“Brand is really everything you do. It’s not just your advertising, your brand name or the press release. It’s the experience you create over time." - Catherine Ostheimer, Director of Marketing Communications for GE Capital Americas.
Are you trying to develop the brand of your startup? Clarify the identity of your established business? Here are 5 easy ways to improve your brand.
1. Create a Core Identity
In order to distinguish yourself from your competition, you must define the things that make your brand different (and better!) than the others. Show your potential customers how your brand will improve their lives. You must identify what Ostheimer calls the "DNA of the organization" — or, if biology wasn't your thing — the personality, values, attributes and strengths that will inform every decision your company makes.
2. Make it an Experience
Your brand is not your product, your name, your advertising campaigns, or your media appearances, but all of these and more collectively. Make sure that everyone who works for you emulates the values associated with your brand. Marketing is not limited to a select group of people within your company — it should be performed by everyone who works to create that unique brand at all times.
3. Interact with your Clients
Social media is the future. No, this is not just an excuse to justify our Facebook addictions. As Ed Roach, author of The Reluctant Salesperson, writes, "Social media has one very important perspective to share with brand management — the conversation. Like branding, social media is all about the conversation and building effective relationships. They are perfectly suited to one another." In order to develop these relationships, you must facilitate a continuous dialogue with your clients. Consistently create new blog content, reach out through social media platforms, and ask for feedback from your audience. In an age that promotes and expects instant gratification, social media can also be used for quick and easy customer service. If a customer has a question or a problem, try to ensure that it will be addressed in live time via Facebook or Twitter, in addition to troubleshooting over the phone.
4. Be Consistent!
Consistency builds brand recognition and trust. If McDonald's suddenly had purple arches instead of yellow, it would be confusing. "If you are strongly known for something—because you are very clear and consistent with that message—then the people who benefit from your offering will come to you instead of your competitor," says Kirsten Dixson, a personal branding strategist out of our very own Boston.
5. Target your Audience
This may be the most important one! It is at once an individual necessity and an all-encompassing brand management strategy. In order to identify the correct medium and content through which to reach your clients, you must ask yourself 3 questions:
"Who is my target audience and where are they located?"
"What kind of information are my key customers and prospects looking for?"
"Where are they getting that information right now?"
You want to reach your audience through the channels that they are already using, and then provide them with the information that they are looking for. By focusing your marketing efforts in the right way, you can ensure that your brand is being noticed by the right people (namely, your prospective clients!)
Does this seem overwhelming? Whether you are uncomfortable with social media platforms, unsure of your targeted buyer personas, or simply do not have the time to address these steps toward better brand management, we can help! Responsive Inbound Marketing can take care of all of your inbound marketing, which will solidify your brand's identity and nurture your customers throughout their relationship with your brand. Here's is a white paper for some more info: