Building A Brand – Internally and Externally

moleculebendersThis topic will have at least two blog posts so as to tell the whole story. It’s about building a differentiating brand for a business unit first within the company, and then taking it to the overall business division, which meant taking it externally.


At a chemical company, the vice president of the coatings, polymers, and resins (CPR) business unit came to me asking for help in building a differentiating brand for their specific unit within the overall business division. (And no, we could not play off the CPR acronym!)

As a first step, we brought in an outside agency, and things got off to a decent start. However, as we went along in the process, the service became poor and slow. In fact, at one meeting with the VP and his team, the person representing the agency actually stopped the conversation to ask how to contact MY boss, the vice president of communications. It was clear that she was looking for more inroads to get more business, and we decided that if she wasn’t going to focus on the work she was getting paid to do, then we didn’t need her. So I fired the agency. (Needless to say, I filed that learning moment away, and remind myself of it as I now work for myself!)

Going forward

The agency was gone and we were back to square one. To be honest, I was quite excited because it was a chance to see what my graphic designer (with whom I had worked a long time) and I could bring to the table.

We sat down with the VP and his team, and asked a lot of questions. Then we did something shocking. We LISTENED. Yes! We listened to what they were saying, asked more questions, and listened to what they weren’t saying.

The issues

After we had these conversations, we determined the following issues:

  • Confusion with the other business divisions and their respective approaches to common markets (coatings/inks)
  • Target audience (lab chemists) in diverse and fragmented markets are hard to reach
  • 3X size of historical business and still targeting >10% growth/year meant there was an absolute need for better efficiency in communicating their message as specialty intermediate supplier.

The objectives

After confirming the issues were correct, i.e., we discussed them with the business to ensure we were on the same page (second shocking moment), we moved on to determining the objectives. They included:

  • Building image campaign
  • Research identity
  • Research customer perceptions
  • Identify audiences and how to best reach them
  • Identify message that will resonate with customers
  • Goal of final message:
    • Can be used with all audiences
    • Will play to ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ issues
    • Will be a positive, motivating sentiment
    • Will be consistent with evolving corporate messaging.

Then came a third shocking moment. We reviewed the objectives with the business unit and confirmed we were on the same page!

The cliffhanger

As this post is already over 500 words, I’ll leave you with this: Everything done to this point ensured we understood what the business unit – CPR – wanted, thought they wanted, and what they really wanted.

Next time, I’ll share the positioning, personality, and both the internal and external communication plan/implementation. (And share a couple of original ads that definitely stood out from the crowd.)

In the meantime, please share your thoughts and let me know if you have any questions about the above.

The post “Building A Brand – Internally and Externally” appeared first on Fumbling Towards Epiphany.

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Susan Cellura is a marketing communications professional with over 20 years of experience. She is a dynamic communications professional and enthusiastic team-builder, with a progressive history of success in designing and implementing communications programs for global organizations. A strategic thinker with the ability to understand the needs of multiple audiences and deliver solutions, Susan is a results-oriented problem-solver with exceptional interpersonal and negotiation abilities. Having worked in a variety of global industries, she has grown business communications in her current position via a strong mixture of strategic resources, including social media.

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