A brand is often thought to be synonymous with a business’s logo — the image that makes the company recognizable to the consumer. But a brand is far more than that. It represents a relationship between the customer and the company’s product or service. While the logo might remind a consumer of the company, it simply initiates an interaction between the consumer and the brand, the same way a photo of an old friend might stir certain emotions.
Many consumers have a strong brand relationship with the Apple Corporation. Their logo, a drawing of a piece of fruit, might remind them of the company, but it may also inspire emotions such as trust or dependency. Many Apple users will use nothing but Apple products because they don’t trust other technology companies with the same absoluteness that they do Apple.
A company brand is a living relationship that exists between the consumer and the business.
It is fluid and dynamic, constantly ebbing and flowing in response to the interactions between the consumer and the business. Just like a relationship between two people, it can be affected positively or negatively dependent upon communication and engagement between the two parties.
Strong brand loyalty is key to creating this relationship and nurturing the brand. Here are a few tips for building a strong brand:
Develop and advocate your company values. This is central to creating an identity and personality for your brand. Customers aren’t going to develop an emotional attachment to a sales pitch; creating a mission, and a purpose within your industry gives personality to your business to which consumers can relate.
Be consistent. Your customer should know exactly what they’re going to get when they interact with your business. Your voice, values, appearance, and product or service should be the same across all platforms. Unreliability and inconsistency can cause frustration and tension in the relationship.
Be authentic. Consumers are extremely sensitive to authenticity and transparency. They’re skeptical of advertisements, so being genuine and honest in your interaction with customers goes a long way.
Get to know your consumer audience. Any relationship is a two-way street. Having a conversation with customers and getting to know their expectations, priorities, and values will help them feel appreciated.
While the logo plays a part in forming the brand by creating a recognizable trait of the company, it’s a tiny role compared to the active, dynamic relationship that defines the brand as a whole.
The emphasis of digital marketing has continually shifted over the past three decades. For the last few years, our industry has been consumed by content marketing. Now, a marketing shift toward influencer marketing has grasped our collective attention. The product or service is falling subordinate to the salesman’s sales-pitch.
Influencer marketing relies on the individual’s popularity or reputation to draw market share to a company’s bottom line. A person’s online persona can sway the choice of thousands of followers in an instant. Their popularity enforces the value of the product, encouraging followers and fans to buy the product. If a consumer finds the influencer enticing, often all that is needed is a simple Tweet to bend a market.
The rise in social media has created a far stronger illusion of intimacy between big names and average people. Instead of relying on traditional media, consumers can go directly to a politician’s Facebook page, or see pictures of a celebrity’s child on Instagram. This direct connection between influencer and follower deceives the follower to trust an influencer in the same way that they might trust a friend or family member. Influencer marketing offers a new type of digital and mobile advertisement that appears far more organic and natural.
Goals when engaging influence marketers:
Plan in advance. The use of influencers requires research and focus. A scattered, shotgun approach to marketing runs contrary to the use of influencers.
Be strategic in your selection of individuals. Each influencer has a specific audience that follows specific individuals. Each audience has its own habits and tastes. Select a palette of influencers to facilitate your goals.
Allow the influencer to use his or her own voice. Influencers have a following because of their brand; they speak with their own voice. This is why you hire them. Let them do their job.
Influencer marketing allows the company to step deeply into the consumer’s circle of trust. In the same way that we are more likely to listen to a good friend, consumers rely on social media to construct their reality. As marketers take hold of this opportunity, consumers become less hostile and more accepting of endorsement by influences.
If you want guidance selecting the elements of you next marketing campaign, contact Colure’s advisory team.
For both agencies and their clients, the proofing process can often be more strenuous than the actual creation of the content. In the digital realm, it has become much more simplified. Today many online tools exist that make for a faster exchange of information. Rather than having to shuffle through multiple emails, the project content exists in one space. A digital interface often allows the project to be more collaborative. Even if the two parties never meet in person, a quality product can still be crafted.
