Manufacture a Brand with Ed Delia

With so many brands out there vying for attention, the question of what makes a brand stand out becomes increasingly pertinent.

How does a brand become more than just a name or a logo, evolving into a recognizable identity synonymous with unique values and quality?

That is something that this week’s featured guest is sharing.

Ed Delia, President of Delia Associates, talks about the process for manufacturing a brand in the B2B space in the digital age during his appearance on the Management Blueprint podcast.

Whether you’re a seasoned business owner, a startup entrepreneur, or a budding marketer, understanding the steps to craft a distinct brand in the B2B sector is crucial. 

Let’s explore the proprietary “4 D” process that has helped brands find their voice and claim their space in the marketplace.

 

4 Ds to Manufacture a Brand

      1. Discover

The first step in the brand manufacturing process is ‘Discover’. This phase is akin to laying the foundation of a building; it’s about thorough exploration and gathering substantive insights. 

During internal discovery, it’s critical to engage with the stakeholders and representatives of the brand. Questions like “Who are you?”, “What are your core values?”, and “How do you perceive yourself?” help unearth the intrinsic attributes of the brand.

However, understanding how external parties view the brand is equally vital. Engaging with customers and other key stakeholders provides a mirror to reflect the external perception of the brand. 

This could involve direct feedback or broader market research. What do they believe the brand represents? How do they feel when interacting with the brand? These perspectives are invaluable.

Lastly, analyzing the competitive landscape provides a clear picture of where the brand stands in its market segment. Who are the main competitors? What are they doing differently? 

By triangulating the internal views, external perceptions, and competitive context, a brand can gather comprehensive insights that serve as a robust framework for the subsequent stages of brand development. This phase sets the groundwork, starting broad and gradually honing in on what makes the brand unique.

Liken the process to an hourglass. 

At the top you are at the ‘Discover’ phase where you’re learning as the sand is being poured.

      2. Define

Then, you’re getting narrower in the ‘Define’ stage where you narrow down to the essence of your brand—identifying not only who your target audience is but also deeply understanding their fears, needs, and aspirations. 

This understanding is pivotal in shaping the brand’s message and how it positions itself in the marketplace.

The brand personality, which is essentially an understanding of if the brand were a person, what kind of person would it be? Would it be smart? Would it be funny? Would it be serious? Would it be rugged? 

For instance, consider Hallmark, a brand synonymous with warmth and affection. To cater to a different audience segment craving edgier content, Hallmark introduced Shoebox, a sub-brand that adopted a distinctly different tone. 

So, while Hallmark is for your usual love and care greetings, Shoebox is more on the racy and dirty side.

This strategic differentiation highlights the importance of a brand’s personality in dictating the style and substance of its communications.

If a brand is serious, it wouldn’t be playful or funny. If a brand is innovative, it wouldn’t be common. If a brand is rugged, it would look anything but soft.

And then you go further into defining the brand’s value proposition.

Also define what this brand can do that nobody else can quite do like it?

Finally, the brand connection: what is the central connecting idea that’s going to unite this unique brand with that distinct target audience to form a relationship.

This relationship can be a customer relationship or employee relationship or investor relationship or community relationship.

At the end of the day, the brand is the brand.

You don’t change who you are when you’re going to reach out to investors for money versus who you are when you’re going to reach out to somebody to work there versus who you are when you’re reaching out to the marketplace to engage new customers. 

The brand at its core should be authentically unique and then the modes of expression may change based on who it’s reaching out to. 

      3. Differentiate

Emerging from the narrow focus of the ‘Define’ stage, the ‘Differentiate’ phase broadens the scope again, aiming to set the brand apart in a crowded marketplace. 

This stage is about pinpointing and articulating the unique message of the brand. How can these messages be visually and verbally expressed to convey authenticity and distinction?

Creating an emotional connection is central to this phase. Foster a bond with the audience that goes beyond transactions. 

Resonate with them on a deeper level, evoking feelings and experiences that are uniquely tied to the brand. This emotional engagement is what will make the brand memorable and preferred over competitors.

      4. Deploy

Finally, the ‘Deploy’ phase represents the culmination of all previous efforts—putting the brand out into the world. This stage is about actively engaging the target audience through strategic marketing efforts and communication strategies. 

It’s the practical application of the brand’s messaging, ensuring that every touchpoint with the audience reinforces the brand’s identity and values.

The deployment should be consistent, yet flexible enough to adapt to different platforms and audience segments. Whether it’s through digital marketing, traditional advertising, or experiential events, every initiative should serve to strengthen the brand’s presence and influence in its market.

 

Conclusion:

Crafting a brand is not just about logos or taglines; it’s a meticulous process of discovery, definition, differentiation, and deployment that requires strategic thinking and creative execution. 

By following the “4 Ds to Manufacture a Brand,” as outlined by Ed Delia, businesses can forge a brand identity that resonates deeply with their target audience, distinguishes them in the marketplace, and fosters enduring relationships.