Step 6: evaluate and adjust when necessary

The route to a strong brand in six steps, it’s possible. The other steps are explained in previous blogs:

Introduction: building your brand successfully

Step 1: building a brand promise

Step 2: winning externally, starting internally

Step 3: know your (potential) customer

Step 4: create a constistent content strategy

Step 5: build brand supporting campaigns

All the above steps must contribute constantly to the construction of the lovemark. One wrong step and it will be destroyed. That is why it is important to keep evaluating and adjusting the steps, separately and in connection with each other. Building a strong brand is a continuous process. A brand needs to be maintained and requires small, sometimes large adjustments. To move with time, without losing recognizability.

It also helps enormously in steering on results rather than opinions. It is not so much about what internal opinions are, as about how the market responds to them. Take a company like Coolblue. They measure everything, and based on that, they make decisions, develop new products, design new campaigns, etcetera. Evaluations are crucial here. Per campaign, per quarter, even per week.

By creating a clear business plan with clear actions with a clear dashboard, you can measure the achievement of the goals. So, don’t do the things just to do them, but do the right things. Things that will help you to achieve the goals that are set.

Marketing is a wonderful profession. Especially because it gives you room to play. Nothing is set in stone. You can come up with lots of things, but ultimately the market determines. And if you have read this white paper really well, you know that I think that your entire business should be fluid, with a very clear dot on the horizon. And only by measuring, you will learn if the dot gets closer.

Go do more of the things that work, and stop doing things that do not work. In this way, you will be working efficiently on costs and time. The foundation of your company is solid as a rock, thanks to the brand promise and that becomes the starting point for doing business. Let the market lead. Provided you stay with your own story and proposition. By segmenting you can also measure more easily whether you are progressing or not. Tackle things per target group, and conquer the market one piece at a time.

The steps to properly evaluate:
Step 1) Make a baseline measurement of existing activities
Step 2) Create a marketing or campaign plan with clear KPIs and objectives
Step 3) Include  how you want to achieve objectives realistically
Step 4) What budget do you propose?
Step 5) Set your evaluation moments
Step 6) Set up your measuring instruments – how do you measure it?
Step 7) Monitor your measuring instruments and create reports
Step 8) Evaluate with the correct stakeholders
Step 9) Adjust when necessary

To really complete a circle. To really know whether an activity has contributed to building a lovemark or to achieving the objective of a campaign, you will have to measure on soft and hard measurement indicators. That really sets you off on the road to success as an organisation.

Step 5: build brand supporting campaigns

The route to a strong brand in six steps, it’s possible. The other steps are explained in previous blogs:

Introduction: building your brand successfully

Step 1: building a brand promise

Step 2: winning externally, starting internally

Step 3: know your (potential) customer

Step 4: create a constistent content strategy

What I often see with large, but certainly also with smaller companies, is that campaigns are like loose sand. It would be much better, within the framework of building a strong brand, if campaigns were brand supporting and form part of the branding. It becomes even more complicated if there is no build-up for the campaign flow, and activities are carried out separately, for a quick fix. As far as I am concerned, this is a mortal sin if the goal is to become a lovemark. I will tell you more about this in my sixth blog article, along with how to build a results-oriented campaign and achieve short-term success while working on creating a strong brand.

What is the difference between branding and campaigns? Brand Management, branding, what do these terms really mean? To explain this from a larger perspective, I started googling. And then I came across this piece of information with a bit of interesting history behind it:

‘The name branding originates from the branding of cattle to show who owns the animal in question. At the beginning of the 19th century, the industrial revolution started, and mass production began. This meant that it was necessary to place the products produced under a single brand name, a’ brand’. As consumption increased and more and more different brands developed, a brand name alone was no longer sufficient to distinguish yourself from another brand.’

Branding nowadays goes much further than just a name or logo. The customer must feel connected, the brand must create a certain feeling. What is the story behind the brand? At Anceaux Marketing, we call this a Brand Promise. And compliance with the promises that are made is part of the branding. In the first step, ‘Make a brand promise’ we paid attention to this topic.

