Defining Your Brand

Marki Conway

This post was co-written by Marki Conway and Linda Miller, who directs message development strategies for PAN clients.

Whether you’re a start-up trying to define your brand for the first time, or a legacy company that’s in need of a re-brand or re-focus, your corporate messaging is one of your greatest assets. In the crowded B2B technology space, it’s critical to differentiate your company from the many tech companies vying for the same business. An integrated communications strategy that incorporates digital media, event/award tracking and media relations (to name a few PR program elements), will tell your story and expand your brand’s footprint.

The first step to kicking off a good PR program is defining your message. If you don’t, your CEO could be telling one story to the media, while the marketing team is sharing a completely different brand story through digital channels. The result will be a lot of confusion over who your company is, and what market needs your company actually meets. If you can answer a couple of key questions, you’ve taken the first steps to defining your brand and kicking off a successful PR program.

What business challenge do you address?

While many of the large tech companies we work with here at PAN have several services and products, it’s still necessary for each of them to define the over-arching challenge the company solves. Whether it’s driving ROI through mobile channels, increasing employee productivity, or securing and managing corporate data – you need to define what your company does and why that’s important to your prospect’s bottom line.

Who are your competitors?

Most companies know who their key competitors are, but many companies don’t really examine deeply how their solutions and services are truly different or how are better serving your target market.

Who are you trying to reach?

Is your ideal prospect contact the CMO, CIO or CEO? While you may not always deal with a person of that exact title, once you define your ideal target you can cater your messaging to appeal to that audience. By researching what their pain points are and communicating how your company can solve those pain points, you can market your services to the right people, with the right message.

Maybe you’re thinking that your brand is well-defined, even if you haven’t done a refresh in several years. A quick way to know if you need a brand refresh is to approach a handful of employees, separately, and ask each of them to give you the company’s “elevator pitch.” Did their elevator pitches sound the same, or at least very similar? If your brand is well-defined, then your employees should have an elevator pitch down pat, and that pitch should sound similar whether it’s coming from the intern, or the CEO.

For legacy tech companies, messaging can shift frequently as technology is constantly evolving. Therefore, solutions need to evolve as well, and it’s essential for companies to do a brand refresh as they evolve. An outdated boiler plate can misrepresent a company as archaic, even if their technology and solutions are very progressive. Once your message is defined, it’s time to start updating all of your materials – your boiler plate, website, company description, digital profiles and so forth – to ensure that your story is consistent across channels.

Is your corporate brand telling the right story?

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