Branding essentials: 6 P's + synergy = success

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Many marketers and merchants first learned about the 4 P's in one of Philip Kotler's college textbooks. We can recite Kotler's college textbooks. We can recite them by heart: product, price, promotion, place. These aspects of marketing were ingrained in us case study after case study.

Now, as we are leading multichannel brands in ever-changing and continually demanding competitive environments, we realize we not only need to pay very close attention to those 4 P's, we also need to add two more P's to this mix: People and passion.

A synergistic multichannel brand requires that all 6 P's not only be in place but be consistently viewed through a customer-centric experiential lens. Let's look at each one individually first.

PEOPLE

Your people are your brand. Do you have the right people in the right places? Are they challenging you? Are they helping take the brand to its full potential? If not, they are not the right people. You need brand ambassadors that treat your brand as though it was their own business.

PASSION

Do you have passionate people in your key positions? That is, besides the technical and analytical abilities to get the job done, do they live your brand? A simple question but one that can make or break your brand experience.

PRODUCT

Are all your products reflective of your brand? Do you have some products that sell well but do not enhance your brand? If so, edit, edit. What are the top 10 products that are most representative of who you are? Are they featured in prominent places across all channels?

PRICE

When is the last time your reviewed your competitive pricing position? What is the real value you are offering customers? Is your pricing structure representative of your brand?

PROMOTION

How do you handle your customer call to actions? Are they in synch with your brand voice and personality? How do you move excess inventory? Are your sales also in synch with your brand voice and personality?

PLACE

Place means just that - where customers find you - in the mailbox, on the Web, in a bricks and mortar location. They are expecting just one you. Are you presenting a unified place or do you have as many personalities as places?

THE PAYOFF

Are all 6 of your P's in alignment? When they are, they work together to create a unified brand experience for your customers. The 6 P's are worth evaluating often. Worth strategizing about often. Worth communicating about often. Successful brands do. Do you? It's essential.

Andrea Syverson is president of IER Partners, Black Forest, CO. Reach her at asyverson@ierpartners.com.

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