We will now discuss the campaign part. What are campaigns? A marketing campaign is a series of actions, performed over a period of time, at a fixed schedule or at alternating moments in time, through different channels, to generate as much attention as possible for an organisation, product or service in a short period of time. They can also be used to pay extra attention to a (difficult) target group, and can be communicated through various media. Paid and unpaid. The campaign is segmented, based on target groups. Where branding aims to achieve the largest possible mass, campaigns try to tell a specific, more precise story to a selected group. This can be done online, offline or through transmedia storytelling. This can also be more sales-oriented, think – for example – of a webshop.

For campaigns, we use the following model, like a funnel that you apply in order to reach your ideal customer. At all times, you want this to be part of or keep in line with the umbrella framework, the brand promise. A good example where this has not been done is Redbull, for example.

In the eighties, Dietrich Mateschitz and Thai entrepreneur Chaloe Yoovidhya introduced a whole new product. They found their inspiration in the Far East. It was an existing drink, sold in Thailand under the name ‘Krating Daeng’, which literally means ‘Red Bull’ in Thai. Mateschitz experienced a serious jetlag after a long flight; he concluded that Krating Daeng helped, and decided to introduce the project in Europe under the literally translated name ‘Red Bull’. They selected two tough bulls as logo. However, everyone knows the slogan ‘Red Bull gives you wings”, probably conceived by an advertising agency. They use cartoon-like images, and to be honest, the story is not even true.

The slogan “Red Bull gives you wings” creates an alleged stimulating effect. However, a survey among students showed that Red Bull had no influence whatsoever on concentration capacity or cognitive performance. According to various studies, Red Bull also has little or no influence on sports performance. One study did find an effect: Red Bull can keep drivers awake during long car trips. This effect is probably entirely due to the presence and effect of caffeine.

So, although this has been and still is an extremely successful campaign, and has given Red Bull it’s worldwide name and reputation, I personally find it regrettable that the campaign has gotten disconnected from the real story. For me, it feels like a promotional trick; it doesn’t feel authentic.

I truly believe that you can build even more beautiful and subsequently more successful campaigns from real stories. My advice would be: create a connection between your campaign and your story, so you can build your brand identity at all times.

Step 4: create a consistent content strategy

The route to a strong brand in six steps, it’s possible. The other steps are explained in previous blogs:

Introduction: building your brand successfully

Step 1: building a brand promise

Step 2: winning externally, starting internally

Step 3: know your (potential) customer

The next step is to create a content strategy that tells the story in images and text. Every company has a corporate identity. And what you want is for the image to tell the story of the organisation’s identity. I work together with an excellent brand design agency that has developed a methodology aimed at design based on core values and brand promise. And that is magical.

This way, the corporate image tells the story through all the expressions you make, strengthening your message. On the website, business cards, social media, etc. But you need more than a clear corporate image. You want to put out a consistent message that always supports the story. The story starts with the Brand Promise (the WHY) (link), but there is probably plenty to tell about the WHAT and the HOW. Think for example of the products or services that are offered. And that’s why you want to address the people you want to reach.

The marketing sales funnel is structured as follows:

At the top of the funnel we see branding. Branding is the continuous bringing your (general) story to the attention. Here you can clearly demonstrate the WHY – WHAT – HOW of your company, in the form of ‘storytelling’. This will increase your brand awareness and network, and pull people towards you, like a magnet.

You can also use campaigns that drive certain components, such as an event you organise, a temporary offer, or a specific target group-focused campaign. You use this to work towards an action.

And the final part is the sales part, the actual conversion from lead to customer. There are diverse ways to achieve this. Personally, I strongly believe in doing business building on lukewarm/hot leads. Cold calling is something that is increasingly disappearing into the background.

Load your mission
To create a clear positioning, I am a huge fan of the inside-to-outside concept. It starts with the people within the organisation (link). They make the organisation, not the other way around. In large organisations, these are often the founders. But a department manager and an employee are also crucial. Everyone participates to fulfil the promise of an organisation on a daily basis. As far as I am concerned, therefore, it is not the customer nor the competitor who decides which spot the organisation occupies, but rather the people within the organisation itself. I believe in abundance. There is enough market, money, etc. for everyone. So, tell your story and attract people who recognize or believe in it. This way you will serve the ideal customer. This is the story you create in step 1, the Brand Promise (link). In this story, you clarify the WHY.

