For a number of reasons, we don’t always have the information about our brands or our clients’ brands that would help us do an even better job as communications professionals. Whether it’s because internal departments don’t share information or agency partners don’t ask the right questions, not having some key facts in mind can result in efforts that don’t make a real impact for the organization.
With that in mind, I wanted to share three things you should know about the brand you serve right now, before writing another plan, discussing a new strategy or executing another tactic.
1. Product/Brand positioning – Every product/brand should have a stated positioning that identifies the target audience in detail, the single most differentiating feature about that product and the single most compelling benefit realized by the end user.
Though the exact words or phrasing used in the positioning may not show up in a press release or a print ad, a well-articulated positioning statement sets the foundation and direction for everything the end user sees, hears, reads, experiences. If you don’t know your brand’s positioning statement, ask someone for it and memorize it.
2. Consumer segmentation – Yes, you know generally that you’re targeting females between the ages of 25 and 45, but a solid consumer segmentation breaks out your brand’s target audience and gives you vital information about sub-groups based on life stages, household income, key decision triggers and media consumption.
For example, if you know that a majority of those in the Newly Married sub-group is most focused on house hunting and weekend adventures, and prefers reading magazines like Real Simple and Conde Nast, it will allow you to better target your media relations efforts, from the story angles you develop to the publications you pitch.
3. Sales Cycle – Knowing how the product is sold along every point of the sales cycle – including at the distributor level, retail level and consumer level – will help you identify more ways that communications strategies can help sell more. If you focus primarily on consumers, look for opportunities to help get more of your product on retail shelves. Helping the sales team open more doors at the distributor level, for example, will only make you more valuable to the organization.
What would you add? What’s a key piece of information that you feel makes all the difference in developing better communications strategies?