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employer branding

How To Measure The Value Of Your Hunting Or Firearms Brand

How to Measure The Value of Your Hunting or Firearms Brand

By Firearms and Hunting

Most company’s in the hunting, outdoor and firearms industry today base brand value solely on sales volume, and sometimes even Facebook likes.

According to a recent survey of over 400 (non-industry) marketers, 80% of them believed building brand awareness is “extremely” or “very” important, 76% admitted that they don’t know what percentage of their target market is aware of their brand. And nearly 70% said they weren’t sure how to measure brand awareness. (Source: Survey Monkey).

I believe these numbers are even higher in our industry, because most brands still solely focus marketing spend on traditional methods like print, tradeshow and TV to boost sales that are hard to track and prove ROI.

In the past, figuring out brand value and brand equity, for the most part, were left to the academics and statisticians to figure out. Even today, there are still varying opinions from the experts about how to measure brand value and equity with not a lot of consensus or standardization to the process.

However, with the rise of email and web-based survey tools—hunting, outdoor and firearm companies that have invested in web-based ways to collect customer data, can now evaluate and understand their brand’s value without spending a fortune on complex traditional research. No longer are focus groups, mail-in reply cards, rebates, unsolicited emails and statisticians necessary. 

The goal of brand development and branding (two separate disciplines) is to create awareness and preference of your products over your competitors.

“Preference cannot happen unless you know how your customers think and feel about your brand.”

If you’re interested in understanding how you can maximize your brand for increased sales, gain market share or increase customer satisfaction, there are four aspects you need to take into account to figure out your brand’s value to understand how it impacts your bottom line.

To begin, you want to start with non-customers and customers alike. By utilizing a web-based survey system and tapping into your customer database—you can incentivize your customers to take the survey or utilize a non-customer sample to acquire the data you need.

According to the BrandAsset Valuator model, your company’s brand health and future can be determined by collecting consumer insights in these four key areas:

1. Differentiation
How well does your brand stand out from your competition? You can measure this by asking questions about how often your customers come across your brand, if they recognize it and if it stands out from your competition.

Takeaway: When your brand is different, people are curious and want to know why.

Industry Example: By being bold and utilizing a strong visual with a unique brand position and product features, people will naturally be curious about your brand and will want to know more about it. One brand that comes to mind is Patriot Ordnance Factory. POF-USA was the first company to take the gas piston AR to market and has been leading the way with their revolutionary platform innovations ever since. I like their approach to using 18th Century subject matter, and how they intertwine Revolutionary War concepts with present day 2nd amendment rights.

POF hunting outdoor firearms brand

2. Relevance
This area examines aspects of price, convenience, and if the products you produce are of use. You can determine this aspect by asking questions of the likelihood of them to purchase your product or whether they purchased it in the past.

Takeaway: If your product is more relevant than it is different, your brand may no longer be interesting which means you are competing on price and convenience alone. This will help you determine how to change your messaging and perhaps direct product development.

Industry Example: Your hunting product may have extensive distributorship in Cabella’s, Bass Pro or Walmart and other large retailers with high sales volume, but that doesn’t always means you’re the strongest brand customers prefer. Perhaps you’re just the cheapest and most convenient. If you’re the only product on the shelf, that the customer needs, you still may lose out to a competitor with a stronger brand when and if they come along. Don’t settle for second best.

Marketing experts like David Ogilvy believe that there’s more to a company’s success — or failure — than pricing, convenience, or location. Success is defined by brand equity or overall brand power, which is your brand’s value as determined by consumers’ positive or negative attitudes about your brand. (Source: Survey Monkey)

3. Esteem
How well regarded is your brand? Does it hold a high level of superiority and respect in your customers mind? Would they drive across town to purchase it? Are you on top of their list to visit at the upcoming trade show? By being able to answer these questions—you’ll be able to uncover how well respected and needed your product(s) are. This perhaps is one of the most important aspects of brand assessment.

Takeaway: When customers hold your brand in high-esteem, they want to buy it to know why.

Industry Example: When Colorado passed a law that limits ammunition magazine capacity to 15-rounds, Magpul, moved their entire operation out of Colorado—along with $80 million dollars in revenue and 200 employees and some other 400 supply chain jobs (Source: Washington Times). I assume it was a rough time internally for Magpul. But the industry stood next to them and the situation generated a great amount of positive press and a great deal of respect with their customer base. 

magpul-brand

Photo: Magpul

 

4. Knowledge
How well do your customers know your brand? Have you told the story correctly that they can tell it back to you? What makes you different and why? Is it positive or negative?

Takeaway: When customers have a knowledge about your brand, especially if it pertains to negative perceptions, they may think they don’t need to learn anything more and will begin to look at your competitors.