The WHY is the starting point of the story. Just by loading, explaining and constantly emphasizing the mission, you’ll take people along on your path. I also know of a company that has created a blog/vlog frame work based on the core values. The company uses these channels to get the story across.

What you often see in large companies is that there is a gap between branding and campaigns, in which the campaign messages do not strengthen or support the big story. As far as I am concerned, that is a missed opportunity. Campaigns are aimed at taking action for a specific target group, and these must always support the big message. When we create campaigns for companies, we always take this into account.

Sales also must tell the same story. Soft sales, for example an event, must contribute to the overall story, in image, language and subject. This way you create a snowball effect, and that’s what you want. Recognition increases brand awareness, grows networks, and seriously empowers the impact. Conducting good marketing and business is like building with blocks on a solid foundation.
Look carefully at what works and doesn’t work, and stop doing the latter. And give your all to what does work, making sure there is a head and a tail to work with. A story always has a beginning and an end. Finish it and do not leave any opportunities unused. Better to do one activity very well than several ones half-way.




Step 3: know your (potential) customer

The route to a strong brand in six steps, it’s possible. The other steps are explained in previous blogs:

Introduction: building your brand successfully

Step 1: building a brand promise

Step 2: winning externally, starting internally


What the organisation stands for is now clear, just as your product or service is. And you also know who you’re doing it for. In short, the brand promise exists. Now is the time to get to know your customer even better. It should be self-evident that this step is crucial. You can use of customer analysis and market research. In this blog, I focus explicitly on customer analysis.

My message is: know your customer. Put yourself in their shoes and dare to choose. The more you connect with these people’s experiences, the more they’ll feel at home with your company or organisation. It sounds logical, of course, but in practice, it still appears hard to appeal to a mass audience, and to make a connection at an individual level at the same time.

“Why conduct a customer analysis? Everyone can be a customer.”
You’ll regularly hear business people saying: “Anybody can be my customer.” And that may indeed be true. But to perform focused marketing and sales, it’s good to pinpoint who fits with you. You might even discover that you don’t want everyone to be your customer. These days, customers are a large part of your brand, thanks to digitisation. Positive customer experience was always extremely important, but now it’s crucial, since people communicate with others in massive online communication about brands and their experiences. And the customer who matches with the core values of a company will be more likely to be a satisfied customer.

There are various marketing layers. A large general message for loading a brand and for reaching as many people as possible who feel attracted to the proposition. You can then take the first step deeper, namely: core messages. These are messages that you link to the core values of your organisation and to the target groups you want to reach. This allows you to zoom in on the needs of specific target groups.

I use the case of the “Jouw Marktkraam” retail format as an example – a company for which Anceaux Marketing was able to create the brand promise with the rollout to external marketing communications.

General message
Jouw Marktkraam – for all of the Netherlands

Jouw Marktkraam is a franchise chain with more than 35 stores in the Netherlands, where you can buy and sell. You can rent a stall and we’ll sell your vintage, homemade or brand-new stuff!

Core message
“Do you w
ant to give something back to your community? And do you have nice things you don’t want to throw out? If so, Jouw Marktkraam is something for you. Set up your own stall with a personal touch. The people in the store are glad to help you calling attention to your things. Make someone else happy with the things you no longer use. Help society by being social. “Jouw Marktkraam, for you and all of the Netherlands.”

This core message is linked to the core value “society” and the target group “tenant”. Tenants who can adopt this and other core messages can quickly become the desired ambassadors of the brand.

To create truly effective messages, you have to dive deeper into the experiences of the conversational partner with whom you wish to conduct a dialogue. Below is a list of various tools with which you can elaborate the customer profile.

Which tools are available to perform the customer analysis?

  • Analytics
  • Research – quantitative and qualitative
  • Customer journey
  • Building personas

I explain the various components briefly below.

This refers to all types of data (figures) that you can collect about the target group and (potential) customer. Much of this is about figures that you can observe in-house. There is already a considerable amount of data, especially at companies or organisations that have been active for some time. My recommendation would be to make very clear what you want to know, and why. What can you do with that data? You’ll often see that data gets collected simply because it can be collected. But then we don’t know what to do with it. It’s also possible to drown in numbers, and to forget the people behind them. But it’s a fact that figures can be very handy.

