- Know your POSITION: who you are, for whom, and why customers should engage with you
- Know your COMPETITION: who is offering your customers similar solutions and how you distinguish yourself
- Know your AUDIENCE: who you're in business for and what motivates them
- Know your MARKET: what industry you're playing in, what natural fluctuations and trends are occurring
- Know your CHANNELS: where you will distribute your products or services
- Know your VEHICLES: which media you will use to communicate and drive sales through, and how each should be leveraged as part of a strong marketing mix
- Know THYSELF: how you will deliver consistently in the presentation of your brand
For the complete blogs, see Part 1 and Part 2.
The remaining 3 in our Top 10 list to building a strong, engaging and lasting brand are basic tenets for running any successful business.
Establish a Vision Statement and resolve to work towards it. A Vision Statement communicates your brand's purpose and defines its place in the future. It is forward-thinking, establishing the vision of where your business or brand will be in 5, 10 or even 20 years. Your Vision Statement is the destination point your business is looking to reach.
Your Vision Statement is different from business and departmental objectives. Everyone in your company should understand what their departmental goals are, and establishing those goals should be done with an eye to the future - or vision - for the company. As Hamel & Prahalad stated in Competing for the Future, "At most companies, employees focus on short-term performance, like improving profitability or process. These are important challenges, but people won't go the extra mile unless they know where they're going."
Finally, be sure your statement is ownable and durable, as well as meaningful to your target audience.
Create a Mission Statement for your company to define your present state, and give purpose and direction to each of the activities which your company undertakes. If the Vision Statement is the final destination point, the Mission Statement acts as the compass which you use to guide your company in its growth. It should inform the actions and decisions which each of your employees takes towards reaching the ultimate vision.
An example of the difference between a Mission Statement and a Vision Statement from Microsoft:
10. Know your BUSINESS
Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) to help monitor and manage your business. Your KPI’s will help define and monitor the progress your business is making towards the long term goals you have established.
There are KPIs for every aspect of your business, not just financial or marketing activities. You might establish KPIs for your operational efforts, your supply chain activities, your logistics or manufacturing side of the business, or any other core activity undertaken by your business. Have each of your divisional managers define the critical measures in their area of focus as they work towards the long term goals of the business. Which metrics must they monitor to ensure continued success?
Your KPI’s should be SMART. Everyone should have a firm grasp on those business indicators that are critical in keeping your business growing. And, they should be monitored on a frequent enough basis that your team is able to see when issues are arising in certain areas. Establish timely reports to help monitor your KPIs (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly), and use the data your reports show to refine or fine tune your business and brand strategies when necessary.
And finally... a little extra credit:
11. Know your LIMITS
If you've attended to each of the top 10 addressed here, you're not going to overextend your business; however it's easy to get ahead of yourself with the next great idea or opportunity to service your market or customer. Keep it simple. Keep focused. Don’t try to be all to everyone. Don’t over-leverage your resources.
Establish your top 3-5 business priorities in the near term and maintain that focus. If market, consumer, financial or other conditions disrupt your ability to focus on those top priorities, refine them down to 3, 2 or 1. Recognize your limitations and work with them. It's too easy to be distracted by the next great idea, or the latest trend, but with strong planning, a focused vision, engaged and informed employees, a good understanding of the marketplace, and supportive and empowering leadership, your business and brand can soar.
A visual to recap: