Shortly after launching MESH back in 2003, we found ourselves identifying branding opportunities with notable clients with recognizable brands on a regular basis. In order for us to be able to compete for and win these branding opportunities, we needed to lead by example, and that meant leading with our own brand.
To say it became an obsession is putting it lightly. We took ourselves through a process identical to what we take our clients through, and more than 10 years later, we’re continuing to live and breathe the MESH brand, mission, and vision. Whether you’re an agency developing brands for clients, or a marketer looking to evolve your brand, here are three ways you can begin the process of leading with your brand.
Before getting carried away with how customers will view your brand, begin by taking a look at your internal processes and communication. Do your employees use consistent language at every touch point? From the way you interview and hire people, to the way you communicate internally and conduct business–it all needs to line up with your brand values.
After taking a look internally, consider the opportunities that exist in the marketplace for your brand. Should you focus on offering competitive pricing, or charge above-margin fees and be the “sought after” low-profile brand? Other factors to consider are story, culture, an appetite for change and your team’s expertise–all of these can impact how you position yourself.
For example, our brand is approachable and fun. We have a good time. We’re loose. Our Yeti is our spirit animal–creating intrigue, mystery and curiosity and a little bit of irreverence. Clients who want to work with this type of brand want their agency to push them to be a little uncomfortable. And that’s what we love to do.
Then look outward
As a strategic marketing agency, we are a professional service business similar to a CPA firm or attorney. We even work with these types of firms, positioning their spokespersons as experts in their respective industries, inserting their brands at the epicenter of trending discussions.
This is something we also focus on doing for ourselves as we work to lead by example for our clients. We’re blogging, acting as resources for the media, developing thought leadership content for Forbes, etc. And ironically, everything we talk about centers around our differentiator in the market–our branding process.
This is effective because we are a branding agency that’s full service. In addition to educating clients about the process, they can read about our case studies and thought leadership in the media and on our website. The consistent messaging leads to clients understanding what they will get before they even set foot in the door, which in turn leads to successful partnerships, agency growth, an excellent customer service experience and even employee retention.
Who is your brand champion? Often times this is a talented individual (or two) who has created the brand to accomplish something he or she is passionate about–like Stan Richards of The Richards Group.
Start with this person, and get a sense for what his or her vision has in store for the brand and its success.