For example:

  • Web analysis
  • Social media data
  • Demographic data

Concrete examples of the insights that this data can provide: the scope of the target group, the size of the market, whether you’re reaching your target audience, and where additional profits can be made, for example. It’s also very helpful to formulate objectives as KPIs, allowing a more focused approach of your goal.

Research can be qualitative or quantitative. Quantitative research is objective and focuses on numbers, or numerical data. Online monitoring is one example, and it is closely linked to analytics, as described above. Other examples include experimental research, secondary analyses and survey research.

The qualitative part is focused on determining what moves your target group, and why. This type of research provides deeper information by focusing on the target group’s underlying motivation, opinions, desires and wishes. It focuses on the “why” of prevailing opinions and certain behaviours. Neuromarketing is an increasingly important part of this.

My recommendation would be to test this with a customer panel when starting a new product or company. They can provide considerable input that will be of enormous assistance in pinpointing where the needs and expectations truly lie and clarifying your message in this regard. Often, it’s all about language.

We’re currently working on a project called ‘De Polderij’, a meeting location in the middle of a natural setting, with a unique proposition that highlights an accent for each target group. We have clarified this, and we’re going to test it with a real customer panel representing all the target groups. Presumptions are all fine and well, but are they right?

Customer Journey mapping
Customer journey mapping visualises how a customer interacts with the company during the course of purchasing and being a customer. We call it mapping because we visualise the journey along all of the contact moments and all possible channels. This process ranges from the moment that the new customer signs a contract up until the moment that that person/the customer becomes an ambassador of your company, or until the moment that the customer leaves. A customer journey map provides insight into possibilities for improving the customer experience.

You can also create a clear customer journey, based on the brand promise, before you launch a brand into the market. What does your brand promise? And how are its features linked to this, for example? Or to the process? In order to have the brand promise come truly alive, it must be implemented in every fibre of the organisation. A customer journey can be extremely helpful in determining how this aligns with the customer experience.

A fine case in this regard was the interactive platform for Someone (a recruitment and selection agency for online professionals). They wanted to create an ambition platform that links the ambitions of the online professional with those of the employer. By using the brand promise as a core, and linking this to the customer journey, it quickly became clear what the platform needed to realise its brand promise.

Interaction design gemaakt door Colours

Building personas
A persona is an archetypal user, or a characterisation of a particular type of user. Personas are drawn up based on target group research, leading to the definition of a limited number of typical users. These users don’t really exist, but are indeed described as such (for purposes of the effectiveness of the use of personas). This means that a persona is described in terms of demographics, needs, biography and preferences, among other things. In some cases, the personas are linked to pictures, putting a real face on the persona. This way, when designing the user interface (a website, e.g.), the designer can take into account the most likely way a potential customer would use the website.

Personas are terrific tools for giving customers a face and making them tangible. You get closer to the customer – literally. Personally, I always like to use these for gaining insight into certain processes from the customer standpoint. To literally give the customer a face for everyone within the organisation. Because even though everyone may not have direct contact with the customer, everyone is nonetheless ultimately involved in customer service, even if indirectly.

At Jouw Marktkraam, we have built clear personas that aligned with the three target groups: the buyer, the tenant and the franchisee. This was a great help in making it clear to the internal organisation (the franchisees and their personnel) who they’re working for. To gain more empathy and to make choices based on this together with the brand promise.

Inside out
My recommendation is always to start on the inside, working towards the outside. And not to start with a customer and/or competitor analysis. Why not? Because you’ll then go looking breathlessly and rashly for that proverbial market opportunity. This is often forced, and one possible consequence is that you won’t be credible.

I’m well aware that this is just the tip of the iceberg, but it does help getting a clear picture of who your customer is, which is crucial if your goal is making your customer feel at home. And ensuring that the translation of your brand promise into external communication is in alignment. I would love to hear what you think.

Step 2: winning externally, starting internally

Welcome to my third blog of a seven-part series, in which I explain how to build a strong brand, a lovemark, step-by-step. This blog is about the second step, the internal implementation of your brand strategy, the brand promise. In the second blog of this series, I told you all about what a brand promise is en how you can build this.