Industry Example: Heritage brands tend to suffer most from the knowledge aspect. For generations, your family may have used products or shot the same brand of gun, but one ammo or magazine malfunction or negative customer service experience may cause them to reevaluate their options. Beretta is an ideal example of how a 500 year old company continues to reinvent itself to remain relevant and attract a new generation of customers and brand advocates. 

berretta

In conclusion, gathering data for data’s sake without implementation is a fool’s errand. Make sure before conducting a survey that evaluates your brand—that it is connected with a clear initiative and goal you can use to spur growth, sales, attract talent, increase workforce efficiency, communications or direct product development.

Once you see how high or low the above 4 factors stack up, you can begin to determine your brand equity based on brand stature and brand strength. This will allow you and your team to create a strategy on how to maintain your brand’s position, or how to improve it.

When customers have a chance to choose between your product or your competitors, and they choose you, that’s good for business.

 

hunting-outdoor-firearms-brand-interview-guideFree Download:
Brand Development Interview Guide 

Developing your brand starts with asking the right questions. Use this guide to draft the questions to ask your customers to uncover your brand’s most important messages.

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Brand Development Rollout

Why Your Brand Rolled Out The Back Door And Down The Street – Part 1

By Brand Development, Branding, Business

Completing the brand development process is a major milestone in any company’s history. After months of work it becomes time to introduce and roll it out to your employees and then your customers and the public in general. However after the party is over and the smoke has cleared, the brand is usually forgotten and your people return to status quo and it’s business as usual. Why?

In the first of two posts, here are 4 things to keep in mind to make the most of your brand development investment when rolling out your new brand internally and creating real brand change.

1. Get employee buy-in early
To make your brand rollout successful, get your employees involved early in the process. Identify the people in your company who are the centers of influence. Create a team of brand ambassadors. By getting your employees feedback and input—you will give them ownership of the new brand. Their feedback will provide the framework and direction of the changes that need to be made. When they see that the changes they suggested have been incorporated, they will be more likely to embrace the new brand. They will also act as advocates and defenders of the new brand when and if water cooler discussions turn negative about the coming changes.

2. Introduce the brand correctly
Also begin thinking about the brand rollout event early in the process. It can sometimes take months of planning depending on your budget. Each company is different, but you typically want to start by creating some buzz. Try to think of ways to get your employees excited about the new brand. Communicate some of the key benefits and changes coming and how they contributed to the new direction. Make the brand rollout party all about them. This will be your first chance to introduce the new brand and you’ll want to take some time to really think through how to best present it.

3. Leadership does the honors
The new brand should be introduced by the CEO or president. The brand development process is a top-down initiative and you’ll want to utilize the C-Suite’s influence. Take the steps needed to educate your employees on what a brand is and why it is important. After a little branding 101, go through the main communication points of the brand. Especially communicate what has changed and what will stay the same. Remember to communicate the purpose and the “why” behind the “what”. Seek to inspire through purpose.

4. Create “the change” through your employees

Lets face it, change is hard. Most companies—after the brand is rolled out—return to status quo. To create real brand change, new standards must be communicated and implemented within your workforce. To move the culture, changes must be made at the people level. So for example, you may want to consider the following:

  1. Through natural attrition, begin to replace the employees who leave with people who adhere and align with the brand’s new values.
  2. Use assessments to accurately determine the “jobfit” and “brandfit” of each candidate.
  3. Invest in employer branding to attract top talent.
  4. Train tenured employees to adapt to the changes being made.
  5. Pay employees to leave who are not adopting the change (See Zappos and Amazon examples)

The company with the best people wins. To create real brand change and to make the most of your brand development investment—start with your people early in the process and continue to build a culture based on your customers. Anything else is just pretty words and pictures.

In my next post, I’ll talk about the external rollout process.

For more information on how we can help you create real brand change within your organization, contact our Indianapolis or Denver branding agency for a complimentary brand assessment.

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Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

how to rebrand

The 7 Factors For Rebranding

By Brand Development

There are many factors to consider when evaluating the decision to rebrand your company. Typically you’re gripped with a sense of bewilderment as the word ‘rebrand’ typically means ‘change.’ This is always difficult, especially when you’re the one responsible for the success and longevity of your company.

Faced with undulating marketplace circumstances—a rebrand may be the only viable option you have to remain competitive. The entrance of new competitors, commoditization, internal changes and changing customer attitudes may have weakened your company’s ability to accurately articulate your unique value proposition. Perhaps you’ve been knocked off by faster, more agile competitors with more aggressive marketing tactics than your own or you let things get away on you by not keeping up to date on massive disruption that is taking place across various industries.

Whatever the case, re-branding can be a good thing. It signifies a stage in your business’ maturity and growth. It is an opportunity to more closely examine your mission, purpose and the betterment of your company.  

