Have you defined your brand strategy, including its positioning, desired customer experience, architecture, and extension strategy?
A brand is one of the few things a company can own forever, so it pays to be intentional and actively manage it.
After years of helping clients build strong brands, we’ve narrowed in on four high-leverage brand strategy concepts: brand positioning, brand-customer experience, brand architecture, and brand extension.
Do these four things well, and you’ll establish a strong foundation for downstream marketing efforts.
Four Keys to Brand Management
- Brand positioning is the conceptual place you want to own in the target customer’s minds — the benefits you want to think of when they consider your brand
- Brand-customer experience represents the totality of how customers interact with your business and brand — the touchpoints they encounter within their journey
- Brand architecture is the logical, strategic, and relational structure of all products and brands in the portfolio and an important input to brand naming
- Brand extension results from stretching established brand names into new product or new product categories
As a top strategy consulting firm, our market-driven approach balances business judgment and experience with qualitative and quantitative brand research, such as segmentation, attitudes & usage, conjoint analysis, and other methods
In addition, our experienced brand management consultants understand marketing cost drivers (e.g., brand proliferation, overuse of downstream marketing tactics) and employ discipline, analytics, and planning to lower costs and improve ROI.
This is a key differentiator vs. traditional brand creative agencies, as discussed next.
Why Brand Strategy vs. an Ad Agency or Design Firm?
As a leading brand strategy firm (vs. creative agency), we offer a broader set of skills vs. traditional advertising or branding agencies that favor communication and creativity.
In fact, many “branding firms” operate more as graphic design firms (offering branding services in corporate identity, packaging and logo development), though have extended their services to fend off competition and move up the strategy ladder.
At the same time, management consulting firms and technology specialists are expanding their services to encompass branding and marketing strategy (The goalposts are moving. Agencies must become more consultative to win). As a result, traditional lines between market research, agencies, technology, and strategy firms are blurring.
EquiBrand blends skill sets of management consulting firms with those from creative branding agencies. While it can be hard to figure out which firm to hire, here are a few questions to consider:
- What are the backgrounds of the management consulting leaders? Look at team bios. Do they favor education and experience in improving business performance or creativity and communication? Does the firm hire MBA and technology specialists or do the firm principals hold degrees in creative writing or from art schools? Both can be effective, but it’s important to understand the firms’ hiring bias.
- Do case histories emphasize changes in business operations or in corporate identity development? While downstream activities like an improved website, social media, or sales promotion may be necessary, they are insufficient for growth. The strongest brands and businesses are built through upstream marketing which should come through in viewing case studies.
- Will the engagement change the way you think and operate? Does the firm have a proven thought-leadership track record and focus on building the client team’s capabilities needed to win?
These are just a few questions to consider in considering how to evaluate brand consulting firms. For more information, contact EquiBrand Consulting.
EquiBrand Named a Top Brand Consulting Firms
EquiBrand is consistently recognized among leading brand consulting firms, as confirmed by recent industry rankings. Beginning in 2017 annually through 2022, Forbes listed EquiBrand as one of America’s best management consulting firms.
This top ranking was reinforced by a top three ranking in the 31 Best Marketing Consulting Rankings in 2022 as well as a top eight placement Top Marketing Consulting Firm by independent rating service Advisory HQ.
These listings of top strategy consulting firms consider a variety of factors, including ranking by colleague and client surveys, as well as an in-depth analysis of client impact.