Include your employees
Once the brand promise has been made clear, it is of the utmost importance to implement the brand promise in all levels of the organisation. This means that you must inspire your employees to make an effective contribution to fulfilling the brand promise. Clearing the way to become and remain a strong brand as an organisation. It is stated that only 20% of the brand experience comes from marketing and communication, and 80% from behaviour. So: to win externally, you must start internally. This applies to all organisations – small and large. For larger organisations, this becomes more complex, and a correct approach is crucial.

Discussion point
When you talk to HRM professionals, they all have different ideas about the best way to start. One says: “formulate your mission, vision and goals together with your people.” This way, it comes from the people and is supported automatically. Others do what management instructs them to do, sending out some papers, throwing it on the intranet and leaving the communication department to deal with the rest. In fact, both ways are not very efficient. In both ways, the intended goal is okay, but the road to achieve it is a bit more complex.

Below I will explain what, in my modest opinion, works best in all types of organisations. And no, I did not study for it, but I did talk to various experts and gained a great deal of experience within large and small organisations where this problem occurred. In other words, the research is good.

One approach can be…
With all due respect, it is not always in the best interest of the organisation to have (all) employees think about the fundamentals. And in practical terms, as a large organisation, it is very difficult to involve everyone in this process. And yet, you still want participation, solidarity. I believe that this can be achieved in the following ways.

1) Selecting the right team for the brand promise. As management, look critically at the team you want to put together. The most powerful brand promise is one that is built on a solid internal base, focusing outwards, making sure it is understood by external parties with the right profile. The promise must also come across as being authentic and achievable. Read more about it in my blog about building a brand promise.

2) Presenting the brand promise on a large scale to the entire organisation and allowing every employee to work on it by looking at his or her own individual role and what he or she can contribute to the realisation of the brand promise. This can be done in groups led by a manager or an independent person (sometimes better because a manager has his own interests that can be an obstacle) in larger organisations. In small organisations, with shorter lines of communication, the management is much more closely involved. However, it is still smart to present it properly, preferably with possibilities for interaction.

3) Letting the employee think carefully about what he or she needs to deliver outstanding performances and offering the tools that are needed to do so. Offer training when necessary. Keep in mind that the training sessions should deliver the same message and contribute to the brand promise, and not drifting in a complete opposite direction.

4) Including the brand performance in the performance cycle, such as POP, performance and assessment interviews. Let people think about what their role should be and what goals are linked to it, to build, achieve and deliver on the brand promise. When you instil a certain pride, this often happens naturally.

5) Organising follow-up and reflection days. Make the process interactive. Listen to the problems that are being put on the table and come up with targeted solutions.

6) Nothing is cast in stone, so stay alert and redirect the aim where necessary.

Some practical tips to encourage people to share more externally in the right way:

7) Facilitating social media and communication channels, creating a natural use of these options. If people are motivated enough, they will not be fussy about the balance between work and private time. Allow them to do personal things at work and encourage them to post work related items in evening or at weekends.

8) Sending people a weekly inspirational PR email with content they can share with their business network (both interesting news about the field of expertise and the organisation’s PR messages).

Employees are your signpost
Your employees are your ambassadors, your signpost. Take them seriously. They move among the target group. On social media, with customers, on birthdays. If they are proud of the company they work for, this is one of the most powerful promotional opportunities available. The same applies to customers who are very happy with the way they are served. Proud employees are the best employees. Pride is helped by giving direction. Set clear goals together and mark a dot on the horizon you’re working towards. As an employee, you want to matter. And, very important, you need to recruit the right people! By this, I mean making sure to attract people with the same core values as the organisation. This means the puzzle will be completed by itself. You need to throw out any bad apples. People who don’t want to be part of the company and don’t carry the brand promise, only end up damaging it, even if they are very good at their work.

Contact us for more information. Anceaux Marketing cooperates with the best professionals, who can supervise internal processes like the above.

The next blog in this series is about the third step towards a strong brand: developing a good customer analysis. Stay tuned!

Step 1: building a brand promise

Welcome to my second blog of a seven-part series, in which I explain how to build a strong brand, a lovemark, step-by-step. Missed the first one? No problem. You can read it here at “Building your brand successfully”. After my introduction, I’ll now reveal what is at the basis of it all: the brand promise.

