We will increase the number of “fans” while accumulating our own sales and profits, and at the same time, create a company where excellent human resources come in. This book will teach you the best strategies to aim for a company that is ideal for both managers and employees.
The author is Takeshi Miyamura, who is a representative of Glow Republic, a creative consulting company that has worked on branding in various industries and industries. When you hear “branding,” you may think of advertising and image strategies. But, according to the author, branding is nothing more than a "business strategy" that sets the guidelines for a company.
In the present age when "cheap and high quality" is commonplace, it is no longer the case that you can sell something to some extent by making something and advertising as in the past. This book proposes how to respond to such changes in the times.
Successful branding not only allows external advertising, but also has a positive impact on the company. Many of the positive effects of the creation of the “brand” axis also lead to work style reform. As long as branding is a business strategy, this book is not irrelevant to those who have never felt the need for branding. I hope you will deepen your understanding of branding and think about your company's strategy from a new perspective.
Main points of this book
Branding refers to establishing a strong feeling as a brand that will become a pillar of the company.
The three important elements of branding that will be needed in the coming era are "differentiation", "speed", and "inner", all of which are closely linked to management strategies.
The authors' next branding, which uses design as a pillar, will proceed in three stages: an information gathering phase, a development phase, and a materialization phase.
Design that properly expresses the brand's pillars without excess or deficiency plays an important role in next branding.
[Must read point!] Why branding is a management strategy
Brand and branding
Correct branding is an essential management strategy for SMEs. In order to convey that, let's first define the meanings of "brand" and "branding" in this book.
The brand is "pillar". A house-like structure can be created by standing the walls on all four sides and blocking the floor and ceiling from the top and bottom, but if there are no pillars, it will collapse with a slight shake. It doesn't have to be special, but it's a problem if it's not. A brand is a strong thought and pillar of a manager or a company that supports the structure of the company along with the product.
Branding is a measure to establish "what you want to be a pillar" and "what you should be a pillar" in a company as a brand that everyone can understand. It's not just about advertising. It is important to develop the treasures of companies and organizations into pillars and brands, that is, "branding first."
Many people have the image that brands and branding are for large companies. However, branding is effective only for small and medium-sized enterprises as a management strategy to survive the modern society that shifts from "scale economy" to "quality economy". There are three important branding elements in responding to this paradigm shift: differentiation, speed, and inner.
The first element, differentiation, is to "catch up" by filling in the gap with competitors to raise the bottom, and by adding new elements by expanding what the competitors do not have. There are two directions of "overtaking" POD (Points of Difference). Small and medium-sized companies, who have difficulty fighting on the same level as large companies, should look for something that can realize POD differentiation and aim for branding to break through it.
In the age of quality, “trial” has become more important than “marketing”, so the importance of the second factor, “speed”, has increased. Even if there is a product that can be convinced of a hit, a competitor may announce a similar product first, or a major company may imitate it to rob potential customers. We will release it first to control the competition. Then, the product is updated with the result and evaluation after release as the best information. If a clear pillar can be built by branding, the speed of decision-making will increase and it will be possible to conquer the majors in terms of footwork.
The third element, the "inner," refers to the employees working in the company or there. In branding, it is a major premise that everyone in the company is aware of the strengths of the company and matches the vectors to grow as pillars. If it is not possible to increase employee engagement (attachment), it would be unthinkable to create a product that is loved and appreciated by users.
There is also the idea of dividing the branding into this inner and the outer that represents users and business partners, and working separately, but this is nonsense. In the first place, branding requires that the inner and outer parts work as both wheels at the same time, and not just one.
The reason why small and medium-sized companies need branding is that all of the above three factors are directly linked to their business strategies. Even a business owner who has never thought of "I want to do branding" should have been aware of improving "differentiation", "speed", and "inner".
If you understand that branding is a business strategy, you will understand the need for a full commitment from management. Only when the manager himself shows the “guidelines” and “attitudes” of where and how he aims, and the employees who act in accordance with them, can the branding succeed.
The big advantage of branding is that the investment becomes an asset. Advertising costs are reset every year, but the money spent on branding is accumulated in the form of good impressions and fans of the company and products. If you have such assets, it will be more effective when you hit an advertisement.
The power of design
Bring design to essence
Next, let's introduce the methodology of branding. Now that the world is flooded with information, everything is competing for user time. In order to convey the true value of the brand to users who judge good or bad in a moment after touching a product, it is necessary to use design power.
However, the brand is born only from innerwear, and it does not mean that it has to have a good-looking design. The essence that becomes the pillar of the brand comes first, and it is delivered to society and users with a great design.
3 steps of next branding
The author calls the original branding method based on design "Next Branding" to distinguish it from conventional branding.
