Are you Master of the Proposition or Master of the Meaningful Brand?

by jim-stein@att.net

Company owners who only focus on leads and sales (propositions) will, over time, be beaten in the marketplace by companies that consistently build and reinforce their meaningful brands. I’ll grant that some lead programs pay for themselves and you could point to particular sales campaigns that convinced certain prospects to choose a weak-branded company. Despite these seemingly additive marketing programs, companies that starve their commitments to building their brands will ultimately suffer a lethal combination of sales decline and margin squeeze.

Only meaningful brands command premium pricing.
Observe what prospective customers do; don’t be fooled by what they say. We can see that there’s a significant and mostly permanent sector of price bottom feeders, but they only represent 10 to 30 percent of most markets. Across the board, in industry after industry, this minority of buyers do purchase the Cheap Brand or the No-Brand. The rest of the buyers, the majority, are buying meaningful brands—brands that are differentiated, brands that represent quality, brands that are cool, brands that are wholesome, brands that reduce risk, brands that are smart. In other words, PREMIUM BRANDS that cost more than Cheap Brands and No-Brands.

Premium brands don’t accidentally become premium; they’re built and constantly nurtured by wise and focused managers. So, although we hear most prospective customers enter the marketplace shouting, “I want the cheapest price,” we’re experienced enough to know that they mean, “I want the lowest price I can get for the meaningful brand I want.” From little purchases like mustard to big buys like cars, homes and phones, the vast majority buys the Quality Brand (or the Cool, Safe or Nostalgic Brand) and pays a lot more for it. So, watch what prospective customers buy, not what they say. Look at your industry and estimate the total revenue going to the Cheap and No-Brand companies. All the other revenue flows to Premium Brands.

How to Build Your Small Company Brand for Meaning in a Fragmented Industry
You operate a small brand in a fragmented industry, which means that in the broad sense, you have a lot of competing brands to deal with. But if you earn Diamond Certified, like a shiny diamond outnumbered by a handful of poorly painted pebbles, you will stand out as premium…provided you keep your diamond polished. Here are three steps to burnish your brand’s Quality position:

With Diamond Certified, You’ll be Seen as Top-Rated for QUALITY.
Diamond Certified elevates your brand for quality above competitors. Twelve years and more than $50 million in brand spending later, your Diamond Certified status will be recognized by a majority of people in yourDiamond Certified Influence Graph marketplace to mean that your company has been rated high in quality. Now, when you show your customers how your brand earned Diamond Certified, 3 out of 4 will value it and be influenced to choose your premium brand.

Step 1: Live Branding
As first described by management guru Jan Carlzon, every employee contact with a customer is “a moment of truth.” When he ran SAS Group, Carlzon said, “We have 50,000 Sample DC Brochuremoments of truth every day.” How many do you have? During each employee interaction, your brand will either move up or move down the quality scale. So, step one is to audit each category of live interaction (in-person, phone calls and faxes) with prospects and customers and objectively look at what they see, hear, smell, taste and feel. Then, you’ll integrate usage of Diamond Certified Tools in each category of interaction. We’ll train each member of your team who interacts with potential customers to hand out a Diamond Certified brochure in-person, mention your Diamond Certified status on a phone call, and include a Diamond Certified symbol and tagline on a fax. Remember, a large majority of prospective customers who learn your company earned Diamond Certified will be positively influenced by this fact and add premium value to your brand. Simply put, usage of your Diamond Certified Tools moves your brand up the quality scale.

Step 2: Digital Branding
First, start with your website. Does every page elevate your brand’s position to premium? You’ll have Diamond Certified on each page, which will reinforce Diamond Certified Video Profile exampleyour brand’s quality. People are very visual. To maximize your brand building, you’ll have the Diamond Certified symbol next to your brand name on each page of your website with a link to your company’s Diamond Certified Company Report page. Additionally, your Diamond Certified Video Profile will be on your home page so potential customers can see you’re a premium brand and get to know and trust you before they even call you.

Next, you’ll elevate your brand for quality in emails by attaching your custom Diamond Certified eBrochure. If your company has a social media presence (and you know it should), audit your Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter pages. You’ll use the Diamond Certified symbol and we’ll flow a Tip of the Day to your social media pages. If you need help boosting your brand on your website and social media, call Greg Louie at (877) 870-7812.

Step 3: In-Market Branding
Imagine you’re a filmmaker and just put an incredible amount of time into making a movie. Somehow it all pays off and your movie wins the Academy Award. From then on, “Academy Award Winner” will appear next to your movie’s name in all marketing. We both know why. It helps sell tickets because most people recognize that even though hundreds of movies are made each year, only a few are voted as tops by the Academy. So, by earning and then displaying the Academy Award brand, you boost your movie title brand to premium status.

You run a company, and you and your team put an incredible amount of time and talent into satisfying your customers. So, if you earn Diamond Certified status, you’ll use the Diamond Certified Award everywhere your company brand name appears in marketing. By earning and then displaying the Diamond Certified Award, you boost your company brand to premium status. If you don’t use it, it won’t influence anyone. If you do, it will help you with 3 out of 4 potential customers.