Get a clear and compelling Brand that tells people who you are!
In today’s market, being remarkable is essential. If you don’t have a clear and compelling Brand, that tells people simply and quickly who you are and what you stand for, you will always find it hard to compete.
A brand is not just a logo, a product, an advertisement, or a set of rules about how to act.
A brand is a persons gut feeling about a product, service or organisation.
A brand is your message to the world. Everything your association or club has produced and implemented until now has helped to form the brand you have. You must ensure that your brand is clear, easily articulated and meaningful to your target market.
A Brand is important because it is the ‘face’ of your whole business. It determines how people see you and what to expect. If you want your organisation to be successful, you have to let people know why they should engage with you and what the emotional and rational benefits are. This is the job of your brand.
I hear some common misconceptions about branding:
1. ‘We’ve already got a logo – that’s what a brand is.
A brand is far more than a logo, or a business card or a sign at a venue. It is about the vision you have for your organisation.
2. Branding is a bit fluffy, there’s no real substance to it.
Brands are built on emotion – people buy with emotion and justify with facts. The very reason brands exist is to make an emotional connection with people – its not fluff -its the way our brains are wired to act. If you ignore the fact that emotions are the primary source of decision-making, you are missing the opportunity to engage your target market at an instinctive level.
3. Brands are only for products and companies that sell things – not for sporting organisations.
The first brand marks were actually used by farmers to identify their cattle. Now they are used by everyone to identify anything of value. Emotions run high in sport – in fact its what makes sport great – seeing a child score for the first time, winning an important game, remembering the ‘good old days’ out on the field of play. Sport is ALL about emotion. A strong brand provides a home for these feelings and ensures a long-standing connection that is of value.
Like most things worth having in life, there is a defined path to get there. Here’s what you need to do to ensure you have a clearly defined, compelling brand:
Determine the Personality of your brand
If you meet a person today and then see them again tomorrow, its likely they will be wearing different clothes and at a different place. Regardless of this, their underlying personality will be the same. The way they talk to you, their gestures, what they say and how they engage with you are all personality traits.
In many ways, brands are like people. Regardless of the environment or other factors, the personality of your brand should be considered and consistent. Its important to think about the way you want your brand to come across to people. Should it be fun, serious, playful, funny or something else? This is a choice you should make, rather than leaving it to chance.
The starting point in developing a brand is to understand its ‘personality’ – the type of approach it takes on in the world. By doing this we get a deeper understanding of the way a brand might act and how it should be portrayed and promoted to the world.
There are a number of ways to help clarify your brand personality, but here’s a simple one I use a lot. Answer the following questions are you will start to see a personality come through:
Identify your Target Market and get to know your ideal customer
Have you ever organised a meeting with someone you don’t know, and tried to meet them in a public place? It’s not easy if you don’t know what they look like. You end up asking a lot of people who look at you in a funny way.
Likewise, you should never build a brand without knowing who is going to ‘buy’ it. Who will be your ideal customer, the people for whom what you offer is a perfect solution?
Remember the old saying “You can’t be all things to all people”? This is very true of sporting organisations. The worst thing that you can do is think that the target market for basketball is ‘everyone who lives here, because everyone likes sport’.
Primary and secondary target markets
Most brands will have more than one target market:
Primary Target Market – The ideal customer for your product and the focus of your marketing activity.
Secondary Target Market – People who have a logical connection to your brand, are likely to form a reasonable part of your market, but are not for various reasons are not prime targets.
If you are unsure about who this is, here’s the way to decide: your target market is the group of people who pay you money for your goods and services. Usually, the people who pay the most are your primary target market. For many basketball clubs and associations, it may be that sponsors or government (local, state, federal) are your primary or secondary target market.
How to identify your target market
You can think about your target market in four ways:
In any sport, you need to know who you are playing against, their strengths and weaknesses and how they are planning to compete. This is just as important off the field of play as it is on it.
Having information about your competitors helps you in a number of ways:
1. It allows you to identify areas where the competition is really strong, but importantly, opportunities where there is little or no competition;
2. It enables you to be prepared for the tactics of your competitors
3. You can learn from what they do
4. Identify if what you are doing (or are planning to do) is really unique in the marketplace.
5. Identify products and services that you could be offering but are not.
Make a list of all your competitors and understand what they bring to the marketplace. A hint: your strongest competitors will not always be other sporting organisations, but activities and pastimes that take the time that people could use to participate in sport.