Author and Direct Marketing Hall of Fame inductee Seth
Godin describes a brand as “the set of expectations, memories, stories,
and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer…
doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection, or spread the word, then
no brand value exists for that consumer.” He explains that a brand’s
value is measured by how much extra people will pay for it or how
often they will choose a particular product, service, or company. It
is the sum total of customers’ experiences, expectations, memories,
stories, and relationships with one brand vs. alternatives.
According to NAED’s “Managing Your
Marketing Effectiveness” study pub-
lished in 2012, survey respondents felt
that “brand” was very important in their
customers’ buying decisions, yet most
didn’t have a formal positioning or
branding statement—all of which raises
the question, “How do you market your
brand if you don’t know what it is?”
The answer is you can’t, and under-
standing a company’s brand starts with
defining its position.
Determining a company’s position is
1. Customer perceptions
knowing what it does and what it is,
To define and verbalize a position,
a little research and analysis must be
Learning how customers perceive a
business is the first step toward defining
or redefining a brand. For statistically
significant results, hire a professional
research firm to conduct a survey with a
representative sample of the firm’s population. This will ensure that the process
is both valid (really measures what it
claims to measure) and reliable (would
yield the same results if duplicated).
For businesses with a limited budget,
an option is to ask daily or weekly questions on the company’s social media
accounts or hold a customer contest
with a drawing box. To yield the most
accurate results, ask several different
questions, such as the following:
• What’s the one thing you count on
from XYZ Company?
• What does XYZ Company do best?
• What does XYZ Company do better
than our competition?
• What one word best describes XYZ
• When you need _____________,
you go to XYZ Company.
• The people at XYZ Company are
• What I like best about XYZ
Company is _____________.
• I wouldn’t go anywhere except XYZ
Company for _____________.
• I know at XYZ Company, I’ll always
Ask both open-ended and closed-ended questions to get a full range of
opinions and answers. This may also
uncover areas for improvement.
2. Company capabilities
Once it is known why customers do
business with the company, build on
those strengths and enhance them to
build customer loyalty and drive sales.
Playing on existing strengths also adds
credibility to messages.
3. Competitive environment
It starts with position
Once the existing brand has been
assessed, analyze strengths relative to
the competition. Determine whether
Positioning is likely the most important element
of a brand strategy. by Katrina Olson