Business owners need to get one thing clear when they embark on their marketing plans. For you there are a million questions going through your head about your corporate image “What’s the best advertising platform?”, “How will my website impact on my bottom line?,” “How do I integrate all of my social networking profiles?”
For your customer there is only question that matters: “Who are they and why should I care?”
By integrating all of your different promotional techniques together you help customers to know who you are straight away – giving you more time to focus on getting them to understand why they should care.
Encouraging Brand Recognition
There are simple things that any business can do to encourage brand recognition – helping you customers to know who you are. Use simple touch points that people can relate to, engage with and that they’ll get to know over time.
1. Your name. The obvious one, but remember how crucial it is to use your name in the same way, all the time. Whether it’s in a press release, on your website, even when you introduce yourself at a conference, use your company name.
2. Your logo. Again, it’s stating the obvious, but is it on everything you send out – from contracts and invoices to your YouTube channel?
3. Company colours. This is a subtle one, but when you create your brand you would do well to create a strong colour palette. You then have a basis to work from for anyvisual you need to create.
4. Don’t miss an opportunity. Never miss a chance to include your branding – your company name and logo at a minimum – wherever you can.
Yes, top sponsorship opportunities and billboard campaigns may make a splash and catch the eye, but don’t forget it’s equally important to put branding in your email signature, on your business card and on every social networking profile you use. Repeatedly show your customers your brand and they will soon start to recognise it.
Getting Customers to Care
I don’t need to tell you that here’s where it gets tricky. Through consistent placement of your branding your customers may have started to know your name, but the real marketing challenge is getting them to care about it.
Consistency can only take you so far, you now have to think about who your business is, what do you stand for and what do you do for your customers. Also think long and hard and gather as much data as possible about your target market. Then create a persona for your brand, based on yours and your customers’ values.
Are you a steady old chap who likes to talk about the good old days down the pub? Are you a trendy young thing who is always on the cutting edge?
Understanding your corporate personality can help to give you a voice – that’s really important if you’re trying out social media, but equally can help you to get your tone of voice right in any copy writing you do.
This can also suggest the best ways for you to use various on and offline channels. Do you want to raise your profile by holding or sponsoring an event? What type of event would suit your brand persona? What sort of activities would they like to do – can this be the basis of a viral campaign, an email competition or maybe suggest an as yet unexplored media type?
Don’t Simply Lather, Rinse, Repeat
One of the cardinal sins of a joined up campaign is simply reusing the same content everywhere. Consistency is good, churning out the exact same things across every form of media is not.
If you don’t have time to separately blog, use Twitter and engage with Facebook, choose one channel and do it well. Don’t simply set up automatic updates across the three and think your work is done. The same is true of every marketing technique.
There are so many innovative and creative ways to get your message out to your customers that you need to be selective and choose the best ones for you and your campaigns.
You may need to mine your Analytics data, send out surveys or buy in marketing data, but take the time to investigate the channels that will really push your customers’ buttons. Look at the places where they hang out – the papers they buy, the sites they visit, the physical places that they like to go – and consider how you can effectively repurpose your message for each of these channels.
Getting Joined-Up marketing right isn’t easy – but if you put the effort in you’ll attract better quality customers to your websites, or your shops. By really getting to the heart of who your customer is and why they love you above any other brand you can start to target their needs and attract others just like them.