In marketing, branding is everything. The way your brand looks, acts and sounds often determines whether or not it’s invited to the party—after all, consumers aren’t letting just ANY brand into their lives. Whether they’re aware of it or not, there’s a complex balance of emotions and logic at play when they’re making purchase decisions. Your brand wants to be in the consideration set, but it might need help getting on the consumer’s radar.
Here are five things your brand would say if it could talk.
1. “Give me a point of view.”
There’s nothing more boring than a person who has nothing interesting to say, and it’s no different for a brand that’s trying to get a consumer’s attention. Being at the party is not the same as being part of the party—just because your brand has a presence on social media or a place on the shelf in the store doesn’t guarantee that consumers will pay attention to it. Brands with a clear point of view are able to establish credibility in a specific area, becoming a go-to, “top of mind” option for the consumers that become aware of them. Don’t let your brand fall behind the conversation because it’s vague and undefined—give it something meaningful to say and consumers will listen.
2. “Give me a makeover.”
There’s something to be said for a classic, timeless look—think Jackie O. with fashion—but there also comes a time when even the classics need a little updating. It doesn’t have to be as dramatic as an all-out redesign on your logo, or a total overhaul on brand guidelines—sometimes it’s as simple as changing the context around your brand with an updated website, a clearly defined social media effort, or minor tweaks on your brand’s look and feel that stay true to its roots, but revitalize it for the current times (think Pepsi).
3. “Listen to my conversations, and be my wingman if needed.”
In the old days, brands had more control over what was being said about them and how it might impact a consumer’s impression. In today’s world, that control is non-existent. Social media brought a transparency that no brand can hide behind and consumers know they control the conversation. It’s important to pay attention to those conversations (through social listening, for example) to get a sense of how the relationship between consumer and brand is going. If it’s not going well, step in and help turn things around.
4. “Don’t make me be something I’m not.”
Not every brand is cut out for tweeting, pinning and Facebooking. Prying the wallflower away from the perimeter of the party and placing her on the coffee table to make a speech usually results in an awkward, forced experience for everyone involved. “Being more social” for the sake of being more social is an aimless, counterproductive way to increase awareness of your brand. There’s a world of possibility out there when it comes to the way your brand engages with consumers—take the time to explore the best options based on your specific marketing goals.
5. “Let me go outside the box.”
Your brand is your baby. You’ve spent years nurturing it, studying it, and crafting it into what it is today. Decades go into creating a brand, and a lot of time is spent to establish the guidelines and parameters needed to preserve it as different people come in and out of its life. At some point, somebody will suggest doing something with your brand that’s “outside the box,” an idea you will recognize when it elicits a knee-jerk reaction, or the phrase, “We could never do that,” from someone on your team. Brands want to evolve—they need to evolve—to keep pace with the consumers they seek relationships with. Sometimes that calls for the ideas that might seem crazy at first. Your brand is up for it—but it needs your permission.
By Lisa Dolbear, Account Planner, EMA Insight