The following interview was held between CEO Jaymie Scotto Cutaia and JSA’s Executive Vice President of Strategy & Global Markets Barb Mitchell to develop our latest article featured in the Forbes Agency Council. To read “Why Your Company Needs to Establish a Brand Position Now!”, click here.
Jaymie: Let’s start off simply: How can you tell when your company doesn’t have a very clearly-defined brand or brand positioning?
Barb: So, most employees at any given company can give you the same answer when they explain what their company offers, including the services they provide or products they sell. But, when you get into brand values, stakeholders will start giving you varied answers. Ask a cross-functional group of team members from marketing, sales, product, finance and R&D to define the brand position, and you are likely to get extremely varied responses. Even further, customers and prospects might give even more varied responses. The goal is to have all of these groups, both internal and external, give the same answer. That is a clear brand position.
Jaymie: So how should a company go about defining that brand positioning?
Barb: The whole process will take a good bit of work and reflection, but I typically recommend companies start by considering the following questions: what does your company stand for, what product or service is your big differentiator, what values do your employees embody and what are the commonly-held beliefs?
Based on those questions you can see that your company’s brand positioning should be the way that you want your customers to think of your business – almost a piece of their mind that you “own”. Once you can determine it, the brand position will inspire and direct all brand communications and messaging, both internal and external. And remember – if you don’t determine your position, someone else will do it for you: your customers, the industry, or worst of all, your competitors – and you may not like it!
Jaymie: And then how does defining this positioning help with other marketing functions?
Barb: You have to remember that when customers see your company, they don’t see all of the different departments, they only see your company as a whole. So your marketing communications need to act like a glue to bring all different aspects of your company together to convey a holistic view of what you do and why you do it. Oftentimes there’s a gap between what your internal team knows about your company and what customers perceive, and that’s why you need to have a really clearly-defined idea of your brand function. If you have that ironed out, it will inform most of your marketing efforts and help you fill in that gap.