Investing on Brand Identity Development

Many business owners, especially the entrepreneurs think that they would invest on advertising and branding exercises, once the product has started rolling in the market. You will also come across some people who are not at all bothered about branding and advertising. Especially if you look at the small business sector, the owners are more concerned about developing the product and selling it in the market. Do they really bother about product branding?

Another interesting point to note is that, small business owners often look for a name or a certain kind of packaging or a certain color just because they love to see it. Sometimes the target market too falls in love with the story. However, in most of the cases, the target market fails to identify their “wants” with the product. The problem is that they are pulling the wrong end of the thread. If you need a sustainable and profitable business, you must recognize what your target market needs or wants to hear from you. They are list bothered about what you think. You must remember that they do not want to buy your product – they want a solution to their problem and they want it as they want.

If you are the only producer in your business category, you can plan your business strategy, as you want. However, if you are investing on an already established sector, you cannot wait for your product to get popular all by its own. You must develop a unique selling proposition to make the target market understand why they should invest in your product or service. In addition, in such situations, the ideal position is to start from the very beginning.

If you ask a seasoned branding expert about the most critical step of brand positioning, he or she would point towards the initial days of product development. Especially as almost every day a new product is launched for your target market, it is very tough to grab their attention in the initial days. Some people would say that there had been no new addition in their product category for last few months and thus the situation would be easier for them. You are making a great mistake here. Your target market also needs to buy other products from other categories for regular life. In the initial days, you must fight with everyone, especially to inform your target market that you belong to a specific category and you can solve one of his or her problems. There is no shortcut to this problem.

Now, many times, branding experts are assigned to re-launch a already established product in the same market segment. This happens when the producer did not pay enough attention to the branding of the product in the initial days of product development. There are both positive and negative sides to this problem. The positive side is that people already know about the product and you may have enough information to identify why the product is not doing as expected. At the same time you are bound to face some unique problems too. For example, if the product is not doing well, there are high chances that the target market has developed a negative impression about the product. It has developed a negative brand. Here you are assigned with another burden – you must erase the negative feelings about the product from your target market’s psyche before re-launching the old product.

So, what is the right time to develop a brand or a branding strategy?


Test Planning for System and Acceptance Testing: Test to Ensure System Meets Requirements and is Fit for Purpose

Testing is scheduled as part of the project planning process and whilst it is recognised as critical to a successful project it is often squeezed for time and resources. Unfortunately, faults not found during software testing are often found in business use when it is more expensive to fix and has a greater impact to the business.

Purpose of Software Testing

Testing can be carried out in a number of ways from manual testing to automating it. If people are appropriately trained it can be carried out by existing staff, temporary or contract staff, outsourced to another organisation or by a software program. All of these approaches share a common purpose:

  • To ensure that the requirements are met by the system
  • To find software faults during testing so that they are not found later during production use
  • To accept [or not] the system as fit for purpose and ready for business use

Approach to Software Testing is Defined in Test Plan

The approach to software testing is determined by the project and is documented in a test plan:

  • What type of testing is done
  • What procedures need to be followed [record results, reporting faults…]
  • How many cycles of testing are planned [test-fault-fix-retest]
  • Who does the testing and what documented tests do they do
  • When, where and how the testing is done, what equipment and accounts are used

Types of Software Testing

There are a number of different types of software testing and each type has a specific purpose. The four general categories are:

  1. Informal Testing – a useful technique to confirm correct test cases, identify gaps in testing or find problems early. It is also useful to investigate potential risk areas by informally “testing”
  2. Unit Testing – usually carried out by IT and is focused on the software developed unit or module each unit is tested in isolation. For packaged software or vendor supplied products unit testing is either assumed or confirmed to have been carried out by the vendor
  3. System Testing – usually carried out by IT prior to business performing [user] acceptance testing. Testing is designed to exercise the entire system including both functional and non-functional aspects. If the system or application passes this testing it moves on to acceptance testing
  4. Acceptance Testing – usually carried out by the business and is the final stage of testing with a decision as to whether the system is fit for purpose and is ready for deployment to the business

The main types of testing:

  • Functional – system functions [enter, validate, save, retrieve, find record…] as expected or does what is required including things like usability and security
  • Error – system handles error conditions correctly for example if incorrect data is entered
  • Non-functional – system does correctly other tasks that typically do not involve user interaction for example batch jobs or system backup and restore
  • Performance – user functions are performed in a timely and acceptable manner. This is especially important for systems with a geographically distributed set of users
  • Multi-user – system handles correctly multiple users doing the same thing at the same time – changing a record at the same time
  • Load or volume – system performs appropriately under defined load conditions – number of users using the system at any one time

Test Planning

Test planning is part of project planning and is defined by the project in the test plan. The test plan documents the approach to testing and selected types of testing. The tests themselves are written into test cases ready for execution. Effective project planning of this phase is essential with over-optimism often shown in the time and effort to agree test plan, write test cases, execute tests and document results.