Next branding will proceed in three stages: an information gathering phase, a development phase, and a materialization phase. There is no existing answer when establishing a new brand. In the first information gathering phase, in order to think thoroughly until everyone is convinced that they think "thinking better than anyone", form a team across the company and repeat hearings and discussions to the point where "I think it is good" .. Information will be aggregated, organized and classified, and the image will be unified using visuals, while the direction of the brand will be summarized by a wide range of members from management to the workplace.
In the development phase, the information on the brand examined in the information gathering phase is used as the “target persona” (customer segment), “functional value” (specific utility), “emotional value” (feeling of atmosphere), and “brand personality”. (Personality and individuality) and "Brand promise" (Promise of value to be provided) are classified and examined to clarify the pillars that should become a brand. Again, using visual for the sensory elements makes it easier to unify the images.
In the materialization phase, we will materialize and disseminate the image that has been developed so far. The first step in spreading the value of a brand is the development of brand identity. Create a brand guideline that defines visual identities such as logo marks that convey the brand image visually, brand slogans that convey the brand image intuitively, and rules when using the brand.
After that, we will consider and implement measures to make the brand known inside and outside the company. Here again, the brand is iron rule from the inner. In addition to advertising outside the company, be sure to do the work of sharing the new brand's development and thoughts with internal members, especially managers, and transmitting it to the field members.
Design that expresses charm without excess or deficiency
The design necessary for branding is to create a visual that appeals to the consumers unconsciously and conveys the brand's appeal to people who do not have information. However, even if many companies have been thoroughly debated and are doing theoretically fine branding, their sensibility-oriented approach is weak, and the output tends to go unnoticed.
Design is said to be a creative solution for society's "problem solving" rather than just making it look good. Even if it looks subtle, it should be evaluated as "functional and excellent design" if it can solve the problem. However, when a good-looking design comes up, even if the design does not convey the charm of the brand in a proper manner, it often gives a go-ahead without noticing the problem.
In order to avoid such a situation in Next Branding, instead of relaying the baton to the design team after formulating a strategy, we proceed with branding in the Scrum format, where the theory and the creative work together from the start.
A brand is a collection of images and knowledge received by the five senses. That is why unity and story are so important. It's very important that every touchpoint in the company leads to a visual and user experience that matches the brand concept. By directing the whole under a consistent branding strategy, a "value-added" design is realized.
Effect on inner
Importance of internal penetration in the early stage
It seems that the effect of branding works only on the outerwear, but at the initial stage of branding, the effect on the inner wear, that is, internal penetration should be emphasized. The in-house penetration of the brand strategy will directly strengthen the brand power of the company. Employees are one of the touch points that embody the brand. Therefore, the members of a company, whether they are managers or employees, should not behave in a manner that deviates from their mission, vision and values. The branding strategy also needs to be something that employees in the field will be convinced to realize.
If the brand strategy goes well, people who are in sympathy with the world view will be able to apply, which will reduce the labor and cost required for hiring. It is highly likely that people who are doing job hunting while researching a company that can empathize with the brand strategy will be excellent, and since they join the company with some knowledge of the brand, they can save the trouble of education. If the bright future can be visualized, the turnover rate will naturally decrease.
Branding can also lead to work style reform, which has become a major theme in recent years. By spreading the brand concept within the company, it is possible to save the time required for various decisions. If working hours are reduced in this way, it will greatly contribute to the work-life balance, improve the quality of work and foster attachment to the company.
Furthermore, if the increase in profit, which is the greatest effect of branding, is achieved from a long-term perspective, we can aim to reduce expenses such as advertising expenses, improve the quality of work and create a virtuous cycle of sales increase. it can.
Three steps for internal penetration
It is important to trace the three phases of "flagging," "permeation of members," and "effect measurement" in order to penetrate and execute the brand strategy within the company.
The basics of branding are to first clarify the guidelines and attitudes of the brand. In order to keep it simple and essential, let's set a convincing aspiration and set "a flag" that is easy for employees to understand at a glance.
At the next stage, it will be instilled in the members. It's not just about handing out tools to describe your brand, but regular opportunities to deepen and remind you of the tools.
And the effect measurement is the final stage. Regularly evaluate the work of employees and check what is done and what is not done against the brand concept. This not only serves as an evaluation standard for companies, but also serves as a means of encouraging inner workers to enrich their employees.
The brand is a pillar unique to that company, and the seeds are hidden in the present company in any company. Japanese technologies and products, and SMEs that support them, have great potential. To convey that, you need the power of design and branding based on it. And thoroughly stick to the brand strategy.
In Japan, there is still an untouched area called next branding, a big opportunity.
Recommendation of reading
This book conveys the essence of branding and the design that supports it, using simple and easy-to-understand expressions with diagrams. Since the steps to establish a brand and the method of brand penetration within the company are also explained in detail, this book is a textbook for those who want to start branding. It will also help people working on-site to grasp design from a management perspective.