Start with the foundation
When customers come to me, they want to see action right away. And I understand that. Anceaux Marketing deals with ambitious start-ups that want to hit the ground running. Or existing companies that are wrestling with achieving their goals. They don’t have a long time to wait for success.

But still. If you want to build a strong brand, you can’t do it flippantly. Sure, we can build a rapid campaign and achieve short-term success, but when I explain that you can achieve more sales, growth and continuity with the proper steps, customers usually sit up and take notice immediately. This blog deals with the first step on the way towards a strong brand: building a brand promise. The foundation of the company.

Simon Sinek – WHY
Simon Sinek has discovered why one company is more successful than the next, and speaks often about this. Take Apple, for example. Why is Apple so innovative? Year after year? What do they do differently from their competitors (of which they certainly have plenty)? Sinek kept coming back to the same findings: inspirational leaders and organisations all communicate in the same manner, and it’s exactly the opposite of what others do. Often, only the ‘WHAT’ and the ‘HOW’ are communicated. What an organisation does is easy. Some of them also know how they do it, and use that piece of information to add value. But the ‘WHY’? Not much thought is given to this, and it’s rarely discussed. And it’s precisely the ‘WHY’ that makes a lovemark. That is the key to success.

Watch Simon Sinek’s film and get inspired; he tells the story like no other:

Brand promise model
Organisations that make their reason for existing clear are the exception to the rule. I have developed a model that aligns with the Simon Sinek method, but I’ve added a dimension, let’s call it a ‘ring’, to it –  the ‘WHO’. Who is the target group for your company? My model can be illustrated as follows:

To elaborate this model properly, we must start at the internal organisation. We are not using the standpoint of the target group or of competitors as our basis. I truly believe this, and many marketing professionals probably don’t agree with me. But it starts with the organisation and its reason for existence. The foundation is internal. Communication can only become authentic and convincing if the foundation is solid.

Most of my professional colleagues first look at external factors. The big pitfall there is that the story to the outside world is adapted entirely to what marketeers/communications people think that people want to hear. It becomes forced and doesn’t resonate, since it’s not real. Often, there’s also no buy-in internally either. How could there be?

The same goes for companies that focus intently on competitors. By so doing, they force themselves into a particular position. I don’t believe in this. There’s enough for everyone. Enough money, enough love and enough market. So, my recommendation would be: don’t focus too much on others, but base yourself on your own power as an organisation and highlight your strengths and reason for existence. Focus on the ‘WHY’.

As the illustration reflects, the elements of the brand promise are closely linked to each other. The mission is the foundation on which the rest is built.

Step-by-step through the model
I often organise brainstorming sessions with organisations, to make this model clear. And each time I’m surprised by how much inspiration and energy is released when thinking about the various steps. By the way, this applies not only to entire organisations or companies, but it can also be used for a department (for better positioning or better results), a person (personal branding) or for a (new) product. Let’s go through the most important steps.

Companies that have a mission are demonstrably more successful.

Missions come in all sizes and colours. Long, short… Forceful, ethereal… Concrete and visionary. As you can see, the organisation’s mission is the basis for the Anceaux Marketing brand promise model. So, this must guide everything that the organisation stands for. It’s a compass. It must reveal a company’s purpose on earth. Both what it does, and why it does that. As a point of departure from which all major marketing decisions – and actually all company decisions – are made. So, in addition to providing a decision-making framework, a good mission also provides focus for employees – where are we headed and what is our role in this? Important: a mission must not only be understandable internally, but must also be appealing to the outside.

Personally, I find the mission of “365 days successful” a wonderful example. Their mission is to make the Netherlands the happiest country in the world by 2020. This really eggs people on to want to know more about this. How are they going to do that? The press was all over this as well. The company is now making millions and they’re still working on this mission.

A mission is a long-term item: it need not be achieved tomorrow. The mission takes shape because of the rings around it.

Core values
The core values are a company’s most important basic values. These show what the organisation considers valuable. Naturally, the core values align with the mission and they underpin the organisational culture. In this manner, they play a role in “keeping people on the same page”. But they also play a role in daily marketing and company decisions. Which products do you launch, how, and which customers match this profile? Is “integrity” one of the core values? If so, the organisation shouldn’t act in an aggressive manner, saddling customers up with worthless paper, for example. Well-chosen core values quickly make clear what a company stands for. For employees and potential employees, but also for customers and potential customers.

