Sharing Brand Strategies you can really work with!




May 12, 2016
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Marketing 2.0, the digital, tech savvy age of marketing, may have securely taken its place within organisations, but forget traditional marketing at your peril! Lose sight of the bigger picture, the principles that hold your organisation together, and you will lose all the things that make a consumer or client emotionally connect to YOU over your competitor.

Whilst the entire advertising world runs off to embrace virtual reality, 3D and other digital brand experiences, we have to hold tight to to the basic marketing principles. If we forget the basic foundations that need to be in place, all the innovation in the world won’t help your brand to connect with your consumer.

The principles of marketing haven’t changed

It is true, innovations in tech and the rise of all things digital have completely changed the way that marketers communicate with their customers. However the need for clear strategy and reliable data has not changed. In a Marketing Week article, Mindi Chahal discusses research which shows customer experience and data, as well as brand strategy, have increased in importance over advertising.

That doesn’t mean we don’t need to get our message in front of our customers – of course we do! What it does means is that the traditional ways of getting your message over to the consumer has changed. It’s not a one way conversation anymore. We are firmly in a place where consumers want to be part of the experience, and they do not want to see your brand message interrupting their enjoyment or their consumption of media.

The thing is, the principles of marketing have not changed: 1) identify the consumer wants; 2) find solutions to satisfy these wants; 3) communicate these solutions to your consumers. These will never change. Showing the customer what they want, then telling them they can have it is the most basic and effective marketing principle in our arsenal.

So what has changed? It’s all about the experience

Going back to the Marketing Week research, 83% said that customer experience is now more central to their role than it was five years ago. But what do we mean when we say “Customer Experience”?

Every time a customer sees your brand, interacts with your company, or touches your product, their experience is influencing their feelings towards your brand. Marketers must realise that the customer journey is not seen by consumers as a series of single interactions. It is a singular experience that they travel through and it needs to evolve as the customer interacts with your brand – from in-store, to mobile, online, email, sales and support.

If a brand partners up with a celebrity, or creates content for consumers to enjoy, they have to remember that consumers DO NOT want to see branding all over it. They want the great product the celebrity is endorsing, they want to go to the concert being sponsored, or they want to watch the video series that’s been produced. They want to be part of it and they want to experience it, but they do not want to feel that they are part of a marketing campaign.

Selfish? Maybe, but that is the way consumption has moved, and it is the expectation of the fast paced Generation-Z.

Start with the strategy or lose the war

The overarching STRATEGY has to be thought through. Each OBJECTIVE needs to be clearly outlined. All activity has to be executed with the brand values, mission and values in mind. There is no point rushing to create content if it is not in line with your brand strategy. You might win customer attention, but you won’t win their loyalty.

This feeds into the data. 74% of Marketing Week’s respondents believe that brand strategy plays a bigger role today than it did five years ago.

A great article by Mark Ritson summed this up nicely within it’s title: “Tactics without strategy is dumbing down our discipline”. Even his sub heading gives us something serious to think about: “If marketers want to be taken seriously they must end their preoccupation with tactics and tools and focus on their strategy, devised by thoroughly researching, segmenting and targeting their market.”

He goes on to compare the marketing world to that of a battle ground. The generals devise strategy before deploying the platoons to tactically execute each individual objective.

We have to remember that marketing has to be about segmenting the market, knowing your audience, and finding, through deep insight into what matters the most to them, the relevant messaging that will connect with those ideal customers.

So my message to you is to get the basics right first!

If you are secure in your position within the market, have a clearly defined vision, mission and set of values, know your audience inside and out, and understand how to communicate all of that to them, you’re on to a winner! Don’t just follow the trends. Keep an eye on them so you don’t get left behind, but only adopt the tactics that work within your strategy.

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