Have you ever seen messaging from a well-known brand that made you shake your head in confusion? Maybe one of your favorite companies released a product or service that just didn’t fit the brand you’ve grown to know and love. A departure from your brand mission and vision could happen if you’re not careful, and the result is always confusion among your buyers and fans. In most cases, this departure from the brand is an attempt to grow or to stay relevant during changing times. To avoid these mistakes, you must first know what they are. Let’s take a look at some flubs that could change the way your audience perceives your brand.
Inconsistent MessagingYour brand messaging takes place across several different platforms, from your social media and website to your print materials and videos. In many cases, the differences found on each medium boils down to the people responsible for those individual platforms. For instance, the writer of your website content may not have any say in the copy used for your advertisements or video scripts. The social media manager might not be aware of the copy used for your retargeting ads. On top of all that, your website designer and graphic designer may be two separate people who have created their own interpretation of your brand’s aesthetic—and the two visuals could differ enough that recipients of your brand message aren’t sure which message is true to your brand. The solution comes in two parts: first, a style guide that lays out your preferred language choices, fonts, colors, and other imagery. Second, there must be one person directing all messaging that reaches the public. This director may not do all the work, but they should see everything before it goes out, so as to ensure all messaging is consistent and on brand.
Changing With the TimesTrends changes at a blistering pace, and a brand that doesn’t keep up with the times could find themselves woefully out of touch within a short amount of time. Does that mean you need to update your logo and imagery every time the trends change? Absolutely not. Brands that do adopt the trends as quickly as they change will eventually find themselves without an audience, as buyers struggle to keep up with the changes their favorite brand is making. Instead, develop something that will stand the test of time. Using every one of the latest trends will make your brand look dated within no time, resulting in yet another brand refresh. It’s important to approach any brand refresh carefully, and only after fully examining your brand’s effectiveness. If you feel you’ve lost touch with your target audience, then perhaps a brand refresh is in order—just not every six months.
Trading Relevance for VisibilityReaching a wider audience is any brand’s dream, but you can’t give up everything you stand for to get your fifteen minutes of fame. The problem is, you may not even realize you’re trading relevance for visibility until it’s too late. Some of the biggest mistakes you can make include major social media faux pas, introducing or attaching your name to confusing products, and participating in guerilla marketing that backfires. Social media faux pas can happen before you even realize it. Have you read any of the horror stories about companies that jumped on a hashtag bandwagon, only to realize later they were associating their brand with something totally irrelevant? One of the most cringeworthy is the Kenneth Cole Twitter account, where the brand constantly shoves a foot in its mouth. In this case, we think perhaps the brand likes the notoriety too much, but it’s not something other brand should emulate. As for attaching your brand to the wrong product, look no further than the Fyre Festival debacle. Kendall Jenner is definitely a brand, and her connection to the Fyre Festival as an influencer was damaged—perhaps irreparably, since she also has to deal with the Pepsi commercial fallout, too—when the festival went belly up before it began but after fans had already arrived! As for a backfiring guerilla marketing campaign, there are probably too many to even mention. Some are excruciating to watch, while others just prompt a grimace. The movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall launched a campaign that irritated every real Sarah Marshall out there, as they installed posters with mean messages to the Sarah Marshall character in the movie. Lines like, “My mother always hated you Sarah Marshall,” and “You suck, Sarah Marshall,” prompted all the actual Sarah Marshalls out there to react with their own posters directed to the creators of the movie. Your company’s brand is your most invaluable asset. You’ve worked hard to develop this image and to build an audience that understands your values. In all cases, put your brand first. You could avoid some of these crazy mistakes and keep your image intact. That’s a lot more valuable than fifteen minutes of fame. If you’d like to explore marketing initiatives that don’t put your brand in danger, give us a call!
Regardless of how large or small your company may be, the idea of competing with a company like Walmart or Amazon probably has you feeling a little incredulous. It’s not possible, is it? Of course it is. You can compete with big brands with the right marketing tactics. Remember, the big guys were all once small brands, too. So, how can you go about beating bigger competitors at their own game? Let’s take a look.
Differentiate YourselfYou don’t want to be like those big brands, except in the revenue department, right? No, you want your brand to stand out like a beacon in the night. The only way to do that is to determine what makes you different from the crowd and than capitalize on that. That difference won’t be your prices, either. While “Always low prices” works for Walmart, that’s not what will set you apart. Your mission, your vision, your product, and your customer service—these are the places where you can overtake your competitors.
Focus on Your ContentMarketing, really, is just educating your customer. You want to let them know how your products or services can solve their pain. Your content is how you deliver that education. And remember: content is much more than your blog. Buyers are consuming more and more videos, especially the younger demographics. You may find that YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram help you deliver your content better for Generation Z and Millennial audiences. Blogs and articles may resonate better with Generation X and Baby Boomers. You also have to make sure your buyers can find that content. SEO is still as important today as it has always been. While you can distribute your content through outside sources like Facebook, BuzzFeed, YouTube, and Medium, you can’t guarantee your target audience will find it. Using keywords and search phrases within your articles and video descriptions is crucial. Long-tail keyword phrases may cut down on the number of times you’re found in searches, but you do get two big benefits from them: First, the big brands aren’t using those phrases, so you have less competition. Second, those long-tail keywords are more likely to funnel customers who are looking for your exact products and services.
Ask and ListenAre your buyers excited about your brand? Do they love your customer service? The best way to determine this is to simply ask. Post polls on your social media profiles and send out surveys in the mail. Give your buyers the chance to really talk back. And when they do, listen. Remember that customer service occurs across multiple platforms today, too. You can’t sit by the phone and expect to hear from all your customers. Instead, monitor your social channels to see what your customers are saying. Reach out and engage through Twitter and Facebook when you see buyers experiencing pain your company can solve.
Deliver an Unforgettable ExperienceNow, you’ve set yourself apart from the crowd. You’ve determined your target audience. You’ve asked them what they really, really want. It’s time to put these things together into one truly unforgettable experience. When you deliver on your brand promises, your buyers will remember. They’ll remember that every time a bigger brand drops the ball, and when it’s time to make a purchase again, they’ll be right there at your door with their wallets. And if something should go wrong during the buying process, be prepared to make it right, no matter what the cost. As more and more companies are automating the sales and marketing process, buyers are looking for that special something. If you’re ready to provide that, then you’re well on your way to competing with the big brands. As always, we’re here to help if you need it. Be sure to join us in a couple weeks for our latest training course: 6 Steps Top Brands Use to Build Their Marketing Campaigns.
With over one billion users on YouTube, it’s easy to see that video content isn’t going anywhere soon. In fact, as Gen Y and Gen Z continue to explore their own spending power, brands have discovered that video content is often the preferred medium for engagement. Does that mean you should set out right away to start creating video content for your buyers? Well, possibly. But before you do, you should make sure you know those buyers well, because each generation wants something a little different from their video.