Branding and Positioning

Branding is the heart and soul of a marketing campaign. By creating greater awareness and enhancing reputation, a brand impacts how clients and customers perceive the value of an organization’s products and services and drives purchasing and investment decisions.

At MJ Lilly Associates, we partner with our clients to build and refresh brands. We engage in a comprehensive yet streamlined process to develop an organization’s verbal and visual messaging – from positioning statements, key messages and taglines that articulate an organization’s value proposition, to the identity and graphic standards that lay the groundwork for a strategic and fully-integrated marketing communications program.

The following is an overview of our process:


Building a Brand

New language for graphic:  Phase I

  • Brand Analysis and Strategy Review
  • Information Gathering

New language for graphic:  Phase II

  • Positioning and Visual Identity
  • Developing key themes and graphic standards

New language for graphic:  Phase III

  • Create the Brand Experience
  • Bringing the brand to life through a fully-integrated marketing communications program

Phase 1: Brand Analysis and Strategic Review

Communications Audit

  • Websites: Internet and Intranet sites
  • Advertising
  • Media: press releases and press coverage
  • Presentations and RFPs including sales and investor documents
  • Employee communications
  • Marketing Materials: brochures, product pieces
  • Financial communications: annual reports, earnings releases
  • Executive communications:  speeches, articles and letters to employees
  • Client /customer communications
  • Government and public affairs outreach

Competitive Review

  • Key competitor identification
  • Market positioning  and messaging analysis
  • Best practices:  business and communications

Market Analysis and Research

  • Perception audits of key stakeholders:  interview media and analysts
  • Client satisfaction surveys:  interviews and online surveys
  • Market research: retain third party research firm
  • Focus groups to test themes and product/service strengths

Interview Executive and Management Team

  • Determine what the company was, is, and wants to be
  • Determine key business priorities
  • Identify major trends and opportunities
  • Examine weaknesses to thwart mine fields

Strategic Findings Report

  • Cull findings
  • Identify key issues and opportunities
  • Create recommendations
  • Generate report as basis for positioning

Phase 2: Creative Development – Visual Identity & Positioning

Positioning Platforms

  • Articulate the organization’s value proposition
  • Develop key supporting themes and messages
  • Develop boilerplate descriptors and elevator speeches

Strategic Messaging

  • Develop messages for various sub-businesses and client groups
  • Conduct messaging workshop(s) to ensure buy-in
  • Apply across multiple formats

Corporate Identity and Graphic Design

  • Logos including typefaces and graphic marks
  • Typeface and color palettes
  • Brand standards and style guidelines

Tagline Creation

  • Clever, emotionally resonating language to support the positioning

Phase 3: Create the Brand Experience

Develop strategic and integrated marketing and Corporate Responsibility programs.


Corporate Responsibility  

Corporate Responsibility signifies how a company operates on a sustainable basis economically, socially and environmentally. A Corporate Responsibility profile increasingly impacts a company’s ability to sell its products, recruit and retain talent, and enhance its valuation and stock distribution.

As a result, Corporate Responsibility has become a business imperative in helping to support a company’s brand.  By establishing a business and cultural identity, it helps to differentiate a company in the marketplace and better cement relationships with stakeholders – from employees and customers to regulators and investors.

MJ Lilly Associates takes a comprehensive approach to Corporate Responsibility programs.  We conduct program assessments to analyze strengths, weaknesses and competitive opportunities.  We create both small and “signature” corporate responsibility programs to proactively support a strategic philanthropic effort or address a pressing public affairs or environmental issue.  And we develop a range of marketing activities — on a 360 basis — to promote the program and increase awareness.

Program Analysis and Assessment:

We will conduct an in-depth review of your CR program to assess its overall strengths, weaknesses, and communications effectiveness. Our process includes:

Step 1: Due Diligence – Scrutinizing your program and interviewing your CR leaders to glean insights

Step 2: Competitive Review – Comparing your CR program to those of your key competitors

Step 3: Evaluation – Gauging your program’s effectiveness and ROI

Step 4: Report – Delivering findings and recommendations

Program Expansion and Development

We combine market knowledge and creativity to propose new and additional initiatives to enhance your CR program and generate promotional opportunities.

  • Identify public affairs platforms
  • Develop and brand signature programs
  • Establish strategic partnerships with other businesses, non- profits, experts and high-profile personalities
  • Create cause-marketing efforts

360 Promotion – A Full Range of Possibilities

  • Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Reports
  • Web strategies, blogs and social networking sites
  • Merchandise and cause-marketing products
  • Special events and experiential marketing
  • CEO and leadership platforms
  • Employee communications
  • Media relations outreach
  • Advertising opportunities
  • Partnerships and cross-marketing

The most comprehensive CR programs take a 360 approach and incorporate the following elements:

  • Governance: Ethics training, meaningful transparency and CR committees on the Board of Directors
  • Products and Services: Safe, healthy and/or environmentally friendly offerings and protocols
  • Diversity: Cross-cultural hiring and professional development
  • HR initiatives: Wellness, work-life balance, mentoring, and volunteer programs
  • Public Affairs Commitments: Informing the public on critical issues and addressing crisis situations
  • Cause-marketing: Donations of a percentage of product sales to a cause
  • Strategic Philanthropy: Focused giving that reflects a company’s business
  • Community Relations: Efforts that support communities
  • Green programs: Clean-tech, pollution control, recycling and carbon credits
  • R&D: Innovative explorations for a better tomorrow