Module 1: Strategies for Marketing Your Brand
A brand communicates emotionally when it makes the customer’s life easier, it makes them safer, it lets them be who they are, it’s part of their family, and so on. You establish this emotional connection by solving a specific problem your customer faces.
Note that we didn’t say you solve all of their problems. Not only is this impossible, but it’s also not ideal. Instead, you want to focus on one specific problem that you solve and that no one else solves in quite the way you do.
What does it mean to be ‘interactive?’ In today’s media landscape, consumers are no longer stuck with a few big marketing channels, such as TV and the newspaper. Today, people go out and find their own sources of news and information, including information on products and services they need.
To be interactive is to engage your customers wherever they’re looking for information. You do this by establishing a presence on social media, offering apps, engaging with your website, producing videos, and so on. The idea is to create as many potential touch points as possible with your audience, providing the information they need WHEN and WHERE they need it.
All of these marketing channels need to be integrated so they create a web that sends people back and forth to each. For example, television spots should include the URL or your website or a message that says, ‘Follow us on Twitter at…’ Your website should have links to all of your social media profiles and a call to action urging visitors to check them out. At every touch point, send customers to all of your other marketing channels.
All of this is backed up with strong SEO. People may encounter your brand but lose track of the name with all of the media noise around them. They’ll then search for you using a search engine or social media search. If you’ve targeted keywords well, your website or profile will come up in their search.
On social media, you need a real person to respond to comments, inquiries and questions. Rather than making it smoother and easier for you, automating your social media can actually cause harm. Some large companies have learned this the hard way when they gave customers laughable canned responses, which were then shared with thousands of others. Social media requires real human interaction.
The final element of an interactive strategy is to track analytics. If you can’t do sophisticated visitor behavior tracking on your website, at the very least monitor behavior using Google Analytics. A wealth of information can be found using this program to help you improve your strategy.
Attitude branding involves marketing a larger feeling that’s associated in the minds of your customers about your business. This feeling isn’t necessarily associated with your products or services. In fact, it may be totally irrelevant. It’s all about a particular feeling, lifestyle or personal identity.
Let’s consider Nike. The Nike brand is about much more than just shoes. To the company’s customers, the swoosh logo signifies the healthy, athletic and independent lifestyle inherent in the brand motto, ‘Just do it.’ The Nike brand epitomizes this attitude. Other major iconic brands such as Coca Cola and Apple do this too.
With attitude branding, your brand contributes to the consumer’s sense of identity and self-expression. By wearing Converse, I’m making a statement not just about what I like to wear, but about who I am.
While it may sound counterintuitive to do this, the results can be very lucrative. An example where this worked particularly well was the company Yellow Cap of Venezuela, which made itself a popular brand through nothing but, as the name suggests, yellow caps.
Japanese brand Muji does the same thing. ‘Muji’ literally means, ‘no brand.’ By eschewing branding and flashy design, the company not only saves itself money on advertising, but also appeals to the segment of the population that goes for high quality and low price, and doesn’t care about brand name.
Studies have shown that this is more powerful than the best advertising. This is because it’s not coming from the company itself but from a trusted friend.
Today, when people are wary of being marketed to, and especially on social media where recommendations from friends are everything, it’s important for brands to focus on recommendations in their marketing strategies.
A good example of this is Old Spice. The men’s cologne maker ramped up its branding strategy in recent years, making it slightly ironic and tongue-in-cheek to appeal to a younger generation… and it worked.