How clients can optimize dollars spent on branding

by Angela Stiff

Formulate a budget.
Calculate a monthly spend to invest in your branding efforts. This should be based on goals, target demographic size, geographic marketing footprint and how often you expect to be visible. These may be decisions you are not sure about, but an experienced branding manager can help you determine these factors before you begin the process. The danger of not having this discussion first is asking for a very broad scope of actions unaware of the costs, and then having to go back and forth, losing valuable time and therefore money.

Be accessible.
Be prepared to devote a significant amount of time towards the process. Your input in the initial discovery stage is especially important. Schedule the appropriate amount of time for each meeting. Avoid phone interruptions. Staying focused improves the quality of content shared and gleaned. The client team should only include people who have agreed to invest their time without skipping or missing parts of meetings.

Your marketing account manager will be able to help you plan a good internal approval process. Assign one point of contact as your liaison to the marketing firm’s team. This person will help build internal consensus and aggregate all revisions, edits or feedback. This is a big time-saver on the production side and keeps revision hours down.

Be onboard.
Decide who will be involved from the client side in forming the story, who will give feedback and who will have approval authority. The team should be consistent from start to finish.

Ideally, each team member has been briefed on the intended goals, their role in the process and the anticipated outcome. Everyone selected to be on the branding team should share their opinions openly and honestly. However, it only takes one naysayer who doesn’t really want to be a part of the team, or to change or move forward, to stop down progress and drive up costs in time.

Work the plan.

Once you’ve shared in a discovery process, solidified your brand story, approved creative and rolled out the strategic plan, give it time to work. It takes time to build momentum with your intended audience. You’ve been swimming in the process for months now, but it’s all very new to your constituents.

When credible analysis warrants an adjustment, by all means heed the stats. Just avoid knee-jerk decisions to change midstream because the response is coming quickly. This happens many times when a client has not been visible in the market for some time. They’re starting cold and need to give the audience time to warm up to them again.

Have clear goals.
Goal-setting will ultimately be done in collaboration with your marketing firm and your team. However, there is typically a catalyst that prompts a branding initiative. Be prepared to clearly communicate what brought you to the branding table. Be ready to discuss history, recent challenges and aspirations. Set realistic expectations for the outcome of your branding process. Talk about what success looks like to you, and together with your brand manager, cut a clear path to get there.

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