Another benefit of the move to online proofing is that it erases the hassle of scheduling conflicts. An agency can send content out to the client whenever it is finished, and they are able to review it at their leisure. They do not have to be confined to an appointment time. The possibility of 24/7 communication means that a client will have the opportunity to give as much feedback as they want.
If a client likes a Japanese agency’s work, it does not matter if that client is based, for example, in Texas. Efficiency and quality can take precedence over proximity.
The switch to online proofing also saves the client money, as it is less expensive to edit digital content than to produce an entirely new physical copy. In fact, it is estimated that online proofing is up to 97% cheaper and twice as fast as reviewing the work face-to-face.
The process eases the workload on both ends. Therefore, it is becoming more difficult to find an agency that does not do most of their work digitally. In addition, improving technology means that it does not have to be as impersonal a process. Digitizing one’s work also establishes interactive working relationships. In the future, it is more easily shareable for whatever purpose the client desires.
In the world of memes, tweets, and Snapchat stories, it’s easy to assume that engaging consumers means trimming things down. With an audience that has a shorter attention span than goldfish, slimming down marketing strategies to 160 characters seems like the way to go. But statistics show otherwise: engaging and emotional marketing strategies are far more successful than stereotypical promotional advertisements.
Authentic storytelling gives your brand personality. It allows your audience to connect with the company in a way that stands out among the fast-food style content that floods users’ Facebook feeds. This might be through longer-form blog posts, video production, or audio postcards. But the bottom line is that authentic storytelling focuses on developing a human connection. It sells your product or service with discretion, emotion, and relatability.
Tips for authentic storytelling:
Use sensory words. Amazingly, your brain cannot tell the difference between what is real and what is imaginary. Smelling coffee and reading about coffee trigger the exact same reaction in your brain. By using sensory details, you create a memorable story that humanizes your brand.
Use emotion to your advantage. Research shows that emotionally engaging marketing messages are twice as successful as promotional advertisements.
Know your audience and what they value. You wouldn’t talk to your boss in the same way that you would talk to your brother. Similarly, you have to understand your audience before you can have a conversation with them.
Be genuine. Numbers, formulas, statistics—it’s easy to get lost in these things. Developing a relatable story that’s organic and fresh will engage consumers in a way that standard promotional marketing just can’t live up to.
This unconventional strategy brings personality and energy to your brand. It gives your company a distinct voice in the industry, actionability to move your brand forward, and deeper insight into the values of your customers. Building these connections with your audience allows you to grow customer loyalty through common interests, beliefs, and standards. It starts a conversation, engaging consumers in a new and vibrant way.
Cyber security is critical to your business. No matter your endeavor, the safety of your data is central to your success and security. At the heart of every business is data – passwords, financial transactions, employee data, and a host of other digital concerns. The protection you extend to this data is critical to your success.
October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, organized by a joint effort between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance. This alliance between private industry and the U.S. Government is celebrating its 16th year helping you protect your data.
Take a few moments to explore the issue of cyber security. StaySafeOnline.org coordinates many efforts to protect the digital concerns of individuals, small businesses, and large corporations. Simply put – if you have a computer, you are at risk. Anyone anywhere can be hacked. This group has created an extended list of free tools and resources for everyone to help define their individual risk assessment. Here is a technology checklist for your business’s cyber concerns. Examine your company’s digital resources, to become #CyberAware of your network’s security status.
The National Cyber Security Alliance has listed an extended series of events taking place around the globe during the month of October to discuss various aspects of cyber-security. Some of these events are virtual; others are physical. Take a look at this list to see if there are any events in your area that you may be able to attend.
We often use this space to discuss advertising or tech developments. This week, we felt we’d explore an issue that helps to define our security, our independence, and our freedom in the marketplace. If you cannot specifically define the security status of your system, you may not be aware of the actual nature of your exposure.
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