My Background in Branding
Matthew Stumm is the Founder and Creative Director at Stark / Raving Branding + Digital Marketing. He spent his early career in creative roles across the tech, finance, education, and luxury travel sectors. For the past 15 years, he served as creative director and Chief Creative Officer at a Boston-based life science marketing agency where he was named to PharmaVoice 100’s Most Inspiring People. Matthew sets the vision at Stark / Raving and has used his experience to deliver impactful campaigns for companies including Dell Computers, MAD Magazine, Eli Lilly, Skyjet, and Pfizer.
Top 3 Things an Entrepreneur Needs to Know About Branding
Performing a critical analysis of your position in the marketplace is an essential first step in developing an effective brand playbook. This includes a deep dive into the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) your company faces. Account for the current state of your brand, but add a layer of aspiration to help push your brand forward. Creating a SWOT matrix will help you identify where your offerings fall short and where you want to be as a company.
A brand is a living breathing entity – one that requires constant nurturing and refinement in order to break through and consistently resonate with your target customers. It reaches well beyond your logo and tagline and touches every aspect of your organization. Not only is it a critical component of any business plan, it serves as an essential playbook that galvanizes a team streamlines your company’s message, and firmly establishes your marketplace image.
Performing a critical analysis of your position in the marketplace is an essential first step in developing an effective brand. This includes a deep dive into the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) your company faces. Account for the current state of your brand, but add a layer of aspiration to help push your brand forward. Creating a SWOT matrix will help you identify where your offerings fall short and where you want to be as a company.
While you conduct your SWOT analysis, consider your competitors, how they present their offerings, and how they have evolved. Are their offerings comparable? Is there an opportunity to differentiate yours? A critical competitive review can identify weaknesses in their marketing strategy that create opportunities for your products or services.
The key to a successful messaging platform is to clearly and accurately represent your company, capabilities, and products. Your message can be forward-thinking — proactively positioning your brand for near-term growth — but the vision should be attainable. Consider your competition and use this opportunity to differentiate, counter-position your organization, and pique consumer interest. Once you have established your core messaging, create slight variations that deliver solutions to your target audience’s needs or pain points. In addition, brainstorm keywords that are relevant to your company. These will come in handy when you begin to explore promotional avenues.
Target Audience Personas
Today’s marketers can choose among a variety of promotional avenues. While many are wide-reaching in scope, the most cost-efficient platforms allow for near-precise targeting. Now more than ever, clearly defined target audience personas are vital for effective audience engagement. In addition to demographics, consider buying behaviors, interests, geography, and online habits. Audience personas extend beyond an ideal prospect profile and may include current customers, past customers, your sales pipeline, and key industry influencers.