Find Your Competitive Edge
January 04, 2013
Your brand strategy should be focused on the answer to a simple question: Why do our customers choose to do business with us?
The second question is: Why do they stay with us?
In a land of free choice customers have many alternatives—meaning every enterprise has considerable competition. After a career in the branding business, I’m always surprised most organizations don’t really know why they have been chosen by customers. Think about your business. What do your repeat customers really think about your products and service?
Finding the answers to these questions has been the starting point of the brand development process for Martin Partners since we started thirteen years ago. There is an art to phrasing the questions so that the answers we get are true and not influenced by the questions themselves. Over those years we have perfected the process, learned by doing, and simplified. Now we find the core strategic promise with minimum fuss and bother. Rapid and pervasive communication capability via the internet has helped bring down the cost of this phase one of the process, which we call Discovery.
Our recent brand development work for colleges demonstrates how fascinating it is that a competitive edge can differ so much for similar organizations:
- A liberal arts college with strong religious roots was found to appeal strongly to those who desire close-knit relationships where classmates like and interact with each other providing an almost home-away-from-home environment; and each member of the faculty and administration takes a personal interest in the success of each student.
- Another coed liberal arts college found a difference centered upon interaction between professors and students in the pursuit of answers—a real and important factor found to be very important to those who seek greater proficiency and knowledge through healthy and respectful give-and-take.
- A community college innovates with a changing curriculum that could remain in tune with the needs of prospective-area employers, making it, in effect, the “opportunity” college.
- Finally, a single-sex college had become famous with faculty, alumni, and guidance counselors for its honor system and it emphasis on graduating well-educated students with a strong sense of honor and human values.
Each college now projects its own distinctive value proposition to motivate prospective students, their parents, and counselors.
In phase two of the Branding Process, Martin Partners translates findings like these into a Brand Position and a Brand Brief. The Brand Proposition is presented to all employees so they can do their part in delivering on the promise. The Brand Brief guides the creation of external promotion including the overall theme and a variety of client tactical marketing initiatives. These often range from web sites, to landing pages and social media messages, to ads and capability brochures, graphic standards and brandmarks, videos and speeches. Copy points uncovered in phase one are used in rank-order for their persuasive importance to various target groups.
David N. Martin is founder of The Martin Agency, last year ranked first nationally in the advertising industry. He is the author of Romancing the Brand and Be the Brand and since starting Martin Partners has helped dozens of companies and non-profits define and develop a competitive edge.
Gallium Technologies and Farm Bureau win branding awards
May 20, 2009
A logo design for Martin Branding Worldwide client, Gallium Technologies has been recognized in American Graphic Design & Advertising 25 (AGDA). AGDA receives tens of thousands of submissions each year for it’s premier showcase of the best graphic design and advertising in America.
Additionally Farm Bureau’s recent branding materials were selected for the showcase. A gamut of materials including corporate identity, graphic standards, brochures, outdoor advertising, and print and TV advertising was chosen in the category of integrated branding systems. This category is juried for creativity and consistent execution of brand materials and is the most challenging and competitive category in the showcase.
For more details on Farm Bureau’s award, see press release.
Logos for three Martin Partners clients awarded in American Corporate Identity 24 competition
December 01, 2008
Corporate Identity designs for Martin Partners clients, Hoover & Strong, Lighthouse Diner and Quibica/AMF have been selected to appear in American Corporate Identity 24. David E. Carter, noted authority on logo design and corporate identity, founded American Corporate Identity in the early 1980s. Today the publication is a highly-respected showcase for the very best graphic design & print advertising in the United States. An annual design competition, with a corresponding book highlighting the competition winners, American Corporate Identity is a mainstay for designers who want to keep current with contemporary American design and corporate identity.
Logos for BluTiger and Lighthouse Diner to be featured in LogoLounge Volume 5
November 01, 2008
Two logos designed by Martin Branding Worldwide were selected for publication in the book, LogoLounge, the most competitive logo publication series in the industry. Over 33,000 logos were entered for consideration in this volume. Work was chosen for inclusion in the new book by an international panel of judges. This years panel included, Andreas Karl of Karl Design, Von Glitschka of Glitschka Studios, Michelle Sonderegger of Design Ranch, Sarah Moffat of Turner Duckworth, Jamie Koval of VSA Partners, Vince Frost of Frost Design, Bronwen Rautenbach of The Brand Union, and Alex de Janosi of Lippincott,