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How to Create Your Marketing Plan in 10 Easy Steps. Step #4: Articulating Your Brand

How to articulate your brand upfront so that you come out of the gate with a clear and consistent brand message and identity.

We have now covered three of the simple steps for creating your marketing plan: Step #1: Create a Unique Selling Proposition, Step #2: Don’t Put the Cart Before the Horse which addresses the logical sequence of events in the planning process and #3: Establish Your Sweet Spot which revolves around your defining your target audience.

Now let’s take a look at the various elements that you will want to consider as you fully articulate what your brand is all about:

-Positioning: how are you positioning yourself in the marketplace to make your brand relevant?  What does your brand stand for?  This will hark back to Step #1 and your Unique Selling Proposition.

-Key marketing messages—based on your positioning statement, what are the quick sound bytes that telegraph what is proprietary and relevant about your brand?  Once you establish your messaging, you should use it consistently to build recognition through reinforcement.

-Brand Name: the perfect name that telegraphs what your brand is about and is unique and memorable is, of course, a given.  Other points to consider are searching the domain name to see if it is taken by another brand.  (Ideally, you want to be able to be found easily online.)  Once you have the name, think about whether you want to invest in trademarking it.  You may also want to create a tagline to “pay off” your name (Nike-Just do it.)

-Brand Personality—like a person, your brand has a personality.  This should reflect your positioning and who you are targeting. If you are trying to reach a high-end consumer, you will want your brand personality to communicate prestige and have cachet.  If you are reaching a younger, hipper consumer-you may want to be more irreverent.  Think about the language and tone of an ad for a Mercedes versus an iPhone.

-Brand Identity- you will want to think about your brand identity—which is more than just your logo.  The colors, fonts and icons associated with your brand should shake out of your logo and support your brand positioning and telegraph your brand personality.  They should be used 100% of the time to create cohesion.

-Emotional Resonance-when you begin to work on your brand and your Unique Selling Proposition, most likely you are going to think about all of the features and benefits that will make your brand special.  But there is a piece of the brand positioning that is usually overlooked-- one of your most important branding exercises is to foster emotional resonance.

What does this mean exactly?

The real motivation for someone to use or purchase your brand has to do with the feeling that your brand generates. You can even think about something as simple as your daily trip to Starbucks.  If you need a cup of coffee, you can easily make a cup of coffee in your own kitchen to fulfill your need.  But there is an emotional reason why you will get into your car and drive to Starbucks to pay $5 for a latte.  It’s about the feeling—the atmosphere at the store, the barista who knows your name and your drink order.  There is an emotional connection.

All of these pieces are key to articulating your brand.  It is important to do this work upfront so that you come out of the gate with a clear brand message and identity that will stay consistent at every touch point with your target audience.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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