Branding is the topic of the 6PM (6-Pillar Marketing) newsletter this month. It's the foundation of your 6PM Framework.
Branding is how you shape people's perception about your organization. Perception is our interpretation of the world; humans need to rely on perception to be efficient. This is because we haven't evolved much from the 'fight or flight' lifestyle of our ancient ancestors.
Here is a story of how powerful perceptions can be. In her book, Edge: Turning Adversity into Advantage, Laura Huang mentions her own research on how doctors' implicit perception of patients' pain thresholds mattered so much that women (who are assumed to have higher pain thresholds) are less likely to survive emergency heart attacks when treated by male doctors. We are talking about a life or death outcome resulted by perceptions. This example underscores the real impact and importance of perceptions.
The good news for marketers is that we can use the power of perceptions to our advantage. Having a strong brand means your target audience perceives your brand the way you want them to. This leads to lower customer acquisition cost and increased customer lifetime value. These are the tangible benefits that a strong brand brings to the table that business stakeholders care about.
Here are the first four steps to take to create and strengthen your brand. These are relevant to all organizations, even those with a strong brand, as branding is not a 'one-and-done' exercise, but rather, an ongoing activity and investment.
First thing's first. We need to know ourselves and our business. What do we do? What are our core strengths? When we aren't clear on who we are, we confuse people. Confused minds don't make decisions. Clear minds do.
What problems do our core competencies solve? And for whom? Knowledge of who we are (the first step mentioned above) is important, but without knowing how that interacts with the outer world (i.e. the market), you can go only so far. Understanding the intersection creates your super power.
Let's go back to how humans make decisions. We make decisions based on perceptions. According to David Eagleman, a neuroscientist and best-selling author, our unconscious mind is responsible for 95% of the decisions we make. By the time we think our conscious mind has made a decision, our unconscious mind made the decision 7 seconds prior. Apparently, that is a lifetime for our brain activity. Features and benefits help back up the decision that our subconscious has already made. The initial decision is heavily, mostly influenced by how your brand makes your target audience feel. So, what emotions do we want to evoke in our target audience?
These three steps above will help you identify your organization's "why", the true reasons for its existence. Write that down. That is your brand purpose statement. In his New York Times best selling book, Start with Why, Simon Sinek emphasizes the importance of knowing your why. Why? Because people buy from your "why". Knowing your why also helps you build a sticky, emotional connection with your customers. According to HBR, customers who are fully connected to your brand are 52% more valuable on average than those who are just highly satisfied with your brand.
There isn't a straightforward formula for this. Proving an ROI can be challenging for some aspects of marketing and branding is definitely one of those areas. Join the 6PM Framework workshop to learn about the ways to help you come up with your answers to this question. See below for the details.
I will share a bite-sized marketing tip every month with this 6PM Newsletter. Crowding your inbox is never my intention. If you don't wish to receive the newsletter anymore, please use the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email.
If you have any questions or topics you want covered in the future newsletters, drop me a line - I would very much appreciate it.
Mihae Ahn, MBA | Director of Marketing, ProServeIT | Connect with me on LinkedIn