Steve Canal was a star college athlete and now is a branding expert. He’s worked with an impressive list of companies including McDonald’s, Facebook, Coors Light, Delta, and Walmart. After some stumbles in his journey, he has learned many lessons of success in marketing and branding.
For example, Canal worked with the U.S. Army in its branding efforts. That work taught him the value of human connection. He led a national campaign that connected recruiters to potential soldiers looking for opportunities. The campaign involved wrapping hummers and jets in U.S. Army branding and turning them into interactive installations. It gave the brand identity, and made potential recruits feel invited and engaged.
His work has led him to other marketing and branding realizations from which other entrepreneurs and marketing and PR professions can learn.
FOUR THINGS STEVE CANAL WANTS YOU TO KNOW ABOUT MARKETING AND BRANDING (IN HIS OWN WORDS)
-What leads the campaign is research. I need to know what you’re passionate about, what motivates you, and what you’re trying to accomplish. For example, even though they may offer similar products; Company A and Company B need a unique offering that must be brought to life. You have to understand what’s important to each brand and create a package that says I’m paying attention to you, I know what’s important to you. I don’t call them clients, I call them partners because it’s a two way street.
-Who is the brand? What are they offering, and who are the people who care? Some organizations do focus groups. Take that extra step to get that insight. Times are changing, people are changing, there’s a new mindset within age demographics that don’t think like you as the brand. That’s where localizing your brand comes to play. You must find advisers and champions within those communities to get you that information, and listen to them.
-It’s important to know what your strengths and weaknesses are, and find opportunities to make your weaknesses a strength. If you’re super passionate about something or you need to know something then do it. Either way, you must prioritize what’s important for you to be able to do versus what you can outsource.
-Brands need to stop thinking they have all the answers by coming up with campaigns within their walls, and not having any diversity of thought. Many times you get into these rooms to pitch, and across the table there are a bunch of like minded people coming up with campaigns without being where their customer is. Diversity of thought will make or break brands in the future. If you’re not aligned with consumers then they won’t mess with you.