Brand strategy and your competition

For this issue we have a guest columnist: our colleague Faith Tomases. Since 1990 Faith has been a brand strategist and writer with expertise in the specific problems of image, organization naming systems, and marketing communications. She has a M.B.A. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Business and is a guest lecturer at New York University.

Brand strategy is the thinking process behind your organization’s brand. Brand strategy articulates your brand’s attributes and mission; positions you in relation to similar organizations; and specifies the needs you fulfill for clients and stakeholders.

It’s important to have an effective brand strategy because your organization is swimming in a very competitive environment.


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Here are some questions to ask about your brand’s competitive environment:

  • Does your brand compete successfully for attention? After all, your target audience receives between 3,000 and 5,000 marketing messages a day!
  • Does your brand make an immediate impression? Your marketing has a split second to attract your audience’s attention before they move on. For example, direct mailers know that a reader decides in 3 seconds whether to open an envelope or toss it.
  • Is your brand memorable? People can retain only so much information. Your brand strategy must focus on your unique attributes and target the right audience.
  • How does your audience categorize your brand? People place brands in categories they consider objective. For example, an organization that fights cancer might be categorized by a potential donor as “the most established” or “the most efficient” or “the biggest”. Brand strategy helps position your organization so you end up in the right mental category.

FACT OF THE MONTH

According to the National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation, “The Da Vinci Code” will be the 68th movie since 1960 to feature an evil albino.