Thursday, July 19, 2012

Guerilla Branding (Post is work in progress)

Now that I am in showbiz and we have our own company Tangelo, I am trying to understand brands better. Read a few books on it and here is condensed version of all that I understood.
I would be concentrating on guerilla branding. Branding for small businesses or even industry professionals who are free-lancers like writers, cinematographers, directors.

It's a work in progress and I will refine it as I keep reading and contemplating :).  I will write it as a FAQ so that it is more precise and to-the-point.

First 2-3 days I will concentrate on basics so that when I reach guerilla branding part, the basics are covered better.

Why does one need branding ?
Before we talk about branding businesses or movies, one has to realize that every person is a brand in him/herself (whether they like it or not). Brand gives people around you confidence. And brand is bigger than what you do. It shows what you 'are'. A good brand indicates values like intelligence, responsibility and results.
I have always felt shy about these things, but even if you are not a pompous company/person, you have to realize that your brand is your credit for the value you provide. Your brand determines your perceived value.
An additional note is that branding is not a substitute for your strengths and innovations. But it certainly helps as your sphere of influence starts increasing.

What I have realized that consistency in communicating the brand and your behavior towards your customer is very important.
As it helps make people have a clear association with you. Inconsistency is one the worst brand your company can have.  Lot of times in hospitality and service industry, your contact person and service environment determines the brand. So it is very important to choose and train these contact persons correctly and invest in an environment that communicates your brand correctly. Or if you are the contact person yourself, it is better to take efforts to be be nice and courteous all the time.

What are brand components ?
We all understand what a brand is, but for precision people breakdown the term "brand" into the following components:
- Identifiers - Name (for products it can be logo, color of the logo)
- Attributes - What a customer thinks in response to the identifier.
A brand can represent
1) Need
2) Emotional Benefit
3) Functional Benefit
4) Economic Benefit
5) Feature
6) Product or service.
As you can see, for your brand to be effective, the higher you are in that list, the better.
- Associations - The wiring in the customers mind - what attribute do they give to your brand.
For example think of a few things you use in your day to day life. e.g Facebook - what attribute you associate with it (Is it a product for you, is it functional need or emotional need - every person's usage of facebook varies based how he/she associates with it).
 Or think of yourself in your organization. What attributes do you think your colleagues associate with you (are you their need?).

In a market, how do you position yourself effectively to create strong Brand Associations ?
Though you and your product can have lot of key benefits, start by choosing just 2-3. But before your customer is deciding whether to use your product/service the bigger challenge is will he even consider your product/service. Most young professionals in this industry face the challenge number one :).

To go about this, one should collect data and understand the market.
1) Do situation Analysis - Understand customers and competitors
2) Market Segment - What area of the market or what group of people will seek you e.g. Do you own a Pancake shop or a Gujju Thali joint. What appeals to whom. Someone says: "If everyone is your customer then prob noone is your customer".
3) Positions - This consists of 3 benefits that your market segment wants and how you can provide it better than the choices available to them.
4) Communicate - Now you need to find a gap between your brand position and customer perception. And work towards bridging it. This cannot happen over-night. Brand communication requires series of nudges and not a big violent push so this is a long process and happens over a period of time.

Now that I have positioned myself, how do I communicate ?

1 comment:

J Ramanand said...

could you also mention some of the books and which ones were useful? BTW, if you've not already, do check out "Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind" by Ries and Trout - a very good book on branding and marketing.