The concept of “branding” has never been more complicated thanks to social media, content marketing, the younger generation and advancing technology. Being on-trend, relevant, inspiring, purposeful and successful seems like a feat all its own – one that is harder to achieve every time an iPhone, tablet and computer is turned on.
So what can we do to market our brand effectively, in today’s world of ever evolving consumer tastes, preferences and advertising mediums? Here are six branding strategies each marketing professional should keep in mind next time the concept of branding is brought to the table:
1. See Consumer Engagement That Others Don’t: People like surprises and variety. While everything is relative to your brand and the engagement experience you want to create, don’t be too predictable and afraid to mix it up. Consumers reevaluate their needs on a daily basis; by refreshing your brand and how you talk to your consumers semi-regularly, you are steering them in your direction, instead of simply reacting to their needs.
2. Keep it Simple: One of the biggest mistakes companies make when rebranding is the belief that a more complicated UVP (unique value proposition) makes the brand more appealing to a wider audience. The strongest brand identities are those that are simple. People don’t have time to figure out what your brand is and what you stand for; consumers want brands to be straightforward. Your brand identity is powerful – don’t muddle it by trying to cover too many bases.
3. Inspire and Communicate: If your brand is not a lifestyle that inspires people, the influence of your messaging will quickly wane. Brands that see the most success and garner lifelong consumer loyalty are those that continually bring the brand identity to life in a tangible way. With brand messaging that makes consumers feel as if they are a part of your team, you will attract not just customers, but spokespeople for your brand.
4. Continuous Innovation: Lack of innovation, combined with poor timing and less than stellar execution has proven to be the downfall of even the strongest brands over the years. In the last decade, we have seen this come true for giants such as Blackberry, Blockbuster and JC Penny and yet many executives are still scratching their heads. Timing isn’t about when your brand is ready – it is ensuring you’re in sync with your audience’s needs. Creativity is important with new products, packaging and locations, but if your audience isn’t ready, than there is no way to be successful.
5. Promote a Spirit of Giving: Being a great brand isn’t just about market share and profitability – it’s about sharing the success of your brand with the communities that got you there. Take time to interact in ways that go above the obvious (ahem, Twitter shout outs.) Look into sponsorships for a cause your brand aligns with, expand your outreach with the local community and support charitable organizations. By fully deploying your CSR (corporate social responsibility) your brand will show gratitude for its success, making it more relatable.
6. Leave a Legacy: Just as many leaders do when making succession plans, your brand should evaluate the difference it is trying to make and the legacy it wants to leave behind. What is your brand known for: Innovation? Technology? Humanitarian efforts? By deciding what your brand wants to “leave behind,” customers will become more hands-on in your evolution and more invested in your future.
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