What the Company Faced
Before the 2008 recession, Quad Knopf, Inc. was the first choice among competitors in its regional market for community planning, engineering, and land surveying. The recession weakened demand and increased competition in Quad Knopf’s regional market. The company reduced its staff size to survive new market conditions. The firm faced strong competitors with more staff and larger marketing budgets.
We developed a three tiered approach.
First Initiative: Eliminate Brand Chaos
The firm’s Brand Image is a living thing that resides inside the mind of a person, whether she is a customer, employee, vendor, or any other person who has ever thought of Quad Knopf. It is what that person thinks of, and how that person feels about the Quad Knopf and what the company stands for. That means Quad Knopf may have several different brand images out in the world, because it may be different for different people. It also means that at some level, we cannot completely control our brand image.
Nevertheless, we can control our Brand Vision. This is the corporate identity we wish to create for ourselves. It is what we strive to be in the minds of people. If we can create a clear, compelling, and operational Brand Vision, we stand a much better chance of controlling more of our actual Brand Image.
So in order to reign in the brand chaos that existed in the company, we initiated a brief two meeting process in which we laid out QK's Brand Vision in a document that is shared within the company, and consulted when making marketing/messaging decisions. This document laid the foundation for a consistent brand messaging strategy.
As part of this process, we also created a Graphic Style Guidelines document. This document sets the boundaries around all of the different ways that the company is represented visually in the market. It is another great tool to avoid brand chaos.
Second Initiative: Develop a New Website
I propose developing a strategic website plan that incorporates the company’s Brand Vision, and outlines the functional requirements needed to make the site a flexible, working member of the business development team. When the plan is developed, I will lead the search for a first class website development and design agency to execute our vision.
Third Initiative: Build an Ongoing Industry Insight Engine
Quad Knopf has created a business development strategy centered around the strength of its relationships with gatekeepers, influencers, decision-makers, and the community at large. This marketing initiative will add value to the business development work that the company is already doing by creating materials and digital content that are focused on starting new conversations and being useful to our target market.
This is marketing with the long view in mind. It is not about making the most noise. It is about making the most friends, and building the most trust. The question that drives this initiative is, “How can we help our clients and our non-clients with our expertise and experience?”