13.5 Tips For Making Your Brand Matter In 2017
Just before Christmas, we got a couple of the directors together to see what they saw as key things to consider if you want the brands you work with (and for) to do well in the year ahead.
Here’s what they had to say…
1: Know thyself
For brands who want to do something more than compete on price or product, self-knowledge is central. By understanding the purpose you exist to serve, you’re better able to create content that authentically expresses your truth. You’ll also be better able to identify your audience, and create content that means something deeper and more resonant. If you’re not there yet, we can help, and you could also read ‘Winning in your own way’ by Robert Bean.
2: Stop selling. Start helping.
People do not exist to consume your product. They’re more than blank faced units of demand. So we need to realise that, at any given point, they probably don’t want to consume what you have to sell. So create useful, relevant content that they’ll choose to consume because it meets their need. Then when they are in the market for what you have to offer, they’ll be much more likely to be receptive.
3: A unifying mission
Whether you call it an S.O.P, the North Star or a Brand Truth…The point is, in order for the consumer to care about your brand, and for you to build competitive advantage beyond price and product, you need to bring your proposition to life in a way that adds meaning and meets an audience need. Put simply you need a purpose, a cause to fight, a standard to bear. Unilever’s Global CMO Keith Weed is a huge advocate on this approach – look at the work Persil and Dove have been doing over the last few years. He also states that Unilever brands with a purpose grew 30% faster than the rest of the business.
4: A communications platform
A creative communication platform is the manifestation of the mission. Align all content and messaging to that expression of your mission, and all channel selection to the most receptive audience. Nailing a mix of owned, earned and paid is important, but creating and promoting a mission driven communications platform is what provides the means to show up usefully in your audience’s life, and to build defensible competitive advantage beyond price and product.
5: Know your audience
An successful communications platform comes from the intersection of brand purpose and consumer need. So use every opportunity to observe, monitor and collect feedback from your audience. This could be explicit (data collected directly e.g. customer survey or registration form) or implicit (data collected ‘behind the scenes’ e.g monitoring of web behaviours or social media connections). Collectively these insights enable us to refine our activity and our message.
6: Find out what people think, not just what they do
The ability to track and analyse digital interactions (web and social analytics) and unstructured data sets (via social analytics) enables brands to action qualitative segment models. Classifying dimensions such as price sensitivity, attitude to risk, brand preference/sentiment or purchase intent are powerful personalisation levers. Accurately categorising them – even at a high level – opens up new ways to be useful and relevant.
7: Listen, learn and act
Don’t expect to get any credit for listening unless you use that ability to respond to, and address, the things that matter to your audience – even if that’s hard to do. If your pricing, customer service or front line staff are falling short then do something about it. Don’t ignore the big stuff because it’s hard to do. You’ll be better off finding partial answers to the right questions than perfect answers to the wrong ones.
8: Break down the silos
Customers don’t know or care if they’re dealing with Sales, Marketing or Operations. They want a seamless, consistent experience across channels and business functions. Make sure that data, and the personalisation it supports, is delivered to all customer-facing applications.
9: Respect people’s time and data
Don’t waste a minute of someone’s time collecting data if you’re not going to use it to create value for them. If you collect postcode, gender or inside leg measurement, make sure it makes a difference to the person who keyed it in and that it’s not just used to refine your pricing, marketing or research functions. Think customer first, then insight, then data.
10: Avoid vanity metrics
Measure what really matters. Marketing investments should be measured against activity and engagement metrics related to behaviours that drive revenue like product configuration, price comparison, request for call back or purchase.
11: Choose your moment
Brands need to not just be relevant, but timely. Use data to understand where, when and how you can best communicate your mission and engage you audience. The more timely the communication, the greater the engagement and the more useful the insight you’ll receive from that engagement.
12: More interactions
It’s all about showing up. Constantly creating relevant, engaging and beautiful reasons and ways to interact is what generates more time with the audience. This makes engagement more tangible and beneficial. And of course that engagement throws off more data, more insight and more possibility of being useful and relevant.
13: Own your data
All that traffic, all that engagement and all that data is what gives you the power for informed decisioning, marketing automation and even for NPD. Owned media is what enables the capture and refinement of your own first party data and that is what helps to deliver competitive advantage – your own data on your own audience who have an empathy, predilection or passion for what you do.
13.5: Build an audience
Combine all of the stuff above and you have the skeleton of an approach to building a buying audience.
But we’ve written enough, so if you want to find out about that read the full Building A Buying Audience blog here or get in touch to talk it over. Happy New Year from all at First 10.