Nine Questions to Develop Your B2B Branding Strategy

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The first step in developing a branding and positioning strategy is to determine your starting point through a series of nine questions:

1. What is the scope of your branding problem—is it to position an entire organization or simply to position a product or series of products?

2. In an ideal world, where money, time, and competitors are not a factor, what is the position you would like to hold in the marketplace? What is your idealized brand?

3. What is the position that you currently hold? You must be brutally honest with the answer to this question. If you don’t know the answer, conduct research to find out. This doesn’t mean internal research only; you must also ask prospects and customers. In many cases, employees have serious misconceptions about their company’s true marketplace position.

4. What is the position of each of your competitors? How do you fit with each competitor in terms of perceived quality (including performance and functionality), service, and pricing?

5. Is the branding statement for the current product or service compatible with your organization’s overall position? Consistency between the organization, and its products/services and personnel is very important.

6. Does your positioning strategy violate the true nature of the organization, or is it congruent? In other words, does it ring true in every aspect? Does the brand promise resonate with every part of the organization?  One caveat: I strongly believe in positioning yourself ahead of the curve—not just in terms of where you are now, but where you are going. But before practicing this future-oriented positioning, make sure this is where you are really going.

7. Where is the product/service in its life cycle? Is it a new, pioneering product or service, or is it in the maturing or declining phase? Do consumers ask, “What is this product?”  Or do they ask, “Why should I buy this particular model from all the choices available?” Likewise, is this an opportunity to reposition a mature product for a fresh new market?

8. Do you have the resources to compete with a price strategy, by offering a product comparable to that of your competition at a lower cost?

9. Given the competition, do you have the necessary resources to reach and maintain the desired position in the marketplace? If the answer is no, you need to know this before investing marketing dollars on a failed cause.

You should answer each of these nine branding/positioning questions in the context of overall corporate objectives, such as profit, return on investment (ROI), levels of financial risk desired, new technologies, and so forth. Note also that the questions are fairly general in nature and are intended to provide the framework in which you can develop the best possible creative strategy.

The output of this process will be a branding and positioning statement, which can be as short as one sentence or as long as a paragraph. Do not attempt to develop the creative strategy until you have complete agreement on the branding and positioning statement from all concerned individuals, including marketing, sales, research, customer service, and finance and administration.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Christopher Ryan
Christopher Ryan is CEO of Fusion Marketing Partners, a B2B marketing consulting firm and interim/fractional CMO. He blogs at Great B2B Marketing and you can follow him at Google+. Chris has 25 years of marketing, technology, and senior management experience. As a marketing executive and services provider, Chris has created and executed numerous programs that build market awareness, drive lead generation and increase revenue.

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