Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I took notes.

Today was a great day. I got to sit down and discuss the finer points of branding with a great group of agents. The input I received fueled me and served as a reminder of how exciting the world of marketing and branding really is. I went ahead and took notes on my lesson and subsequent discussion and I thought I would post them here. If you are finding this site for the first time through the class today, Welcome! Please let me know if this blog helps.

Notes
Sorry if this doesn't read too smoothly. They are only notes.

There are three stages to branding:
1.Target. The worst target group you can have is everyone. In branding, everyone equals no one. You can not devise a message that will speak to everyone. Find a group that you can realistically target. Pick a group that you have served well in the past and that you can serve well in the future. The definition of a target market is a group of people with defining characteristics. What are the defining characteristics of your group?

2.Message. Remember those defining characteristics? What message speaks well to those people. The elderly value security and trust. 20-somethings want you to hold their hand through the transactions. How can you overcome peoples fears?

3.Expression. So you have your target and your message. Now what? You need to figure out a way to get that message across. That's where the visual branding comes in. You need to people to feel a certain way when they see your graphics. If you don't take control of this process, potential clients are getting the wrong messages when they see your marketing materials. Make sure they are getting the right ones. Hire someone to help you.


How to choose a graphic designer:
-Make sure they understand the importance of target markets and how to reach them.
-Make sure their primary focus is sales for you and not just making pretty pictures.
-Make sure they will work with you. If the designer plans on taking your money and showing up in three weeks with a logo for you, it won't work. A good designer should spend a great deal of the design process in contact with you, trying to understand your business, your market, and you. If they don't insist on a detailed meeting before the first line is drawn, run!

Resources:
"The Tipping Point" -Malcolm Gladwell
An anthropological study on consumer behavior. What makes your customers tick? Deals a lot with the product adoption curve.

"Purple Cow" -Seth Godin
A much shorter read. Deals with a lot of the same issues as "The Tipping Point" but it explains how to translate these ideas into real business growth.

Any questions?

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