This is a guest post from Glenda McCarthy-Gaspar. Learn more about her and her company at the end of the post.
A strong brand management strategy is a key part of any company’s success. After all, the most notable brands that exist today became household names because they learned what tactics to use in order to help their brands appear favorably to the public, and more specifically, to their target clients. When brand management is done right, an emotional, personal connection will be made between the brand and the consumer, leading to a better recognized, more reputable image that clients will feel secure spending their money on.
Take a look at Coca-Cola’s holiday advertisement. It’s a pretty solid example of how they’ve mastered connecting to their customer base throughout the years, so let’s break down what makes it work:
- Is the product seen bringing people, both strangers and families, together in a sentimental way? Check
- Is the product associated with warm, festive moments? Check
- Is the message supposed to tug on our heartstrings? Check
- Is the product seen as being the satisfying refreshment the characters in the commercial absolutely needed? Check
The company’s marketing department is quite impressive when you think about it. The fact that they have managed to turn their product into a family friendly, celebration-oriented item, despite the fact that soda is notoriously unhealthy, is pretty noteworthy. Furthermore, the fact that their holiday ads frequently show chilled soda being offered in cold, frigid conditions goes on to prove that, at the end of the day, they’re not really selling the soda as much as they are selling their brand.
That’s the secret to any brand management strategy; you could offer the world’s best product or service, but if consumers can’t connect with you on a deeper level than a basic transaction, you’re not going to reach your full potential.
Manicuring your public image truly is an art form in itself, and if you’re wondering how to deepen your relationship with consumers, here are a few places you can start:
Brand Management Tip #1: Define Your Target Client Base
It’s impossible to emotionally connect with your client base if you aren’t sure who they are, so before you are able to mold your brand management strategy into something effective, you need to clearly define who you are marketing to. To do this, ask yourself these questions:
- What is the age range of my target audience?
- What is their socioeconomic status?
- Am I offering something that’s gender-neutral, or would one gender be more likely to take interest in what I’m supplying?
- What about family life? Are they more likely to be single or married with children?
- Are they more likely to be conservative, liberal, or somewhere in between?
- Would they respond better to a casual tone or a professional one?
You can find the answers to these questions by evaluating the overlapping qualities of those who already invest in your offerings, but to further reach your goals, it’s crucial to conduct thorough market research into your largest competitors. Of course, it’s not as easy as saying your consumer is a 32-year-old female liberal who is part of the middle-class, but the point is that enough research should allow you to confidently paint a picture of who your average customer is. Once you have this information, it will be much easier to devise a brand management plan that delivers the results you want.
Brand Management Tip #2: Know Who You Are
To truly build a reputable, credible brand, it’s not only important to know who your customers are, it’s also necessary to be consistent in who you are and how you represent yourself. It takes time to build a personal connection with consumers, and if you are constantly trying on different masks, the public will get confused about what your brand is all about and you won’t build any momentum in solidifying an identity. An image that’s all over the place is extremely hard for consumers to resonate with and latch onto, so before implementing any marketing strategies, it’s best to know how you want your brand to be viewed.
For instance, if Coca-Cola were to suddenly drop their family based image and adopt the loose, college-style humor model that Jack in the Box encompasses, the world would think the Cola powerhouse was losing its sense of self.
That’s not to say that you can’t explore fresh, innovative strategies or migrate back and forth between humor and professionalism, but the at the end of the day, your trademark essence should read clearly throughout all areas of your marketing campaign.
Brand Management Tip #3: Stay Current
Outlets for communicating with your audience are always evolving and expanding, and in order to keep your name freshly imprinted in the minds of your consumers, it’s critical to stay on par with the modern times. As we are becoming a more tech-based society, this means that taking advantage of digital marketing services is imperative to your success.
When it comes to your website/logo design, promotional item creation, social media strategies, and multimedia production, your tactics need to reflect the current conditions of both the technological world and your personal industry. This is the only way to stand out from competition and remain in the forefront of your niche, so if your website hasn’t had an upgrade in years, now’s the time to make some positive renovations.
Brand Management Tip # 4: Get Engaged and Involved
The more engaged you are with consumers in your industry, the stronger your brand management campaign will be, as you’ll have deeper and more advantageous insight into evolving user trends. In order to efficiently resonate with the public, you have to make them feel noticed, heard, and appreciated. Social media allows you to connect with online users instantly, and the more that you strategically respond to their comments, gripes, questions, raves, etc., as well as create enticing content that catches their attention, the stronger that your connection with them will be.
Realistically speaking, a large part of brand management is also keeping your reputation in check, and doing so relies heavily on learning how to tactfully manage the naysayers. Recent studies have shown that online users are more likely to report a negative experience with a company than a good one, and handling bad reviews online the right way can be what prevents these inevitable instances from weakening your brand.
So, what is the right way? Well, there is no magic formula, but if a customer is very publicly outraged, openly apologizing and offering a cost-efficient way to make it right is always your best bet.
Unfortunately, brand management is not a do-it-once kind of a deal; it’s an ongoing journey that will always switch directions based on the ever-changing patterns of your market, the public, and the types of marketing channels that are used. While you may have a long road ahead until you’re on the same caliber as brands such as Coca-Cola or Apple, if you use these tips to get started, it shouldn’t be too long before you establish credibility as a brand and see more profits because of it.
Author Bio: Glenda McCarthy-Gaspar
Glenda is the CEO of the print, promotional, and graphic communications marketing company, Proforma SI, and has been active in sales/marketing for over fifteen years. She lives in Newmarket with her husband and two golden retrievers, and she has three adult children who have kids of their own.
(Cover photo courtesy of StockSnap.io)