Brand development can be a catalyst for innovation—an opportunity to develop your current processes. It can bring clarity and alignment to you and your stakeholders and spur employee motivation. In the end this tunes up your company’s internal engine where the end result is customer satisfaction and increased profitability.

To help you understand the main reasons most business owners choose to rebrand, we’ve listed 7 factors that will help you determine if now is the time to consider a rebrand.  

Famous Corporate Rebrand

Famous Corporate Rebrands

1. Name change
Our name no longer fits who we are.

Naming is a long and difficult process. Most viable domain names have been taken or are listed as premium listings because of their necessity and acclaim. Be prepared to pay for a high-quality name or be prepared to make one up.  Start at Name.com to check out the availability of your domain. Work with a branding agency to help you come up with a meaningful, memorable and viable choice. Your name is the most important branding element of your business. A recent example is when Anderson Consulting became Accenture. Anderson Consulting changed their name due to global market expansion. “On January 1, 2001 Andersen Consulting adopted its current name, “Accenture”. The word “Accenture” is supposedly derived from “Accent on the future”. The name “Accenture” was submitted by Kim Petersen, a Danish employee from the company’s Oslo, Norway office, as a result of an internal competition. Accenture felt that the name should represent its will to be a global consulting leader and high performer, and also intended that the name should not be offensive in any country in which Accenture operates. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)

2. Revitalize a brand

Our identity does not represent us any longer.

Due to the natural development, evolution and innovation of your products and services new vertical markets and channels will emerge that prove profitable changing the course of your company. You may have received feedback from your customers or have seen a decline in web traffic. Perhaps you were a packaged product company that has now evolved into a virtual product.  The move to the virtual environment will need to communicate a different message then one sold in a brick-n-mortar. When in doubt, interview and survey your customers to understand if your brand is still connecting to deliver value.

3. Revitalize a brand identity
Our identity is outdated.

Brand identity is a mixture of the visual representation of the product and service you provide and about how that product/service relates to, characterizes and represents your customers. Have your customers changed? Once again when in doubt, interview and survey your customers to understand if the brand is still connecting to deliver value.  Does it need a new look or a whole new service offering. In a recent example, Walgreens completely changed its course to remain relevant and to remain true to its brand values by completely eliminating tobacco from their stores and redesigning the customer experience and adding clinics due to the sweeping health care law.

Logo swooshes gone wild

Logo swooshes gone wild

4. Create an integrated system
Our visual materials do not look the same.

Over the years as marketing managers and designers have come and gone, they’ve left their own interpretations of your company’s brand on your materials. If standards were not put in place at the initial development of your brand—chances are your materials look inconsistent, scattered and unfocused. 

BRANDING TIP: Still using swooshes and drop shadows? These were hot design trends in the late nineties and early 2000’s. Today, flat design is ‘in’ lead by top global brands like Apple, Windows and Google.

5. When companies merge
We need a new brand to represent the new company.

Perhaps the #1 reason to rebrand is when two companies merge. Think Disney and Pixar. Sirius and XM Radio. Exxon and Mobil. When two cultures collide, key staff members are let go, leadership styles and philosophies change, everything is turned upside down and inside out. This especially takes a mental toll on your employees. Not knowing what is happening in the C-Suite, guesses,  estimations and imaginations run wild that result in anxiousness, worry and loss productivity. Communication is key in this time of transition. The brand development process will help you align and get your new team on the same page quicker.

6. When internal teams lack clarity

Our employees lack direction, engagement and purpose.

One of the most important outcomes of the brand strategy process is employee clarity and understanding of the company’s mission and purpose. The brand development process will allow you to re-discover the purpose of your brand—the why behind the what—providing direction, increasing employee engagement and purpose.

7. Attract Talent

We are not hiring the right people.

A strong corporate brand is helpful to attracting talent. However an employer brand must also be taken into consideration when rebranding. You must also define the values of your culture and why someone would want to work for you. This can only be fostered by the corporate brand’s values and how they relate to your customers.  The key to delighting your customers is to delight your employees. Outside of the normal perks, you must also communicate the purpose through your employer branding to attract the right talent.

BRANDING TIP: Delight your employees and you will delight your customers.

In conclusion, when faced with the possibility of a rebrand, always start with your customers and employees. Their responses to your inquiries will give you the understanding you need to intelligently make the decision to rebrand. If your name needs changing, your brand image is outdated, your materials are scattered, you’ve merged with another company, your internal teams are off center or you are not attracting the necessary talent to meet customer demand, it may be time to rebrand.

Interested in learning more about rebranding and brand development process? Our proprietary brand development approach—Brand+People™ —believes your people are the key differentiator in a marketplace full of identical competitors. We focus on brand alignment through employee engagement, customer experience and brand perception to create authentic human connections for business growth and success. As a seamless extension of your marketing and sales team, we blend branding, inbound marketing and creative design (professional web design, brochure design, logo design, infographics, package design and advertising) to maximize your business goals. Contact us today to learn more.

brand-interview-guide

Free Download:
Brand Development Interview Guide 

Discovering your brand starts with asking the right questions. Use this guide to draft the right questions to uncover your brand.

