Understanding how you brand is perceived and positioned in the marketplace is absolutely critical. This is not new “news” to most people. Before investing substantial time in official research and long-term testing, you might find it useful to do a little “under the radar analysis” to get a quick feel of your stake holder’s opinions regarding your brand positioning. My thought, just casually ask them.

The idea for this came from a discussion I had with the CEO of an international architectural firm who were coming to terms with their brand. I asked him just what do they do at his firm? He quickly gave me his take (elevator speech) on the firm’s qualifications.

I thanked him and asked if he felt that his employees would answer that question in more or less the same way. He thought that maybe they would, but he wasn’t certain. I told him to walk up to the first person he sees the next time he is at his office and ask them, “What do we do here at ABC Company?” I mentioned that he might be surprised by what he hears.

Now he was intrigued.

It turns out that he went back to his office and made this into a small project. He assigned a manager to do exactly what I suggested, but on a larger scale. He asked several dozen employees “the question.” The answers fed his appetite for a better understanding of how his own people viewed their brand for better or for worse. The result of “the question” spurred him on. To finish off this exercise, he asked the same question of his 250 shareholders. Most of whom were engineers, and were pleased to discover that their understanding of what the company did was summed up in a hand full of similar words. They got it.

This simple exercise will show you very quickly how strong your brand positioning is and whether it may need to consider updating or not. Of course, you don’t have to make it into the kind of exercise I outlined above in my example, but just by asking an innocent question, you can find out an enormous amount of information about your brand. The fact is, nobody ever asks. Your brand just chugs along, swaying back and forth in the marketplace and unless you pull it in for analysis from time to time, you simply fail to recognize when it goes off center.

Don’t be afraid to ask. Try it and come back here and let us all know what you’ve discovered. Do your people get it or does your brand positioning need a little tweaking?

About the Author: Ed Roach

Ed Roach is a Consultant and Marketer. For more than 30 years, he has worked with hundreds of successful small businesses by helping them develop unique brand positioning strategies that differentiates them from their competition. Roach appreciates working with companies who see the value of going beyond mere slogans and have a desire to sell from compelling positions. He consults predominantly with businesses facilitating his proprietary branding process. This branding process effectively focuses a company’s brand, delivering a positioning strategy that can be taken to their marketplace. Roach is the go-to guy on branding locally and internationally having been featured on CBC, CNN, CTV, CBS Radio and Profit magazine. He is also currently one of the EPICentre’s Community Mentors.