A Five-Point Plan for Building a Sturdy Brand

The following is an exclusive guest contribution from Amy Vale, VP of Global Research and Strategic Communications at Mojiva, Inc. (Mojiva and Mocean Mobile).

What makes a brand memorable? It’s a question that’s been asked by many marketers and one that I myself have faced in defining the branding strategy and positioning for two mobile brands – Mojiva and Mocean Mobile. Building one successful brand can be a gargantuan task for even the most adept marketing whiz; building two brands simultaneously, however, is another story.

Through it all, I’ve found myself looking to one brand that’s been a favorite of mine for years – Yves Saint Laurent. The brand’s marketing and creative teams have done an exceptional job in staying true and consistent to the brand over time, delivering an end-to-end brand experience that encompasses digital, in-store and everything in between, and cultivating brand loyalists who are ultimately fearless in defending every purchase made and being in-the-know about every single piece they own.

Just as YSL has taught me a few things over the years, I hope other marketers can learn from some of my own experiences. Here are five lessons that have helped me build two strong brands – simultaneously – from the ground up, in a noisy, crowded market.

Your customer drives your decisions. 

I don’t care what part of the business you sit in, whether it’s operations, technology, IT, sales, marketing or business development. A business is a business; the bottom line matters. It’s an easy and all too common mistake for business units to provide suggestions and forget that marketers are driven by results and ROI. If customers are responding to digital activities and finding value in blogs, or tweets, or webinars, then keep doing them. Consistently. Give them what THEY want. If you’re developing research, think about the type of content that’s relevant to your customer, not what your competitors are doing – unless it adds value. It doesn’t matter whether your brand is B2B or B2C because, at the end of the day, our job is to support the business in driving revenue and growing effectively.

Content is king.

I’m not the first person to say this, but yes, “Content is king.” Great content carries with it great power to both build relationships and drive sales. First, it’s important to know what constitutes great content. Is it unique? Does it reinforce your position as the go-to thought leader in the space? Does it demonstrate a clear stance on a debated topic? Does it differentiate you from competitors? Then you must add value. Don’t say something just to say it. Distribute all of your content across the right channels – research, e-newsletters, blogs, email marketing, videos and social media. Be strategic in both the type of content you produce and where each piece is released.

Go with your gut, not with the noise.

It’s really easy to get bogged down by the demands and requests of internal stakeholders. A sales deck request here, an event speaking opportunity request there, it happens a lot. The trick is not letting that noise overtake what you know to be the right approach. I’ve found more often than not, going with my gut pays off. Just make sure you always have a sound strategy to back up your thinking. “Because I said so,” is rarely well received.

Be in the know, but develop your own opinions.

Education is vital. Listen, absorb and learn as much as you can. Of course, that doesn’t mean those opinions should be taken as gospel. Be your own person, develop your own opinions and don’t be afraid to step out on the ledge with a less than popular view that could very well improve standards in the industry. Those who make themselves the outliers in a place where only “yes men” exist often find themselves being the ones who push an industry forward.

Be prepared to say “no” (a lot).

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that you can’t be afraid to hear or say the word “no.” It’s going to happen – a lot. I’d much rather say “no” to an opportunity than go into something half-cocked and lacking a substantial budget, resources and, most importantly, strategy to back it up and deliver results that count. The trick is to know how to deliver that two-letter word in a professional way by always backing it up with the reason. Again, “because I said so” will go down like a lead balloon. If all else fails and someone won’t take “no” for an answer, let them expend their energy, while you go and channel yours into something more productive.


About The Author

Amy Vale is VP of Global Research and Strategic Communications at Mojiva Inc., a leading global advertising display company with two successful brands – Mojiva and Mocean Mobile. Mojiva, the mobile ad network, reaches over 1.1 billion unique devices globally. Mocean Mobile, the mobile ad-serving platform, powers mobile revenue opportunities for publishers, developers, ad networks and app stores by giving them the ability to serve display ads to all mobile devices including smartphones and tablets. Follow Amy on Twitter at @AmyVale.