• Gameplan

5 things you'll learn at the Gameplan 'Strategic Branding' course

Updated: Mar 3, 2020

We're thrilled to announce our first live education program, presented in collaboration with The Property Council Australia: Strategic Branding & Marketing. This fast, focused, one day intensive course will help you re-engineer the way you do property branding and marketing, demystify the strategic process and give you the tools to put better decisions in market, faster.

Limited tickets now available: September 18, Sydney.

The course is designed to cover a lot of ground, from writing strategic plans, getting stakeholders on board and finding your message, to understanding your audience, running a pitch and evaluating the creative work before it lands in market. Buckle up, it'll move pretty fast.

We asked Barrie Seppings, our Director of Strategy, to share the top 5 things you'll learn on this course. Here are his picks:

1. Why your logo is not your brand

It's important to remember a picture of a thing is not the thing. A hundred dollar bill is not actually a hundred dollars, it just represents a hundred dollars worth of purchasing power -but only if the person you’re handing it to also agrees it represents a hundred dollars. If you’ve ever travelled overseas and been stuck somewhere without local currency, you’ll know what this means. At that point, your hundred dollar bill can’t even buy you a phone call or a bus ticket. It becomes a logo for a worthless brand.

In the course, we'll discuss how customers use logos as a shorthand for remembering how they feel about your brand - both positive and negative. A great looking logo won't fix a bad brand image. It just makes it easier for customers to remember how much they dislike you. Ouch.

2. Why you'd even want to build a brand, anyway

Why not just build a great business instead? Why spend money on this surface stuff? That’s a good question and one you should be clear on before you start designing and commissioning 'stuff' to put in market. Think of some of your favourite things – things you own. Objects. It might be something big like a car, something smaller like a pair of shoes, or maybe your watch, or even a ‘grown up toy’ like a mountain bike, or a boat or tennis racquet.

Now think about the alternatives. Was there a cheaper option? Was there a similar product that was functionally of a similar quality, but at a lower price? Probably was. Almost always is. But you paid the premium. And were probably happy to do so.

In almost every case, it’s because of the brand. That’s what convinced you to pay more.

At a very functional level, investment in a Brand can deliver returns in the form of price premium. People pay more for product from a brand they like and trust. To see this in action, take a look at the annual Brand Z survey, which assigns and tracks a dollar value to the world’s top brands. Not the underlying company, but the value of the brand itself.

In the course, we'll take a look at the most common brand objectives used by businesses and learn how to set one that makes the most sense for your project.

3. How to think about brand risks without driving yourself crazy

Your brand is what people say about you when we’re not in the room. And literally every single thing you do, or say, or write, or publish, or recommend, or sell, or deliver, or stand next to with your two thumbs up in a social media post contributes to your brand. Not always in a good way.

Which means that there is a galaxy of things which could undermine or damage or even destroy your brand, many of which may not be in your control. And if your brand is damaged, it’s unlikely to be able to deliver anything like the value we saw in the Brand Z report. In fact, it could do the opposite.

In the course, we’re going to steal – or rather we’re going to borrow with pride – some techniques from the PR and crisis communications world to help us think about these risks. You'll learn useful tools to make risk planning both manageable and actionable.

4. Which radio station your audience is listening to

Most brand strategies revolve around finding something called 'The Brand Proposition'. Sometimes it's called the Value Proposition or USP (which stands for Unique Selling Proposition). Doesn’t really matter what it’s called. It is, at heart, an attempt to capture the reason people should care enough about your company, and what it does, to give you money.

You might be thinking you already know the things your business or project is really good at. Surely that’s the Brand Proposition - right? At this point, I have to let you in on a little secret: the reason that you think your clients buy from you, may not be the same reason your clients think they buy from you. It’s all about perspective.

During the course, we'll be learning techniques to help you focus on your audience and to look at your brand from a consumer perspective. One of these techniques the idea of a radio station that’s constantly playing in your customers’ minds, a station called WIIFM. This stands for "What’s In It For Me?"

Asking yourself why your message would get airtime on WIIFM is a great first step to discovering your own brand proposition.

5. Why the best shortcut is a plan

The course is designed to get you closer to understanding what makes a Brand, but also makes a Brand Strategy: what it is and how you use it. It's also important to understand why you'd want one.

If someone wanted to build their dream house, for example, you wouldn’t recommend they start by choosing carpets and curtains. You might ask them to start by thinking about what kind of life they want to live in that house, and working with an architect to draw up the plans for that house. Only then would they get a builder, and an interior designer, landscaper and so on. Then, step by step, they’d go through the whole process of building that house. And during every step, they’d refer back to those architect’s plans to make sure everyone was on the same page and doing their part correctly, in the right order. It's far more sensible than letting all the trades have a go and then fixing it once it's built.

Think of a brand as the house your business lives in, and this course as architecture for that house. It’s about making a plan and following a plan. In our experience, developing a Brand Strategy results, at a minimum, in fewer revisions, reduced rounds of amends, less wastage and fewer arguments. Used really well, a Brand Strategy delivers great creative work, drives innovation and can even change they way you think about your product or business entirely.

If this sounds like a house you'd like to live in, there are still a few seats available. Hope to see you there.

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