Top 10 Tips for Representing Your Brand at Its Best
There's no denying it, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a step change for businesses around the world. Event cancellations and store closures brought on by quarantine measures have forced companies to pivot to online platforms to connect with customers. In doing so, there has been a renewed focus on all things digital and a mad scramble for businesses to create meaningful content that resonates with consumers.
To help you put your best foot forward during these difficult days, we've compiled this "Top 10 List" of tips for representing your brand at its best:
1. The Consumer is King / Queen
Just how you would expect to be treated if you were royalty, so too does your customer when it comes to dealing with your company. In today's technological age, consumers are well-informed and know their worth; they demand companies earn their continued loyalty by consistently providing them with high quality content.
You can demonstrate "the consumer is king (or queen)" by making your customer the hero of your campaigns. This ad, from Goodlife Fitness' "Live Your Goodlife" campaign, is a great example of making your customer the hero.
2. But They Have a Great Personality....
Consumers want to feel as though you know them on a personal level. This is the trade off for the data that allows your company to target ideal customers based on their demographics, interests, and online behavior; so if you're able to use the data to your company's benefit, you can bet there's an expectation you use that same data to benefit your customer as well.
Show your customers that you know them on a personal level by relating to them directly; replace the "we" of your company messaging with the "you" of your customer. Dove's "Real Beauty Sketches" shows how powerful focusing on your customer, rather than on your company or product, can be.
3. Have Some Fun!
Don't take yourself too seriously and have a little fun when an opportunity presents itself. Humor incorporates a human element into a corporate brand, and creates depth to the relationship you develop with your customers.
An easy way to have fun with customers is to engage with and encourage memes, such as the #berniemittens meme that circulated in early 2021.
4. Old-School Graduation
Before digital marketing came along and enabled companies to capture the "low-hanging fruit" of consumers with (somewhat) instant gratification, traditional marketing methods provided well-planned and well-executed offline options for promotion of your products and services.
Don't be too quick to graduate from these old-school methods of reaching customers - such as television ads, billboards, print advertising, newsletters and direct mail flyers - as they still provide value and are an integral part of a holistic marketing program.
5. DJ Master Remix
There is an abundance of material available online these days, so finding thought-provoking articles or visually stimulating graphics that align with your brand may only be a click away. You don't need to reinvent the wheel, you just need to add your own perspective to existing content to relate it to your brand message.
Don't be afraid to remix (or repurpose) content, however be sure to respect copyright and trademark rights and provide credit to the original source whenever possible.
6. Ah, the Good Ol' Days
Using nostalgia can help you reinforce positive relationships with your followers, as it conveys your respect for the generations that have come before while highlighting longevity of your brand.
You can incorporate nostalgia into your brand by creating #ThrowBackThursday posts on social media, creating a historical timeline on your website, or showcasing the evolution of your product development. Canadian aircraft manufacturer Viking Air Limited did an excellent job of using nostalgia to promote its aircraft products in its 2020 Calendar campaign.
7. The Truth Shall Set You Free
Be forthright with factual information, particularly so when addressing customer concerns or negative publicity. If done promptly and done well, being transparent builds trust with consumers rather than alienating them; it's far better to claim responsibility for minor concerns than have competitors take advantage of them.
Despite an associated level of discomfort, being honest and upfront with potentially negative information actually helps establish your company as the brand authority in the long run. This article courtesy of Raconteur provides examples of companies that have used honesty as the best policy.
8. Take a Look Around
So you've made it this far and have silently argued that you're already doing all these things to focus on your customers and provide value. Well, I'm sorry to say that's still not enough! In today's corporate climate you need to not only show you care about your customers, you need to show you care about the local community and environment in which they live too.
Otherwise known as being "socially conscious", your brand needs to demonstrate that it cares about #sustainability, the #environment, #socialresponsibility, #accountability, and the many other hashtag movements that comprise our dynamic society. Many years ago companies were expected to remain politically neutral (or at the very least be politically silent) and stick to core operations; today major brands are becoming more vocal and are instead expressing core values through their communication channels and advertising dollars.
What does this mean for you? The good news is that you don't have to embrace every warm fuzzy initiative that hits social media, but you will need to pick something that aligns with your company (and customers') values and be prepared to shout it from the rooftops.
9. For the Love of Pete, Show Some Compassion
Gone are the days when companies appeared to be heartless, soulless entities hiding inside a corporate cone of silence. The global pandemic has shone a magnifying glass on the way society interrelates with businesses and vice versa; there's a precarious mutual reliance in place that we can now all see is easily influenced by external factors.
Your company can show sensitivity to this symbiotic relationship by expressing compassion for those around you as the world recovers from COVID-19. This may be by placing hearts in your window, supporting local businesses, extending discounts to healthcare workers, or creating special offers for those on the front lines.
If you've already forgotten most of the nine previous tips, Number 10 serves as a catch-all and is perhaps the most important of all. And what is this very insightful and important tip?
That's it, pure and simple. Just listen. Listen to your customers and listen to the world around you. Take the time to read the room. Accept feedback from peers. Read follower comments on social media. Watch the local news. Answer the phone. Pay attention and go with your gut because if your heart's in the right place, you can't go wrong.