The best brands have a well-defined brand positioning statement that helps build the brand’s reputation over time. They know their best customers better than their competitors. And, they have a smart strategic plan so that everyone on the team knows how they contribute the business success. They line up their investments against the strategies that will create the most significant market impact and deliver a performance result back to the company.
You need to create the best culture that attracts the best people and gets them to deliver their best. Invest in your people, so they make smart decisions and they deliver exceptional execution.
To illustrate, click to zoom in.
Time to make decisions
If you cannot answer these five questions, your team will be confused. Your investments will be scattered and won’t pay back. Undoubtedly, you will see inconsistent execution in the market. The consumer will not know how to define your brand. Clearly, you won’t grow!
The fundamentals of marketing matter
The marketing fundamentals that we show in this article are part of what we use in our marketing training programs. Importantly, marketers will learn strategic thinking, positioning, marketing plans, writing creative briefs, advertising decision-making, marketing analytics, and marketing finance.
Can you describe your brand in seven seconds in a way that motivates consumers and in a space that own-able for your brand?
This is one of my favorite questions to ask leaders. You would be shocked at the poor answers I have received.
- “No, we’ve never thought of that before.”
- “It depends who you ask.”
If you can’t define your brand, how can you expect your team to deliver, and how can you expect your consumers to know what they are buying, what they get from it, and how you make them feel. Indeed, if you can’t answer this question, you are creating confusion and frustration of your people.
First, you need to define your ideal consumer, and build a brand positioning that is balanced with functional and emotional benefits. To illustrate, below are the cheatsheets we have created to help you focus on the right functional benefits and emotional benefits.
To illustrate, click on functional benefit cheatsheet or the emotional cheatsheet.
Importantly, you need to summarize your brand by creating a brand idea that you can stand behind and steers everyone who works behind the scenes. Everyone who works on your brand must know how to describe your brand in 7 seconds, 60 seconds, or 30 minutes.
We create a brand idea map to inspire and steer your brand promise, the advertising, all new product innovation, how you sell it, and the customer experience you deliver. Consequently, if you can’t define your brand, you’re confusing everyone you expect to deliver.
To illustrate, click on the brand idea map that we use as part of ourd consulting process.
Laying out your brand positioning work.
To illustrate, click on any of the tools we use to build the brand positioning.
Are you making the right investments and does everyone on your team know their role?
A strategic plan should force smart focused decisions to help organize, steer, and inspire your team towards a brighter future of higher growth. Unquestionably, they debate strategy. Importantly, we created our Strategic ThinkBox questions to open up your team’s thinking and help frame the key issues facing your brand.
You need to build each element of a strategic plan: vision, purpose, values, key issues, strategies, and tactics.
To illustrate, this is our one-page Marketing Plan that is part of our Marketing Training programs.
The foundation of any plan is the strategy statements. They need to be crystal clear with no room for misinterpretation. First, tell everyone where you are investing. Next, explain the focused opportunity that you see in the market that you are taking advantage of. Then, rally everyone on the market impact you expect, whether it is how you move consumers, the desired reputation, and how you tighten the bond with consumers. Finally, your strategy should map out the performance result delivered back to the company. Clearly, more power or more profit.
To illustrate, click on our tool to help map out the ideal brand strategy statement.
Laying out your strategic planning work.
To illustrate, click on any of the tools we use to build your strategic plan.
Does your marketing execution establish your desired brand reputation and move customers to purchase?
You need marketing execution that consistently delivers their brand positioning through marketing communications, product innovation, sales, retail, and an ideal customer experience. Moreover, every effort needs to move customers closer to the purchase.
Start with creative brief that will focus any agency on developing smart, creative advertising and media. The creative brief comes directly from the work you do on your brand positioning and your strategic plan. Importantly, do the work first.
With the sales team, these brands have programs that work at the purchase moment through retail channels, packaging, e-commerce, direct selling, customer service, and merchandising.
You need to have a high-functioning innovation process, so you can brainstorm new ideas you can test and assess, and then build and execute a launch program.
To illustrate, click on any of the tools we use to build your marketing execution.
Our brand strategy process will help you define your brand and map out a strategic plan for the best possible future for your brand.
Are you investing in your people to ensure they make smarter decisions and produce exceptional work that drives business growth?
The better their people, the better their business results. Undoubtedly, you need to create a culture where people want to give their best work. Clearly, you will always benefit from having a smarter team. When you invest in your people, you will help your team gain the marketing skills they need to succeed. As a result, you will see them make smarter decisions and produce exceptional work that drives business growth.
How our marketing training makes your team smarter
Our marketing training teaches brand leaders how to ask tough strategic questions to slow everyone down. They need to approach strategy in a thoughtful, analytical way. We created a Strategic ThinkBox that allows marketers to interrogate their brand. Importantly, it helps them look at the most important issues of the business. Furthermore, we force marketers to take a holistic look at their brand’s core strength, competitive landscape, tightness of the consumer bond, and business situation.
Our brand positioning process starts by finding out the ideal consumer is and how they would benefit from the brand. We teach marketers how to find the emotional and functional benefits their brand can deliver. Then, we show how to find a unique space for their brand that is interesting, simple, motivating, and ownable. Furthermore, we introduce our brand idea tool and show how to communicate that brand idea across the organization. In addition, marketers learn how to write a brand concept, story, and a credo document.
The marketing plan is a decision-making tool that communicates the expectations to everyone who works on the brand. We teach marketers how to put together the vision, purpose, goals, key issues, strategies and marketing execution plans. Our marketing training provides various tools including our one-page marketing plan and ideal presentation deck. Importantly, we go into detail on how to write key issue questions and strategic statements that forms the foundation of the marketing plan.
Our marketing execution training starts with the development of the creative brief, which serves as the bridge between the plan and execution. Particularly, we review line-by-line of the creative brief and give you examples of the best and worst. Furthermore, we even provide participants with a checklist to make smarter decisions on your next marketing campaign. Importantly, we introduce our creative checklist to help make smarter decisions on creative communications. And, we emphasize how to match up media choices to the consumer journey. Essentially, the skills will help your team get better work from their agency partners.
Our comprehensive marketing analytics sessions teach brand leaders how to lead a deep-dive business review. Clearly, they need to know how to assess their brand’s performance, and set up smarter strategic thinking for their marketing plan. As a result, we get marketers to look at the marketplace, consumers, channels of distribution, competitors or other brands in their industry category. Finally, we show how to lead an audit on the performance indicators of the brand.
The best marketers are able to think, define, plan, execute, and analyze. To illustrate below, explore the 20 core marketing skills. Our marketing training goes through four skills for each of strategic thinking, brand positioning, marketing plans, marketing execution, and brand analytics.
Use > to move through the presentation or x to see the full screen.
Articles that will improve your strategic thinking skills
To start, take the opportunity to improve your strategic thinking skills. Look to the five steps to building an effective brand strategy.
We show how to use our Strategic ThinkBox, and lay out the five elements of strategic thinking. Next, go deeper on to challenge your brand’s core strength, engage with consumer strategy, or competitive strategy.
Undoubtedly, you must understand the business situation before making your next move. We show how to write the ideal strategy statements you can use in your marketing plan.
As you move to the marketing execution, you need to use in-the-box creativity to stay on strategy. Importantly, marketers need to understand pricing strategy, social media strategy, and product innovation.
If you are a B2B marketer, look at at how to use our B2B Strategic ThinkBox, Also, you can look at how we evolve Porter’s model.