I worked for a while at Monster.com in that company's hey day. I'd fly into Boston and travel out to Maynard, Massechusetts. The company was out at the converted Digital Equipment building that was home to the company. At that time Monster was one of "THE Internet brands". Some can say now that the company has lost its sizzle and shine but if there is one thing Monster knew it was how to create a brand.
The facilities were huge. You could part jumbo jets end to end in the floor space. Throughout the building was a wild combination of colors, logoed carpeting and "life size" statues of the cuddly creaters that made up the Monster.com pets. If you can remember Trumpasaurus, that's the monster with the green skin and golden trumpet nose there he stood in all his glory. He was over 8 feet tall and weighed over 2,000 pounds. You see Trumpasaurus and the other monsters were specified in the Monster brand hand book.
Every employee was given a brand handbook and you had better read it because you were going to have a review on it by marketing. Now this handbook was not just a couple sheets of paper. This was a four color multiple page handbook, bound with front and cover and printed on heavy card stock. This is the quality of a child's reading book and given the crazy colors the brand embraced it was just as colorful.
At the time I thought is was gaudy and extreme and we referred to the brand marketing personal who reviewed every public facing marketing effort for brand purity as "the brand Nazi's". They were uncompromising.
It took me several years to really understand and appreciate the power of what that company had established with its brand. At the time it held over 60% of the online job search market. It's closest competitor at the time was Hot Jobs and they held 14% market share.
That brand was worth over a billion dollars and guess what? You too can apply the Monster brand principles to your own business, regardless of how big or how small.
As a matter of fact if you haven't already defined your brand then your marketing and sales efforts already have no compass. When you don't have a compass, guess what? You tend to get lost.
Any marketing people must hang their hats on at least a rudimentary definition of a company’s brand. This dictates who you speak to, what you say, how you say things and perhaps most importantly WHAT NOT TO SAY and WHO NOT to SAY IT TO.
Summary of Actions
Define your markets:
- Consumer or Business
- Local, Regional, National
- Method of Distribution: Direct, Distribution Channel, Retail
- Primary Customer Targets: (i.e. Multi-unit Retail Owners with 4-12 Units)
- Primary Customer Profile: (i.e. Office Managers of two or more office locations)
- Industry Vertical(s) Sell Into: (i.e. computer retail, consumer, etc.)
Products/Services You Sell:
- What are the products/services you sell to your defined market?
- What are the primary features for each product?
- What are the primary benefits for each product? (NOTE: make sure your benefits aren't features, there is a key difference)
- List your nearest competitors (not necessarily the largest in the industry/space
- Deconstruct their brand and market messaging
- How do they present themselves? (i.e. warm friendly, expert knowable, biggest best, etc.)
- What are their features and benefits?
- Who is their messaging audience? (primary and secondary targets)
Brand Position Document Should Include:
- Background of Company
- Market Focus
- Key Attributes
- What Your Company Is Not
- What Your Company Is
- Communication Targets
- Description of Each Target
- Description of Company Personality
- Primary Messaging Goals
Once you create your Brand Position document share it with every employee, share it with vendors, share it with partners. It will be your compass on what you say when you sell, when you do marketing, even when you record your voicemail messages. It is the foundation of your marketing efforts. Use it as a foundational tool.