You have the vision in your mind: what your brand stands for, its personality, what it promises to customers. But despite your best marketing efforts, sometimes brand initiatives don’t quite deliver your glorious vision. It’s probably time to re-evaluate your core brand identity, a practice you should actually do fairly often. Assess the what, why and how of your business to identify your purpose and what sets it apart from your competitors (which also requires some research of the competition). Once you’ve nailed down your objective, then you can start thinking about how best to communicate it to your target audience. These eight strategies will help you take your brand initiatives to the next level.
Establish creative brand initiatives and guidelines
Well-defined standards for brand identity are extremely important to ensuring consistency across content. Verbal guidelines set clear expectations for messaging, tone and voice. Direction is also necessary for all brand visuals, including colors, fonts, photography, logos, videos, etc. Your brand initiatives will match your vision if all creative contributors follow your established verbal and visual guidelines.
Inspire and involve your employees
When it comes to brand initiatives, never underestimate the influence of your employees. According to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, 71% of people think that employees are more believable than CEOs. Every customer-employee interaction is a reflection of your brand, and much of your staff is at the helm of the customer experience. Inspire and excite your employees with the latest product knowledge as well as clear expectations for customer communication. Employee engagement is key to a positive, consistent customer experience that delivers your brand vision.
Expand your approach across multiple channels
Your customers respond to media differently and use various platforms for searching, networking and media consumption. Your brand initiatives should be adapted to suit several different channels, and you can save time by using similar content across them all. Consider flexibility beyond just content marketing, and open yourself to different channels for things like customer ordering, scheduling of services and direct customer contact. A multimedia, multi-channel strategy will widen your reach and increase brand visibility.
Livestream your events
Livestreaming is a great way to engage consumers with your brand through opportunities they would otherwise be excluded from. And it requires little extra effort! You already have the event(s) planned. Simply choose which parts of the event you want to share, and assign the responsibilities of filming and social media monitoring. By offering access to an exclusive, live event, you stimulate conversation around your brand and give consumers a taste of what you have to offer.
Inject some fun and creativity into your campaigns
Let the fun, unique side of your brand personality shine through. Even organizations that deal with very serious subject matter, like cancer, have had success with campaigns that include light-hearted ads and visuals. Inspirational pieces are especially uplifting to brand image and awareness. Don’t limit yourself to easy memes and social media shares. Insert your brand into broader conversations about exciting, popular events. Consider even getting your CEO in on the action! The idea is to find opportunities to reach audiences with creativity and emotion. In doing so, you’ll set your brand apart from the competition.
Incentivize and showcase customer sharing
According to HubSpot, 81% of customers trust recommendations from family and friends over those from companies. Capitalize on modern consumers’ trust in peer feedback by encouraging customers to share their experiences with your products and services. You can do this within controlled environments, like email surveys and reviews submitted to your website, which give you the power to choose which responses to share publicly. Or you can take a much less controlled approach by prompting customers to use public platforms and hashtags to share user-generated images, videos and testimonials about your brand. The latter will likely produce a much larger response (a benefit that typically outweighs potential negative responses you may also receive). In either approach, incentives will motivate more customers to participate.
Reward your biggest fans
We all love our loyal customers. Return the love by rewarding customers with a loyalty program. Yotpo reports that 52% of customers will join a loyalty program, and 39% will spend more on a product even when there are cheaper options elsewhere. Consider offering exclusive discounts and incentives to your dedicated customers, which will make them feel acknowledged and appreciated – and likely, more eager to purchase again. You could also consider planning a grand gesture of gratitude to record and share publicly as a thank-you to a specific customer group for their kindness or participation. Cultivate loyalty, and your customers will become brand ambassadors.
Focus on being solution-based and customer-centric
Consumers want to purchase from companies they trust. Brand your business as helpful, transparent and sincere, and consumer trust will only grow. Thorough understanding of your customer journey is essential to building a trustworthy image. Audit every customer touchpoint with your business, asking yourself, “Is this customer-friendly?” For your content marketing, also be mindful of the balance of self-promotional content and useful information you offer audiences. Keep the customer experience first in mind with all campaigns and content to boost your brand reputation.
Technology and consumer needs are ever-changing, and some studies show that nearly half of customers will leave a brand they’re loyal to if a competitor is better at meeting their needs. Thus, businesses must regularly revisit their purpose and marketing strategies to stay relevant. Moreover, consistency of service and messaging is fundamental to growing consumer confidence. Aim to work these eight ideas into your marketing initiatives, and your magnificent brand vision will soon be realized.