Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Brand Strategy is Multi-Faceted, not Multi-Faced

"Facing" is a great term used in marketing circles for decades.  Originally, it referred to the level and amount of shelf space a brand received in retail and centered around the "P" word, "place," from the  4 P's of Marketing. Today, it's used more than ever as it relates to the promotional strategy and audience mix a brand is pursuing.  In marketing meetings everywhere, statements or questions arise about a brand's facing such as "what's your consumer facing?" or "our brand also has a business-to-business facing," or "our online facing..."  Still a great term, but the context has shifted dramatically.

The more it comes up in conversations, the more we need reminding that a brand should only have one face.  Sometimes the way it faces toward different audiences, will change, however, the profile of the brand should be consistent. 

Different messaging should be used to motivate different audiences, however, the brand essence should remain consistent.

Yes, today's successful brands need to work hard against multiple audiences and markets.  But that doesn't mean they need a different persona against each strategy. Maintaining a consistent platform is key to securing a unique position that your brand can own, regardless of who it's targeting. Remember, audiences cross-over from consumer to influencer to decision-maker.  Top brands create and secure a lofty enough platform to transcend each audience group and support a single-minded approach.  Whether you're a buyer for a national sporting goods chain, a runner, or a retail store manager, Nike's brand promise of "self fulfillment and achievement" remains the same.  Headlines and images can be used to convey different messages, however, the brand essence of "Just Do It" is consistent.

Take a leading healthcare brand that owns a position of "empathy" - a deep understanding of the trials and tribulations of its' customers experiences. Whether you're a patient, family member, online visitor, referring physician, or employee, the brand stands up to the same promise and doesn't show a different face to every audience. And, yes, the brand experience has to be delivered on each and every time.

What's your brand facing?

Every brand faces challenges from different audience groups.  And every brand faces new opportunities from different media channels; online, traditional, earned, paid, or owned. But regardless of the "facing," the personality and relevance of your brand must remain the same.  Otherwise, it will leave your head - and those of your customers - spinning. 

Rob Rosenberg is President of 
Springboard Brand & Creative Strategy, a brand strategy and communications firm specializing in hospital and healthcare branding, located in the Chicagoland area. For more information on Springboard or to discuss this and other ideas, please contact Rob at 847.398.4920 or

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