No matter what the industry, developing a strong brand involves a disciplined assembly of data and insight into a clear identity and powerful strategic platform, according to Bill Bloink, president of Wheaton, Ill.-based August Associates. Over the years, Bloink has been involved in brand implementation for many companies in diverse industries. In each case, he credits the successes to these five steps:
Conduct a Strategic Brand Analysis: Using qualitative and quantitative research, examine the company, the customer, and the competition.
Develop a Brand Identity: Using the analysis from step one, this process includes five unique elements that are critical to ensure the clear, consistent, continuous marketing and communication of the brand.
Develop the Brand Strategy Platform: This consists of the brand's value proposition to drive sales and the positioning statement that defines differentiation.
Brand Implementation: This effort requires the coordination of all points of contact between the market and the brand. These include the usual communication tools, but, more importantly, the people involved with the brand.
Brand Tracking: Elements that contribute to a brand's strength include perception of quality, brand awareness, associations, and differentiators —plus anything that contributes to brand loyalty. Establishing upfront metrics to track these areas is critical to ensure the ongoing management of a healthy brand.