The Brand Platform: The Foundation of a Cohesive Integrated Marketing Communications Plan

  1. Why a Brand Platform?
  • A brand platform will align the company’s goals and aspirations with its resources and capabilities
  • A brand platform sends a message to everyone in the company
  • It should be: 1) short enough to remember; 2) simple enough to understand; and 3) powerful enough to inspire — employees and prospects
  1. The Brand Platform
  • The merger of the company and its products as a single entity
  • The defining elements of our brand’s existence, guiding how we deliver value at all points of human contact
  • The brand platform must capture the essence of a company clearly in touch with its: 1) customers; 2) business environment; 3) equities and competencies; and, 4) potential
  1. The Brand Platform Structure
  • Why Do We Need a “Vision”?
  • Most companies operate in a highly dynamic market
  • A fundamental principle of dynamic optimization is to specify the desired end-state at some future time, and work back to see how to get there
  • The “Vision” is the desired end-state the company would like to achieve in the future
  1. Everybody on the Same Page
  • The corporate brand and the product offerings should be the same
  • The company should emerge publicly as an organization with its culture, values and products in absolute alignment: 1) one brand; 2) one value set; 3) one promise; 4) one face; and, 5) one voice
  1. The Construct
  • A vision is a description of something in the future, in terms of the essence of what it should become
  • It articulates a realistic, credible, and attractive aspiration for the brand
  • It is a condition that is better than the condition that now exists
  • Coca-Cola: “To put a Coke within arm’s reach of everyone on the planet.”
  • NASA: “Be first to put a man on the moon.”
  • Henry Ford: “To build a car his own workers could afford to buy.”
  • Sense of the possible (not the probable)
  • Aspirational, but attainable
  • Visualization of the destination
  • Unique
  • It’s not a theme line
  1. Why a Mission?
  • A mission is a statement that defines the purpose of the organization
  • It defines that purpose in terms of something outside the company, beyond profits or market position
  • If executed, pursuit of the mission will lead to realization of the vision
  • Henry Ford: “To pass on to the motorist who buys our products, every efficiency possible, in the production of automobiles, from modern methods of procurement, manufacture, and assembly.”
  1. Key Considerations Defining the Mission
  • History and culture of the institution or organization
  • Current preferences of the management and owners
  • Resources of the institution
  • Distinctive competencies
  • Business environment and competition
  1. Core Values: A Definition
  • The unwavering principles that guide how we conduct business, make and sell products, and especially how we steward ongoing relationships with customers and prospects
  • McDonald’s:
    1. Quality
    2. Value
    3. Service
    4. Cleanliness
  1. Types of Core Values
  • Acquired vs. current:
  • What are we that we need to keep?
  • What are we not, that we would like to be?
  • Functional vs. emotional

  1. Possible Core Values

Accessible Aggressive Caring

Confident Conservative Creative

Customer focused Different Entrepreneurial

Fair Family oriented Fast

Friendly Honest Independent

Innovative Leader Mature

Passionate Professional Responsible

Stable Swift Trusted

  1. Strategic Imperatives
  • Once the fundamental platform strategies are in place, the question becomes what operating strategies we must follow to manage the company against the strategy
  • Examples:
    1. Product must be easy to use, intuitive and require little to no customer support
    2. Sales efforts must embrace solution selling versus focusing on individual tools or initiatives
    3. Product must be improved to be acknowledged as world-class
    4. Invest in gaining competitive insight into prospective customers
    5. Cultural shift from a product provider to a broader view focused on enabling customers to achieve their goals
  1. Positioning: A Definition
  • A competitive tool with which a marketer: 1) Distinguishes a brand within a competitive frame of reference; 2) Registers its benefits and associations as a competitive point of difference; 3) Appeals to the wants and needs of a worthwhile target market; 4) The long-term positive differentiation of the brand from it competitors that is meaningful to consumers
  • Pepsi-Cola: Pepsi is the cola that is most in style today because it has the taste “with-it” people prefer.
  • Volvo Automobiles: Volvo is the automobile that provides peace-of-mind to drivers concerned about the safety of themselves and their passengers.

What other elements do you use to create the foundation for an integrated marketing communications plan?

Tom Smith

Experienced marketing professional who has worked with more than 120 clients in 18 different vertical industries. ♦ Differentiate products and services by improving UX and delivering memorable CX to create an emotional connection to the brand. ♦ Obtain insights from analytics to solve business problems and drive revenue. ♦ Develop and implement marketing campaigns that double traffic and leads in three months. ♦ Certified Marketing Automation Professional ♦ Certified Voice of the Customer (VOC) Professional