“When it comes to the lifecycle of a brand, entrepreneurs should understand how to best spend money for where they are at the moment,” stated Allan Hess, Director of Digital Marketing Automation and Customer Relationship Practice for Ascension Growth & Innovation Strategies, LLC . Ascension offers growth strategies for businesses by improving client engagements (http://www.ascensionstrategy.com/)
Allan’s interview is intended to follow up on comments from the December 2, 2013 post on RFID/RTLS markets. The post talks about market segmentation and how it can be used to help manage the lifecycle of tangible and intangible assets. A brand shares similar characteristics. A brand can be purchased. A brand has to be maintained. A brand is utilized. A brand can be retired. A brand can be resold once the owner no longer wants it.
Allan started our conversation by saying, “A brand is a promise or an image, a reputation, an intangible. It can be physically represented by a logo, name, tagline or other types of designs.”
I added, “All connected in the mind of the audience?”
“…connected in someone’s head, recognizable to products and services.”
“Allan, what is important at the beginning of establishing a brand?”
“When it comes to the lifecycle of a brand, entrepreneurs should understand how to best spend money for where they are at the moment. They need to understand who they want to be. Not everyone starts at the same level. If you are working out of a garage and money is tight, it’s not like you can go spend a million dollars on market research for logo and slogan design and testing. But, there are ways to get the information you need to focus on your audience and the feel that you want your brand to convey. “
I thought about the words, where they are right now. A brand is abstract. A vehicle has physical mass. What Allan implied is very similar when starting a courier company or logistics company - anything that requires a vehicle. If an entrepreneur has the capital and the business plan to match, buying 20 new vehicles may be a great way to start. If he/she is starting out of a garage, buying one used vehicle may be the best way to start.
Allan continued, “A logo pulled together by a high school student may be good for a very short while. When the bottom line and customers increase, that logo may be insufficient for what’s needed to increase market presence or even sustain business.
“For a logo, choose something clear, distinguishable, and recognizable. Be consistent in reproducing that image. The key is that a consumer recognizes the image as associated with the company and what’s sold. For example, people know what a white swoosh is despite the fact that no word may be associated with it.
“Terminology is important as well. There are nuances but the fundamentals are the same. There is a need to understand, who is your target audience? What resonates with that market? What problem is your audience trying to solve? There is a difference in calling something sushi versus cold, dead, raw fish. This has to do with developing the image you want to portray and understanding what the market will buy.”
Allan made a great point that resonated with my personal experience. I grew up in a place where deep-fried fresh or salt water fish went from the wire basket to the plate. Eating sliced, raw-looking, or nearly raw meat… that was not even close to acceptable. That included raw oysters. The word sushi helps a great deal with me when it comes to thinking of cold, dead, raw fish… with cold rice and seaweed as a delicacy. Even the root of word sushi has more to do with rice than fish. Yet, while I do have my limits, I do eat sushi.
Part 2 will cover maintaining brand value, retiring a brand and some closing thoughts from Allan.