Building a better contract brand means telling a better story

Wednesday - 12/7/2011, 6:52pm EST

Eileen Cassidy Rivera, senior health marketing strategist, Keegan Silver

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By Jack Moore
Federal News Radio

Competing for a government contract takes a lot of time, energy and effort — but branding your company could help make landing those contracts easier.

Eileen Cassidy Rivera, a senior health marketing strategist for Keegan Silver, was vice president for communications and investor relations at Vangent when the company was named contractor of the year.

She joined In Depth with Francis Rose to discuss the secrets of government branding, a list which first appeared on Washington Technology.

Many of Rivera's tips and the secret of branding, as a whole, focus on telling a better story.

Rather than providing a laundry list of company offerings, Rivera said companies should provide a better "conversation-starter," by focusing on how a company helped a customer achieve its goals.

"It's really taking the conversation away from all the capabilities to what are the results," she explained.

That also applies to a company's missions statement, she added, which are too often prone to jargon and overly technical language.

Many companies "tend to write mission statements in the same way they would respond to an RFP," she said.

"A mission, and a vision, statement needs to be something that is easy to memorize, easy to recite," she said, citing the type of pitch that can be given in a short elevator ride. "It really needs to be memorable, something that you can wrap your company and your brand around. And more often than not, it's a story."

Rivera said especially in today's economic environment, budget-squeezed contractors may view branding as a luxury.

But building a better brand should be looked at as an investment, she said. "In today's environment, where cost is really trumping the best solution and the best value, it's really difficult sometimes to justify the budgets that companies typically had in the past to spend on advertising or marketing and branding."

As for sharing her secrets to success, Rivera acknowledged the "genie is out of the bottle ... But I'm happy to share my best practices. "

Click here to see the full list of branding best practices.