[easyembed field=”brandinterviewCTA”]

 

 


Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

 

Employer Brand

How To Build Your Employer Brand

By Employer Branding

employer branding

I entered Rush and joined a fraternity at the University of Wyoming in 1993. The fraternity I joined was known by everyone as the ‘best’ on campus. They had a reputation for winning consistently year-after-year in intramural sports, having the highest GPA, the most varsity athletes and throwing the best parties. Their reputation attracted almost every able-bodied freshman and not to mention every good-looking sorority girl.

Because of our strong reputation and sense of purpose to be the ‘best ‘— we were able to attract and recruit the best candidates every semester that added to our numbers and bank account. It is commonly known in the Greek world that Rush is the lifeblood of the fraternity. Without a consistent flow of the ‘right’ members, fraternities dry up and are forced to shut down.

Business owners like fraternities — must always be conscience of what kind of members/employees they are attracting, recruiting and retaining. By letting one bad person/ hire in, you risk the reputation and effectiveness of your organization. We live in a world were now one single bad customer experience will be shouted from the rooftops through the 1.1 billion Facebook users or 645 million Twitter users. By having a sound employer branding and talent acquisition strategy, you can avoid a lot of potential bad customer mishaps.

Here are three things you can do now to build a strong employer brand:

1. Create a reputation of excellence

Our fraternity won almost every intramural football, baseball and basketball game every semester for 4 straight years. Our reputation was widely known on campus and naturally attracted the best guys. To attract the best employees, you must also create a reputation of excellence in the marketplace and communities you serve. Product and service aside — this can only be done by hiring the ‘right’ people. Start by looking at your brand and what purpose you serve outside of just making a profit. If your brand were a person, what would it be like? Model your employees after the brand you want to personify. Develop employee personas and the marketing mechanisms like a good careers page to increase your chances of attracting the ideal candidate. Create a culture that allows your ideal employees to thrive. You must also communicate an image of excellence and back it up with your actions. In today’s digital world, 90% of all potential prospects will visit your website or social media network(s) before deciding to apply for an open position. If you do not have a solid website impression then you may be loosing out on attracting the ‘right’ candidate(s). The goal is to have employer brandingthe right person, in the right place at the right time. The natural result will be engagement, team synergy and innovation.

2. Keep the ‘wrong’ people out and let the ‘right’ people in

Trouble began once our house started letting every one in. The ‘wrong people’ forced the ‘right people’ out. We began to suffer academically, athletically and our parties began to suck. The sorority gals began to hang out at other houses and our morale and reputation began to sink. 

It is crucial in your interviewing process to properly assess each and every candidate. You need to have an employer brand strategy in place that allows you to filter the wrong people out and let the right people in. By building a strong employer brand strategy and aligning it with your recruitment processes – your business in time will reap the benefits. It will make your workplace a great place to be and your employees — through good management and leadership processes — will give you their best efforts.

3. Nurture excellence and innovation

Our fraternity was successful all those years because our guys had a sense of purpose to be the ‘best’ and the resources and the talent to do really cool things. For example, we always beat out other fraternities in the coveted homecoming float contest because we had more talent: engineers, architects, pre-med and creative majors. Our members would work tirelessly (without pay – I might add) for weeks to build and design the best homecoming float that equaled the Parade of Roses. When you have talented and engaged employees, everything falls in line and you as a business owner have the ability to take your business to new heights. Most owners spend too much time and attention on balance sheets and how to increase the bottom line. This is important, but the one thing they overlook that can truly impact those things is a sound approach to attracting and hiring the ‘right’ people. Once the ‘right’ people are in place, culture grows organically within the confines of a clear corporate and employer brand strategy.

Employer BrandIf you’ve ever been in a fraternity, this simple example can be applied to your approach on how to best attract, hire and retain the right people for your business. In B2C/customer-facing companies i.e.: banking, credit unions, hospitals, retail, restaurants, service industry, etc., your people are the key differentiator in a marketplace full of identical competitors. Without a strong brand and talent acquisition strategy, you risk the same disorders as my fraternity did.

Earlier this year, the fraternity closed because it failed to keep the ‘wrong’ people out. This story cuts close for a majority of companies today struggling to build great workplace environments, maintain innovation, satisfy customers and attract the ‘right’ talent. A “brand+people” approach will allow organizations today to build a strong corporate and employer brand that reduces turnover costs, attracts talent, fosters a culture of innovation and engages employees.  Contact us for a free 30 minute consultation if you’d like to learn how we can help you maximize your organization’s brand and people.

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Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands  who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.