Developing Effective Strategy to Deliver on Your Brand Promise.
“People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.”
— Simon Sinek
What’s promised to a customer goes beyond the product or service provided to them. Today, technology and the immediate access to information is driving a dynamic shift in the customer experience. The biggest shift is what a customer expects out of the customer + business relationship. They donâ’t just expect your product or services, they come to the table needing certain engagement and emotional alignment out of the relationship. This relationship is founded, molded, and delivered based on your company’s marketing strategy and how it’s executed.
A beautifully crafted strategy can be transformational. Strategy that gets to the core of who your brand is — bringing authenticity to the surface — is inspiring and engaging. But how does that strategy translate into actionable tasks? How do you implement the strategy across multiple channels, platforms and touchpoints?
A customer + business relationship begins with their first interaction with your brand. It could be an online search, a mention from a friend, a website experience or an in-store interaction. The relationship includes everything from their discovery of your company to the purchasing process and is concluded with the delivery experience. It’s important to think about each and every step like tracking/notification accuracy, the packaging, instructions, product performance, and the company follow up.
Simon Sinek, a brand strategy icon, is known for saying, “they buy WHY you do it.” In other words, identifying the authenticity of your brand and how that translates into meaningful experiences for your customers becomes an essential component in building a solid marketing strategy. A well-thought out strategy will provide all the materials you need to build a good foundation, execute and deliver consistency throughout all channels, tactics and a variety of customer touchpoints.
How to communicate your strategy.
To design and implement an effective strategy, make sure you define and include the following:
- Brand Personality: Think about how your company is perceived by customers and how you will influence that.
- Profile: Different from brand personality, this is how you want to be perceived by your customers.
- Tone: This is how you will successfully speak and communicate your products or services with your customers.
- Target Audience: This will include personas and a buyer journey with channels/tactics tied to customer behaviors.
- Message Hierarchy: This helps create consistent communication that includes your company’s positioning, why, what, and how statements.
First, let’s discuss the difference between brand personality and profile. Brand personality comes from your customers’ perspective but can be reinforced or toned down. Think about asking questions like, “What personality traits would they use to describe your company if it were a person?” Multiple sources, such as an internal employee survey or an external customer interview, are always helpful. Make sure to ask your employees and the customers many of the same questions to find out how both sides of the brand are perceived. If there’s a difference or gap between what customers and employees are saying, then it’s time to dive into what’s causing that difference. If what they say is the same or similar, then that shows effective brand alignment.
Unfortunately, brand personality is sometimes dismissed, but it truly helps define brand attitude and how to approach your relationship with customers. A company whose brand personality is perceived as serious and professional should be portrayed much differently than one considered to be energetic and personable. These personality traits will not only guide message development but greatly influence the aesthetics that support your brand’s communications.
Your brand profile is how you want to be perceived by your target audience/customers. Your brand’s profile acts as a cornerstone in building a well-grounded foundation for your goals as you’re developing concepts and crafting messaging. Every part of your brand profile should guide your target audience to an intended perception of your brand and should be found throughout all of your marketing touchpoints. From advertising to your customers’ online experience, to in-person interactions and post transaction support, how you speak to customers and how you treat them feeds their perception of your brand. This perception is incredibly important as they’ll also share it with their family, friends and network.
Your messaging connects the dots.
Understanding your audience is paramount. Ask, “What do they care about most and how do we connect with that?” Research that’s done for strategy should absolutely include input from real customers, whether that be interviews, conversations, or surveys. You want, and need, all of the feedback: the good, the bad and the ugly. If you ask the right questions, you’ll get the answers you need to fill in gaps or address perception issues. They may not be the answers you “want”, but you need the truth to make any needed changes. The truth will tell you if what you’re doing is right and what exactly you’re doing wrong. Always make an effort to fix or address the things that are wrong before you launch any marketing campaigns.
Your personas, or target audience, will help you develop clear messaging that aligns customers’ needs with what you provide. Consistency and clarity are the keys to positive, lasting impressions. If executed correctly, you’re going to get tired of your campaign long before you’ve reached good market saturation. Your marketing messages will need time to soak in and make them a subliminal part of your customer’s reasoning process.
All of your messaging should be clear and direct. Things like “cute” copy will only get you so far and usually lack the meaningful benefits customers need to commit. Create content that is compelling, meaningful and tailored to your customers’ needs and wants. You have the best solution to their problem, so show them the answer. Be authentic and supportive but be careful to not over promise. The ability to fulfill promises along your customers’ buyer journeys is how you create lasting customer relationships and true brand advocates.
By delivering holistically on your brand’s overall experience with an effective strategy, you’ll strengthen your relationship and positive perception with customers. Want to start your own brand strategy? We can help, contact us today!