Our recommendation is to select no more than five core values Focus = key.

To truly capture a company’s identity in core values, it’s important that these are shared by all of the employees. Otherwise, you’ll end up simply announcing it at the front door, without translating it into activities, ICT and human interaction. These become empty words. A company is not a logo. It has a face, thanks to the people within that company. Take them along in the story and select them on the basis of this.

No other organisation on earth has exactly the same mission as yours. You’d have to look really hard to find a perfect clone with exactly the same core values. In brief, this is how an organisation distinguishes itself from the rest of the market. But what is it precisely that a customer gets? A customer doesn’t purchase a mission or core values. The customer purchases a product or a service. And what makes that product or service truly stand out from the competitor’s offering? In other words, what is the specialism?

It’s incredibly important to have a clear vision of this. In our highly developed economy with its intense competition, everyone is tending toward niche markets. So, is your organisation a one-size-fits-all? If so, you’re history. it’s important to recognise the specialism and to make this known: clarify it as necessary and use it to convince (potential) customers.

Target groups
Target groups are specific groups of people that an organisation wishes to reach with a particular offering. Generally, companies have multiple target groups, instead of a single target group; these can often be distinguished by age, gender, spending pattern or level of education, for example. By focusing on this, you can approach target groups in a segmented fashion, with your message written in their “language” and with the image appropriate to this.

The target group is also determinant for your choice of channel. This is vitally important – and it would appear so obvious. Nonetheless, in practice, defining the target group is often forgotten or is handled unprofessionally. It’s easy to claim: “everyone can use it!” So, everyone is the target group. By not applying focus, you’re shooting with birdshot. Some people may indeed be reached, but will it really touch them? Not likely.

In branding, you fashion the message broadly and then you segment in campaigns. That’s my recommendation. Another recommendation: look for customers that fit with the company and with the company’s core values. This guarantees successful cooperation, ensuring that the work is done with pleasure. If there is no alignment, you often encounter more difficulties than the success you were looking for. And the brand can only be reinforced through successful collaborations.

Core messages
Core messages are the basis for effective marketing and communication at the executive level. This brings us to the concrete substantiation of Anceaux Marketing’s brand promise structure. Of course, there can be variations to core messages in practice. This can even be welcome. But, in essence, these are the messages you wish to communicate in order to build a bridge between the organisation’s objectives and the customer’s needs: the ultimate connection that Anceaux Marketing aims for. Reaching the target group and touching them in an efficient manner so that the customer doesn’t experience marketing as marketing, enabling the company to achieve (and exceed) its goals.

A core message is built up for each core value and for each target group, linked to each other. It becomes even stronger when linked to a proven result.

Foundation for years
By going through these steps, you build a foundation for many years to come. Suddenly, making the right decisions becomes much easier. Consider hiring suppliers, for example. Do they fit with the core values? Will they reinforce the organisation’s brand because they act in the same way and believe in the business?

Or consider external communication. The framework is put in place. So there are far fewer internal discussions, but with greater focus. It’s a question of continuing on the chosen route and making course corrections as necessary. In other words, demonstrating agility with the market (which, by the way, can be a challenge in itself).

And what about personnel policy? Are you hiring the right people? Do they believe in the company’s roadmap and can they make a fundamental contribution to this?

And, as a final example, consider such technical issues as a website. Which functionalities are needed to support and reinforce the brand? A brand promise can provide insight into expanding the solution that you offer. For the online recruitment platform built for the company Someone, we made sure that the functionality aligned with the brand promise. It made the decisions much easier, because we knew what Someone wished to stand for. Read more about the Someone case.

Follow all seven blogs on the road towards a strong brand
This was the second of a series of seven blogs in which I take you along on the brand-building journey for a strong brand. The following blogs will be published soon. Number three focusses on the internal organisation, the foundation that I discussed here in this blog piece. How do you make sure that this foundation is indestructible? Read about this in the third blog of this series: Winning externally, starting internally. 


Building your brand successfully

How can you strengthen and sustain your brand in the long term, while generating success in the short term? Many companies are struggling with this. I’m going to help you – in seven blogs.

