Five ways to build a stronger brand image for your company
Does your Web site look like it comes from a different company than your print ads? Do your employees act differently than how they’re portrayed on your company’s social media channels?
If so, you’re not alone. Given the proliferation of all types of media, social and otherwise, it’s not easy for any organization of any size to present a unified image. All too often, multiple media exposure leads to multiple brand personalities.
So what’s wrong with that? Well, the more crowded your marketplace, the more likely your prospects will gravitate toward the few brand names they know and trust. And no one trusts those who act one way one minute — and another way the next.
Here are just a few tips on how you can build a more consistent, more powerful brand image for your company.
1. Focus on building brand identity, not just name recognition.
Of course, you want prospects to remember who you are. But most importantly, you need them to understand what you can do for them. So keep all your communications focused on making those benefits tangible for your customers.
Creatively, your advertising can still be out-of-the-box. But strategically, it must be on-target. If not, then you’re simply building buzz for your campaign, not brand equity for your company.
2. Don’t mistake a “consistent look” for a “consistent image.”
Too many companies think the task of building brand identity begins and ends with the corporate standards manual. They choose company colors, standardize layouts, and designate “logo police.” Not that’s there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just that these actions are not enough to help communicators across the organization speak with one voice. For that, you need to move on to step #3.
3. Clarify what value you bring to the marketplace.
This is the very heart of brand positioning: honing in on the distinct advantages your company offers its customers. But how do you do that?
One approach we’ve found helpful is to compare “internal” versus “external” brand perceptions. We start with the insiders: management, marketers, sales people, service reps. Through a series of exercises, we help them articulate the firm’s points of parity — and points of difference — with its competitors. We then compare the customers’ view of the same questions. Where there is consensus, there is brand equity. Where there are contradictions, there are opportunities for better communication!
4. Choose the right media for the right reasons.
Whatever you decide to say, chances are you’ll need to use a variety of media to help you say it. On average business-to-business firm spend 24 percent of marketing budgets on digital marketing, 23 percent on trade ads, 18 percent on trade shows, 10% on direct mail, nine percent on promotions, nine percent on the Internet, and seven percent on PR — just to name a few candidates for your integrated marketing plan.
Just keep in mind that different media can help you achieve different objectives. For example, ads, even display ads, are best suited to build awareness, not generate responses. So it’s important to match your media tools to your marketing goals.
5. Tear down the walls between electronic and traditional marketing.
The boundaries between traditional and new media are becoming irrelevant. I read in Gartner’s 2013 U.S. Digital Marketing Spending Survey, that 20 percent of companies have already incorporated digital marketing activities into separate functions within marketing and budgets are no longer broken out separately.
So as part of every campaign, consider what electronic media can help you reach your prospects. And don’t limit your thinking to display ads. Refresh the marketing messages on your site. Make sure you use good mobile design for your website and any apps you create so that they can be easily viewed on smartphones and tablets. Share relevant content with your prospects, customers and distributors on your social media channels.
Here’s the bottom line. There’s only one way to maximize your company’s return on its marketing investment. Make sure that your multiple points of contact with your customers all convey a singular point of view about your company.