Perfectly tuned branding and communications can spark extraordinary gains for your organisation. But how do you implement an all-encompassing transformation of your B2B communications?
Our three-part blog series will show you the way. This step-by-step guide takes you through nine stages from planning and preparation to final roll-out, and provides you with practical guidance to help you transform your brand and communications.
In this article we introduce the first 3 stages of the 9-stage programme. Begin with preparing the ground, then establish the foundations, and finally draw up a succinct, top-level plan for your brand and communications development.
1. Prepare the ground
Ensure business strategy is clear. The clearer the strategy, the easier it is to produce on-message, on-brand, effective communications. Whether for a single brand, a distinct company division or the entire organisation, the roadmap needs to be clear.
Audit current communications. A brief, independent, expert assessment can help convince others to come on board with a communications redevelopment project.
Understand your audience’s perceptions, needs and buying behaviours. Research all three thoroughly as this awareness underpins everything. The most valuable research we do for clients is to speak with their customers. Informal phone interviews reveal golden insights. You need to know how your audience perceives your company.
Examine best-in-class. Take inspiration from the best communicators in your space or in related sectors. What can you learn from them at a macro and a micro level? Taking dozens of screenshots and categorising them provides a reference bank to return to throughout the project.
Establish key requirements and objectives. Be clear on the key aspects of your brand and communications. Draft these at the outset and refine them during the project. Return to this one-page, top-level touchstone periodically to ensure you are on-track.
2. Establish the foundations
Clarify the facts. Pinpoint what you do, for whom, how, how it’s different, and what value it provides. It seems simple, but these initial foundations are a struggle for many. Before you work on how to say it, be sure you’re crystal clear on what to say. Forget about the words initially, just get the facts straight; crafting the language will come later.
Define your brand personality. Re-examine and re-define your brand personality, which needs to be true to the company and resonate with your audiences. It can be tuned for different markets, but this personality definition will steer the development of your visual style, tone of voice and images.
Define your purpose. People first engage with ‘why’ you do what you do, not ‘what’ or ‘how.’ A purposeful brand is therefore a more powerful one. If your organisation has not already embraced ‘purposefulness,’ seek out the works of Simon Sinek. A clear purpose underpins the development of more powerful communications.
Define positioning. Your prospect’s mind is busy. You can only own a little of it. What’s the lead attribute you want to be known for? Once identified, deliver sustained messaging and stories that connect your brand with this position to burn that connection into the mind of your audience. For a short, succinct lesson about the power of positioning, read ‘Positioning’ by Al Ries & Jack Trout.
Craft a succinct value proposition. Write a statement that explains what benefit you provide or what problem you solve, for whom, and how you do it uniquely well. It should explain why you’re distinct from the alternatives in your niche. The value proposition is a distillation of all the key facts you have clarified and is aligned with your purpose.
Shape a clear construct. How does your audience navigate through your material to get what they need? Websites force the development of simple, clear constructs. For large organisations with many divisions and services it can be a challenge to develop an intuitive, sustainable, customer-centric construct.
3. Develop a plan
Create a development plan. Draw up a succinct, top-level plan for your brand and communications development. With the foundations established, you can define what is to be produced, who will undertake those tasks, the roadmap, timeline, and investment required. Outline your plans for new a website, and for image and copy development.
It’s impossible to over emphasise the importance of strong groundwork. As stages 1 – 3 illustrate, preparation and research are vital.
In our next blog, stages 4-6, we build on these foundations – exploring brand identity and visual style, as well as providing expert insight and best-practice tips to transform your digital presence and create a customer-centric website.