-brands. At its most basic, it helps define the hyerarchical structure of the brand framework. The Brand Architecture strategy becomes particularly important when considering a merger or acquisition, developing brand extensions, promoting ingredient brands, evaluating how to leverage partner brands, etc.
There are different approaches to consider.
When working on a Brand Architecture strategy there are many different approaches that need to be evaluated. For example, sometimes it is best to develop a "House of Brands" approach, while at other times it's better to implement a "Branded House" approach. Each of these approaches will guide decisions about business structure, product nomenclature, messaging strategies, brand identity design, etc.
Our Brand Strategists have done it before.
Our Brand Strategy team can help you navigate through complex Brand Architecture strategies. We have worked on mergers, acquisition, divestitures, re-orgs, product launches, etc. We can help our clients make Brand Architecture decisions, and develop the tools you need to guide you through important decisions about brand building programs. As a result, external audiences such as customers, prospects and vendors will have a much better understanding of your brand structure and how they benefit from it.