Dana DiTomaso – kickpoint.ca
Do you have control over a companies brand? Everything from the hold music on the phone to a social profile to the website etc. affects the user experience. Branding is the FULL experience, not just the online element.
The West Jet commercial last Christmas where guests were surprised with gifts they had wished for in the previous airport was a digital only campaign, it created a happy feeling and connected with the user leaving a very positive vibe. But if that same user has a different experience later for example, on a flight a flight attendant tells an inappropriate joke it affects the overall impression on the user and creates a negative experience. Consistency is key, all the good doesn’t work if it’s not consistent. You want the user to have a consistent brand experience so they don’t have to “think”:) You want them to automatically like you.
Digital marketers should lead brand strategy and can! The following can apply to your own organization or you can provide it to your client and should to create a consistent and complete brand strategy.
When finding your brand voice, start with your core values when and imagine your company as a person. Are you a Don Draper? Probably not if you’re being honest. You need to see what the flaws and positives are. Don’t gloss over it, you need to see it completely to understand what you are working with.
A good sign that you need to build your brand strategy is to go around and ask your staff or others in general to describe your company, what it stands for, who it is. Are the answers the same or all over the place? If it’s all over that’s a good sign you need to get a clear vision in place. Without a defined brand voice your brand will be the loudest person in the company, the person with the strongest voice basically, often the owner if you are a smaller company. While that person may be lovely and all it is not your companies true brand, it is “Joe”. You need to replace that person with a brand.
“Marketing Debt” is accrued when you inaccurately target your marketing. To avoid this, you need to find your brand voice so that you know who you are and who your customers are. A great way to find your brand voice or your client’s brand voice is by having those in the company your are branding write down a 40 word list of what your brand “is not” then follow this up with what your brand “is” and finally what your brand “will be”. Don’t do this in an open discussion style but rather have individuals provide this information on their own so they aren’t affected by those around them so you can get a true understanding of what each person involved thinks and it won’t be drown out by the loudest voice in the room.
When asking a client to change something about their brand, for example how they are writing their blog posts. Explain, “write like this”, “not like this” and “why”. Be sure to point out the really good things when they occur along with the negatives when needed. Positive feedback is just as helpful as the negative. In either case, provide an explanation.
Your brand strategy should be more akin to a business card, not a 50 page document. Think of how can you explain your brand in a minute. Think of the elevator pitch, what would you say? A good example is McDonalds “I’m Lovin’ It!”, they use that for everything from sales to hiring, “you’re going to love your job”. Think of the brand strategy form an international perspective as well, will this strategy be understood and resonate around the world? “I’m Lovin’ It!” does that.
An important piece of brand strategy management and a good way to make sure the user experience is consistent is to have as good of a post-purchase experience as a pre-purchase experience. Customer loyalty goes both ways. A properly put together brand strategy helps to create a more positive user experience all around. Make sure when you are managing your social presence that you are looking for all mentions of your company, not just those that include “@”, this way you will get a full view of what’s being said about your company and allow you to respond when necessary. When dealing with a bad situation be sure to use the brand voice just as much as you would in a positive situation. Consistency is key.
Use your brand in everything from your tile tags to PPC ads, it will help you stand out. The click through rate of an ad may be lower if it’s not “cheap insurance here” which blends with everyone else and says nothing about your brand but a more branded ad that uses your brand voice may lead to a higher quality visitor. (Personally I agree with this to a certain degree but I think it depends on the industry and the competitors actions. Probably it’s best to try for a combo.) The goal in the end is a purchase, not a just a click.
Your brand voice is a true expression of your company, not a document. Both in your own company and when working with a brand strategy client you need to be a brand voice coach:) Help your staff be an extension of the brand voice that you have created. You need to keep your brand alive and on the mind and on track.