Do you remember rotary dial phones? We had pagers, programmable cordless phones, and the first thick-as-a-brick mobile phones. And now today, few of us have any of our most important numbers memorized. In fact, if we lost our smart phones, we would barely be able to function. Such constant change can be overwhelming, especially for busy marketing professionals who strive to stay on top of industry trends and innovations. Thankfully, there is one aspect of marketing that does not change very often, if ever – brand essence.
“When a company owns one precise thought in the consumer's mind, it sets the context for everything and there should be no distinction between brand, product, service and experience.”
THE INBOUND DIFFERENCE
Inbound marketing enables us to present our brand essence to potential customers from their points-of-view. By clearly defining their needs, desires, and challenges, we position our products and services as ideal solutions. Our success now depends, in part, on our ability to project a unified brand image through every word, image, product, service, and experience that we deliver.
Let’s explore how we can achieve optimal success with our marketing strategy by maintaining alignment with our brand essence through brand, persona, and communication standards.
PRESENT A UNIFIED BRAND
When potential customers compare brands, they are influenced by what each brand stands for, why it exists, and the meaning of its vision, mission, and values. You may choose to announce your position formally on your website, or informally through context, but it is essential that you do communicate it to your potential buyers.
When you see the Nike logo, the Mercedes-Benz ornament, or even McDonald’s golden arches, you recognize them immediately. This instant recognition across the globe has resulted from years of consistent marketing. It is just as important for the visual elements of your brand – logo, color palettes, typography, imagery, and layout – to be presented consistently in each and every instance. By enforcing brand standards for web, social media, video, and print applications of your brand visuals, you ensure every member of your team communicates the same brand image to your audience.
MASTER YOUR PERSONAS
Developing personas is another essential part of online marketing strategies. Each unique character, or persona, represents an ideal customer type. If you were trying to attract George Costanza to purchase a new car, how would you approach him? What channels would be most effective to grab his attention? Which tactics would likely influence him?
When searching for answers, we begin thinking about the type of person George is, his age, his socio-economic status, his personality, and, of course, his attitudes and opinions. These are precisely the kind of questions we strive to answer when we develop buyer personas.
Personas help us visualize who we are marketing to, enabling us to tailor our inbound marketing efforts to perfectly match their needs and desires. At Leighton Interactive, we define personas through:
Demographics, roles, and responsibilities
Key drivers, motivators, and influences
Pain points, validations, and objections
These characteristics help us understand our potential buyers: why they do what they do; when, where and why they buy; and every factor that influences their buying decisions.
COMMUNICATE WITH CLARITY AND CONSISTENCY
Like your brand imagery and personas, your brand voice needs to be consistent. Maintaining a standard tone and vocabulary will help you develop authority within your target market. One way to ensure consistency is to establish an editorial style guide.
An editorial style guide helps your team understand editorial decisions which should be reflected in all of your communications such as: terms that are cherished (such as cost-effective) or outlawed (such as cheap), whether you prefer ‘well-being’ or ‘wellbeing,’ and whether or not you choose to use serial commas.
In addition, you should address which channels you participate on, determine measurable objectives for engagement on each channel, and commit to a certain frequency for engagement. For example, if you have found that your persona Office Manager Molly uses social media frequently, you may determine that posting on Facebook three times per week will be effective in bringing in 10 new leads per month.
By keeping your communications consistent, you extend the value of your brand standards and the effectiveness of your marketing strategy. One brand – one voice.
ACCELERATE YOUR SUCCESS WITH AGENCY EXPERTISE
While you may be the best authority on your brand’s marketing strategy, your responsibilities make it difficult for you to maintain focus long enough to reach your goals. You may be doing well, but you understand that if you had a little help, you could do much better. Just like you know every woman needs a little black dress.
Let Leighton Interactive help boost your momentum. We are ready to help you evaluate your current marketing strategy, define or revise your brand standards, and highlight what’s working and what’s not.
As the Vice President, I build strong, personal relationships with each and every client that partners with Leighton Interactive. I love helping clients achieve their goals, dreams, and visions in ways they never thought possible. My daily schedule consists of meeting with clients, communicating client information to the inbound marketing team, and managing account managers. When I'm not busy with client work, I love to relax and spend time with my two amazing kids.