I am attending the SLA conference in Seattle right now. This morning I’m attending a Continuing Education program, “Creating a Brand Identity to Market Information Services”, presented by Liz Blankson-Hemans, Director of Information Professional Development at Thomson Reuters. This program is one out of a series of seminars called Quantum2 Leadership Development initially developed and delivered by Dialog before they became Thomson Dialog and now “the scientific business of Thomson Reuters.” If the seminars were not still called Quantum2, I probably wouldn’t know that they still existed. It’s a brand that survived multiple acquisitions.
Speaking of branding, and Liz is, here are some of the points she is covering:
- A brand is how customers think and feel about what the business, product and service does.
- A brand needs to be memorable, noticeable, unique and purposeful.
- It needs to differentiate you, your product, or company.
- It needs to tell your customer who your are and what you do.
- Managing a brand is an ongoing thing
She shared guidelines for developing a brand identity
- Assess Current brand image by researching and measuring its effectiveness
- Determine brand position by idenfitying your product(s), target market(s), competition, and company values.
- Identify brand elements whether they are tangible or intangible. What are their characteristics?
- Communicate brand through a communication strategy and touch points.
To be successful in brand management you need to examine your brand(s) from your customer’s perspective and manage them as a portfolio. This means understanding your brand’s role, what influence it has on the market and what relationships are their between your brands. Do you have a house of brands (several brands under a parent brand) or a branded house (their is one brand but many flavors of that brand.)
The second half of the program focused on marketing with a focus on the 3Ps of Marketing with a nod towards a 4th ‘P’ – People:
Those 3Ps provide direction in determining your products, services, benefits, target markets, customer motivations, customer satisfaction, etc. They focus on what the message
Here’s my attempt at describing a bit of what Liz is talking about, by looking at my own experience.
Nina Platt Consulting, Inc (NPCI) went through a marketing strategy process at the end of last year. Laurie Southerton of Southerton Consulting assisted us in identitying our target market, competition, and the services we wanted to offer. We came away with a number of things that are helping us manage our brand and how we communicate with our markets.
Focus on services – we defined our services. I love learning and will take on new roles in order to experience as much as I can. That may give me my kicks but it isn’t a good business strategy. As a business person, I need my clients and prospects to think of specific expertise and services when they think Nina Platt Consulting. Also, when a client who is a librarian hears that Nina Platt Consulting provides a service, they should be able to easliy understand what that service is. For example: As a brand NPCI Training means training that will assist librarians as they develop the law library of the future, its resources, services, staff, processes, and technology. Training that includes business, library/knowledge management, and technology skills development. Additionally, the delivery of services is a strategic one. For training, it means that the programs we present will assist librarians to work strategically as they implement what they learn.
Focus on target markets – we defined our markets. We provide services to law firms and the vendors (information & software) that sell to them. Within our markets, we have specifice populations we serve. In law firms we serve librarians, CIOs, CKOs, executive directors, management committees, etc. When working with vendors we work with product managers, marketing, etc. To get a better understanding of each of the populations we developed personas or stories that described our clients challenges and how NPCI can help them with those challenges.
Focus on message – we determined what messages we wanted to send and how we would deliver them. There are a lot of ways to communicate with clients and prospects. Trying to use all forms can dilute the message and may not accomplish what you want done. The message should initiate action on the part of your target market. It may be to become aware of your services, get to know more about what you can do for them, use your services, and then continue to use your services in the future. A broadcast email may make a number of prospects aware of a service you offer, but a phone call can be used to learn about your prospect’s needs and specifically address those needs.
Another great Quantum2 program. Thanks Liz!