New commercial processes are becoming increasingly complex, due to extensive digitisation. And by this. I not only mean the wide variety of social media that can be used, but also the fact that the customer of a product or service has become much more outspoken, and expectations are therefore higher. ‘Cowboy behaviour’ is severely punished. This may be the reason why brand-driven organisations are markedly more successful.

This blog is an introduction; it is the first of the seven-piece series. Step by step, I will explain how to build a strong brand. Are you with me?

Become a lovemark!
It is no longer the sole domain of the marketing department, but an actual assignment for the entire organisation: we are the brand! I call it a brand promise. What do you promise? Do you live up to this promise? If you can rock this, your brand becomes a lovemark*. Lovemarks make people love the brand, close it in their hearts and keep it there. You understand that this is very positive for sales and long-term success and growth. Lovemarks offer value for money, because they not only inspire, but also do what they promise. The best example, currently, is Coolblue. Really, they got everything right!

Note that what works for one brand, is not guaranteed to work for the other. So, my advice is always: stay close to yourself and don’t look too much at others. If you look too much at others, the result will look forced, and people won’t buy into it.

Can every company or organisation be brand-driven?
People often think that this is only important for larger commercial companies. But it is certainly not. Because this concept generates more revenue and growth, commercial companies are more sensitive to this approach. But you can also see that more and more charitable, cultural, educational and governmental institutions are facing the same issue. We need to do something with our brand, but what?

These organisations are not concerned with turnover, but with growth and continuity. Building a brand is not only for complete organisations; it can also be applied by a department that strives to achieve a certain positioning, or by a person (personal branding) or for a new product. For example, Anceaux Marketing’s brand promise model has been used to successfully market a new product.

How to become a brand-driven organisation?
To turn a brand into a popular brand requires quite a lot of work. It starts by enabling the entire organisation to be THE BRAND; with other words, what you say on the outside (think of marketing and communication), should also be true on the inside. Otherwise, it’s all done for nothing.

In brief, the steps of building a strong brand in a row:

Building a brand promise
This is your brand strategy, a company’s right to exist.

–  What is the mission?

–  What are the core values?

–  What distinguishes it from other suppliers?

–  Who is it for?

I will discuss this in depth in the second blog of this series. This is the foundation of a company, and therefore of crucial importance.

Carry this out company-wide at all levels
Again, it is of the utmost importance to implement the brand promise on all levels of the organisation. Employees should be inspired and must want to contribute to realising the brand promise. It is stated that only 20% of the brand experience comes from marketing and communication, and 80% from behaviour. Winning externally, starting internally

We will discuss this in depth in the third blog. .

Create a comprehensive customer analysis
A brand promise is intended to clarify what the company stands for and who it is aimed at. Now it is important to find out more about who is ‘who’. There are different ways of doing this, either separately or in conjunction. Examples: analytics, mapping customer journeys and/or creating personas.

I will go into this in more depth in the fourth blog of this series.

Branding: create a consistent content strategy
Following on from the previous steps, the content strategy comes into play. What will be the brand image? In look & feel and in text. What channels are used to convey this message? It must be in line with the brand promise at all times – consistently communicating the right message.

In my fifth blog, I’ll tell you a lot more about this.

Build brand supporting campaigns
What I often see with large, but certainly also with smaller companies, is that campaigns are like loose sand. It would be much better, within the framework of building a strong brand, if campaigns were brand-supporting and formed part of the branding. It becomes even more complicated if there is no build-up for the campaign flow, and activities are carried out separately, for a quick fix. As far as I am concerned, this is a mortal sin if the goal is to become a lovemark.

I will tell you more about this in my sixth blog article, along with how to build a results-oriented campaign and achieve short-term success while working on creating a strong brand.

Evaluate and adjust when necessary
All the above steps must contribute constantly to the construction of the lovemark. One wrong step and it will be destroyed. That is why it is important to keep evaluating and adjusting the steps, separately and in connection with each other. Building a strong brand is a continuous process. A brand needs to be maintained, and requires small, sometimes large adjustments. To move with the times, without losing recognizability.

And, you must have guessed it by now, I’ll go deeper into this in the final blog of this series, number seven!

*  = Borrowed from advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi

Source: the book ‘De vijf stappen naar een betekenisvol merk’ (‘The five steps towards a meaningful brand’)