All brands go through four distinct marketing life cycles, according to Theodore Levitt, a Harvard Economics professor and editor of the Harvard Business Review. He identified the stages of modern marketing cycles.
There are different priorities to address in each stage, although some will overlap. Let’s look at the all-important Stage One: the new brand.
STAGE 1: New Kid in Town
You are about to unleash a new brand into the marketplace. Your homework will include these priorities for Stage 1:
- Assess the marketing landscape by conducting a Competitive Analysis:
Look at the competitors in your field and identify each of their:
- Opportunities…that your brand can take advantage of
- Threats…to your new brand, such as changing technology and the economy
2. Define your brand:
What does your brand stand for? Examples are authenticity and humor.
Want do you want your brand to be known for? Focusing your brand on being known for one attribute is the key to cutting through the marketing clutter. My brand started as a program, music and talent consultant. It didn’t take off until I focused on being known as a talent coach.
Identify your brand’s unique selling proposition. It typically comes from one of these four areas:
- Save people money
- Make people money
- Help them legally
- Improve their quality of life
Taglines are most valuable for new brands for differentiation. They are less important in established brands. The Dollar Shave Club, a new business is an online brand that has used this tagline to help it stand out: Shave time, shave money.
Define your personality brand to help you establish and nurture relationships with clients, customers, or audience. This means being your authentic self by sharing your endearing qualities, your quirks and your flaws with your audience, clients and customers.
- Create awareness:
- Develop an online presence. Focus on owning one social medium rather than trying to be strong in many. Be sure to include a video introducing yourself and your brand on your website and social media.
- Write engaging blogs for trade publications and post them online with useful and fresh information. Reveal your personality to establish a connection with your audience, clients and customers. Michael Port, author of Book Yourself Solid says, “When you think you’ve given away too much information, give away more!”
- Start an online newsletter to establish your expertise and highlight your brand.
- Consider advertising in trade publications to create top of mind awareness.
- Set incremental goals and one BHAG, Big Harry Audacious Goal. In their book Built to Last, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras outlined how the most prosperous and visionary brands had one seemingly impossible goal that drove their success.
- Network like there’s no tomorrow!
Thoroughly plan and make an impactful brand debut. “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” – Anonymous
STAGE 2: Market Growth – The Takeoff Stage
Brand differentiation is clearly developing in this stage. Jimmy Kimmel used a unique tagline and promo campaign to differentiate the Mike and Jimmy Show in Tucson during his early radio days. Take a listen: Kimmel Promo
- Ramp up your relationships and client service. No matter what business you’re in, we’re all in the relationship business.
- Make presentation proposals for industry conventions and local organizations. The combination of public presentations and networking is powerful.
- Continue to write captivating blogs and articles with strong stands that can potentially go viral.
- Stay on top of new trends, procedures, products and services.
- Loyalty clubs can help propel your brand in Stage Two.
- Conduct a competitive review. Threats may now include new competitors entering your arena, losing a staff member to a competitor, or maybe a staff member who is not performing needs to be replaced.
- Scalability is the capability of a brand to handle a growing amount of work, or its potential to be enlarged in order to accommodate that growth. Be sure you can take on more clients and big projects with your current staff, or determine if you need to expand.
Photo Credit: flickr.com/photos/129767087@N03/