Developing A Relevant Brand Strategy

Brand strategy and the value of 3 approaches to listening.


Within the term brand strategy, the word “strategy” sometimes conjures up military campaigns or sports. It sometimes also sounds like sophisticated theories. And it can be wishful thinking on paper that is not acted upon. And yet, where would most successful companies be without one? In a challenged economy with new competition and customer spending down, it is more important than ever to think and act strategically.

This is the first of a three-part series discussing the elements that help jumpstart a relevant and sustainable brand strategy. Whether you are a business of one, 50 or 5,000, in working with global companies and local businesses, I have learned that relevancy is the key to staying competitive and the path to staying in business. And, it cannot be achieved without listening, responding or acting, and evaluating.

Let’s talk about three approaches to good brand strategy starting with listening:

1.   Listening for Loyalty:

Do you as the leader of your business listen to your customers on a regular basis?

An old saying goes something like this: “A happy customer will tell you they are happy with their wallet, an unhappy customer will tell 10 others.” This is true! Just listen to the conversations at the coffee shop in the morning, even chats between complete strangers!

How many do you hear complaining about a service or a product? What if they were discussing your company?

Would you jump into the conversation and offer to help them or return to the office and tell your customer service leader to fix it?

Putting yourself in the shoes of your customer and offering prompt, sincere assistance can turn an unhappy customer into a loyal customer in seconds. But first, you need to be able to hear complaints regularly, have the stomach for them and develop a consistent approach to building loyalty into your strategy.

2.   Employee Commitment:

Do you listen to your employees and require that they listen to each other?

Employees today have a lot to say and much of it is creative. Find a way for employees to have a meaningful dialogue with you and with each other on a regular basis and really listen. It can help build trust and commitment. Many of their thoughts and suggestions are based on their attempts at sales or service with your clients.

They may not know how to solve objections without your help or they may not solve them in a consistent way.

A regular dialogue with your employees whether face-to-face or electronically will be a win-win for your strategy and for them.

Next- The third approach in brand strategy

Andrea Cotter
Andrea Cotter
Andrea Cotter is the Founder and President of Virgilio & Cotter, LLC where she focuses on Marketing and Communications Strategies specializing in the Health Care industries. She also teaches C-Suite Leadership in her role as an adjunct faculty member at NYU's School of Professional Studies. In addition to her own company, Andrea has had both a corporate and entrepreneurial career in marketing and communications as a Global Executive at IBM Corporation and as SVP and Chief Communications Officer at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), followed by a brand consultancy role at Straightline and a partnership in the workplace culture startup CultureTalk. She speaks several languages, including Spanish, Italian and French has done consulting work with clients in Europe, US and Asia.