Systems offer stability. They provide your business with a set of actions and goals that are both understandable and attainable. Attempting to successfully market a business without a well-outlined system in place is a recipe for disaster. That's why, at Zimmer, we highly recommend our favorite marketing method that has proven to produce results time and time again: The BrandsFormation™ System. The four steps that comprise this system include: Strategy, Strategy-Based Message, Consistency, and Dominant Frequency. Read along as we detail how this system has the power to “transform your good, small business into a great local brand.”
Owning Mental Real Estate
Before we divulge into the workings of The BrandsFormation™ System, you must understand that the primary goal of any local business should be to “own mental real estate.” In order for this to occur, your business must be in the top three rungs on the “Ladder of Competition.” This means that when a consumer thinks of your industry, your business’ name should enter their mind (either 1st, 2nd, or 3rd) as a viable option. For example, when we say, “Pizza,” what companies instantly pop into your head? Determine that your business will secure a spot at the top of the ladder and own substantial mental real estate in your community. When this happens, you will have a significant advantage over the competition.
Step One: Strategy
Spoiler alert: The BrandsFormation™ System will not work for a business who does not spend an adequate amount of time developing its strategy. So, let’s point out the crucial components of a great strategy.
A great strategy is ”something” that makes your business stand out from the rest. It is easy to understand and communicate with others. It is a long-term plan of action, specifically designed to help your business win. Finally, a great strategy is composed of choices that are clear, honest, and simple.
Effective strategy building begins with understanding your business' competition in the marketplace. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Who is already out there? Who currently occupies the top three rungs on the ladder of competition? Is there a market leader that is not us?
- What is our competition doing? Are they strong or weak?
- Is the “Ladder of Competition” open for a new business to come along as an industry leader, or is it already well-saturated with multiple businesses claiming to do similar things? Is there a gap where our business could claim a top place on the ladder?
Businesses must also determine their differentiating idea, then prove it. Ask the following questions to accomplish this:
- What do we do well? Build your reputation around this!
- Why should consumers choose us over the competition? What’s better about us as a whole?
- Who fits our ideal customer profile? How can we reach this person? Don’t try to be all things to all people! Know who you’re marketing to!
- How can we dramatize our “Differentiating Idea?” How can we bring this message to life? What do our products/services do for our customers?
- Can we “own” a single word, or short phrase, in people’s minds?
- How can we cause consumers to rationalize that they need our products/services? Will they feel that they have a legitimate reason to buy from us?
- How can we prove our “Differentiating Idea” to consumers? Will it be through hard data, research, testimonials?
Step Two: Strategy-Based Message
Let’s take things one step further by revealing how a business can drive their carefully developed strategy into the minds of consumers. Before the marketing campaign begins, a business must first find a way to transform its strategy into a powerful and appealing Strategy-Based Message. In this step of The BrandsFormation™ System, businesses should add details and drama to their selling message that will cause future customers to pay attention and act. Having a strategy is imperative, but crafting it in such a way that it speaks to and appeals to prospective clients is key to capturing the interest of consumers.
The goal of any Strategy-Based Message is connection. How will your business use its strategy to connect with and capture the minds of prospective clients? In order to effectively form this connection, your business must first uncover, then spread, its unique story. This story can be revealed by taking an objective look at the passions and values beneath your company’s surface that can sometimes be taken for granted. These foundational ideas bring the distinctiveness of your business to light and will cause potential future customers to make critical, emotional connections with your brand.
Step Three: Consistency
What would be the point of developing an effective strategy-based message, then putting it to waste by refusing to consistently blast this selling message to the public? But, what does consistency in advertising actually look like? The following statements are key indicators that prove that your business’ advertising is reliable and consistent in its marketing efforts. Have you ever heard anyone say these things about your advertisements?
1. “Their message always looks consistent.”
Preserve the same look, feel, and overall branding in your advertising.
2. “Their message always sounds consistent.”
An advertising message’s unique sound is maybe the most crucial element that a business must keep consistent. Did you know that humans retain what they hear much better than they remember what they see? This is why people commonly find themselves humming or singing a business’ radio jingle long after it has played on the radio. Because of this, each selling message should be surrounded by consistent music, voices, tones, inflections, and even key words.
3. “Their message is always playing on this same advertising medium.”
Businesses commonly make the mistake of feeling the need to spread their message across multiple channels and apply the “a little here and a little there” method. In order to dominate one marketing medium, all of your resources should be focused on one cup. Only when that cup is filled to the brim with your business’ consistent message is it acceptable to branch out to other marketing mediums. Think about it this way: Would you rather reach 100% of the population 10% of the time, or reach 10% of the population 100% of the time?
4. “I’ve been hearing their message for as long as I can remember.”
A business must be fully dedicated to consistently hammering away at their message in order to cause it to stick in consumers’ minds. But, in order to get it to stick with others, your business must stick to the system and execute every aspect in a consistent manner. According to Chuck Mefford, “Anything less than years in duration isn’t branding” (“BrandsFormation™,” 78).
Step Four: Dominant Frequency
In order to fully recognize the importance of dominant frequency in your business’ marketing, it is crucial to understand the principle of filling up a single cup. A cup is a metaphorical representation of an advertising medium. For instance, one station on the radio would equal one cup. If your business wants to experience the full benefits of The BrandsFormation™ System, it is best to choose one cup, fill that cup up with your business’ message, then measure the ROI. Only when this first advertising medium has successfully proven its worth should your business add another medium (or cup) to its marketing strategy.
Mefford states it this way: “It’s better to dominate a single cup, where you can pound away with your message against the same group of people and thoroughly capture mindshare, than to spread yourself over 7 or 8 cups and have no dominance to show for it”(“BrandsFormation™,” 68). When it comes to your business’ advertising strategy, do not be tempted to “spray” a little of your message across multiple marketing mediums, then pray that it is effective. Pick one cup and dare to dominate! Even a business with a limited marketing budget still has the ability to dominate one cup.
You Don't Have To Be A Marketing Expert!
While the thought of stepping out and marketing your business can seem intimidating at first, it is important to remember that The BrandsFormation™ System works for first-timers and marketing experts alike. Business owners are, in no way, required to be all-knowing advertising gurus in order to see their companies succeed. All that is needed is commitment.
Businesses must commit to developing their marketing strategy, crafting this strategy into their unique strategy-based message, then consistently blasting this message across their marketing medium which they have decided to dominate. Committing to execute The BrandsFormation™ System by consistently sharing your business’ stand-out story will cause consumers to want to be a part of the story themselves. Determine to dominate your market with your business’ message today!