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Apr 2013 13

is your brand roadworthy?

Posted in blog

My brother is a driving instructor.  He teaches his pupils an acronym that they are supposed to check before they set off on any journey –  Petrol, Indicators, Lights, Oil, Tyres – PILOT.

It is a lesson that is supposed to ensure a driver’s vehicle is performing at its maximum and is prepared for any eventuality that they may meet on the road.

The same safety check can apply to brands.

Especially in B2B markets, time and time again I speak to managers at the top of organisations who cannot understand why their brand is not performing as it should – despite them ploughing huge amounts of budget into marketing.

An outsider’s perspective, acting as a potential customer, often reveals the reasons.

And one of the main ones?  Internal brand knowledge.

The brand evangelists – those people within an organisation who are meant to deliver on what the brand marketing communications are promising – oftentimes have been completely overlooked.  And we’re not talking the sales teams here.  We’re talking anyone who interacts with customers and potential customers, from recptionists to implementation.  Sure, they have had an email from the Head of Marketing and are vaguely aware that something is happening, but no-one has really made sure they are fully equipped to deal with any enquiries should they be asked.

The result?  Lack of integration, zero joined up thinking, and a mismatch between the brand promise and the delivery.

In other words the wheels fall off.

That golden nugget you’ve spent all that money on attracting goes to your competition, or is left with a less than favourable impression.

In consumer markets, thousands is spent on researching point of sale behaviors and the science behind the tiniest changes that make the difference between brand choice.  For some reason in B2B, where the purchase decision is often stretched out over months, the same scrutiny is not applied.

To counter act this you need to consider your touchpoints.  A touchpoint is any interaction with your brand that can affect a person’s perception of it. Touchpoints can be surprising as not everyone follows the neat marketing path you have laid out for them so thoughtfully.  All potential touchpoints ideally have to be considered and addressed.

Some potential customers may see an ad somewhere, recall the company name later and simply phone directories to get your number.  Are you prepared?  Do your receptionists have the correct forwarding details and are aware of the brand launch?  Does everyone who might possibly interact with potential customers have the information they need to help this future revenue stream to their destination?

To help you think about this, here’s a quick checklist to consider when you think about your company or product brand, especially if you’re launching a new one, and see how it’s prepared for the rocky road of commercial competition.


    • Do you fully understand your brands key value proposition and it’s unique selling points?  (If you don’t how will anyone else?)
    • Do you understand all your target market touchpoints and where they are? (Not just marcomms and sales teams)
    • Does everyone who interacts at those touchpoints understand your brand values and USP’s, and have the information and tools they need to move the customer along the sales chain?
    • Do all of your non-personal communications at your touchpoints evangelise your brand values and USP’s in their messages, design style, execution?
    • If you were to try and contact your organisation through any means at any time to enquire about your brand – would your company be able to safely navigate you to the information you need to make a decision?


The reality of the driving acronym is that like most of us, I often just get in the car and start driving. I’m usually busy and I’ve got things to do.  It’s only when the car fails its MOT that I notice the tyres are balder than my head.

In marketing it’s often the same.  The pressure to get out there is often great, and who really has time to consider every single possible detail before launch?

However, by sitting back and taking some time to consider the points above, you may well save yourself some potentially costly crashes on that road ahead.


Posted by:  Rob Paton, Director, The Marketing Box