New business ventures and brand marketing (rant #1)

on Saturday, October 03, 2009

Picture via: http://www.startagardeningbusiness.co.uk

At 3 Monkeys No Banana we are often approached by small start-ups wanting marketing/branding advice and direction, which of course if fine. However what we seem to find is that we are undertaking a lot more than simply brand strategy, it turns into business strategy. A lot of businesses come to us with business problems and try to answer these through branding. Of course you can't solve an underlying business problem through brand strategy.

The most common problem for this seems to be the lack of understanding of the customer’s needs, they have a product or service yet know little in terms of how this is any different then an existing offering or how their particular product/service can fulfil a customers need, whether that be functional or emotional. It can be frustrating at times especially when the owner of the business doesn't see a need to carry out research or feels he/she knows enough through assumptions.

Every business should start by identifying its markets, primary and secondary. Finding out how their product benefits them, what their customers want, need, fear, live and breathe. I can’t see how you can start a business venture without having a deep understanding of who your customers are!

As marketers the first hurdle for us is convincing the client that simply creating a nice logo, print ad and slogan won't sell the product. One of the things we try to do is help them understand their value proposition and then devise and deliver a more defined and measurable strategy along with understanding their market, customers and innovative marketing techniques.

The worst thing, well most frustrating is when they have worked with "marketing" people before who are nothing more than bedroom graphic designers. The clients have the ideology that producing a few pieces of marketing literature that simply communicate the product and its features will gain sales and brand loyalty. Strategy defines your communications not creative. It takes a lot sometimes to drive this message home to business owners.

Ok, rant over.