Brands and branding theories across geographies have changed and the trend will continue. Reason: Regular disruption by introduction of new digital devices resulting in ever-changing consumer digital habits.
For a moment, think about how global brands like Google and Amazon have reinvented themselves in the marketplace over the past decade or so. You could even consider home-grown brands like Flipkart and Makemytrip and their evolution in terms of branding in the local market.
Today, every market is facing disruption and adaptability is the key. What should you do about your brand before the disruption gets to you?
Start with a thought process
Why does your brand exist?
Answer this before you take a jump into a marketing strategy. Most digital marketers tend to jump into tactical action immediately. Instead, think and act, to position your brand correctly.
How can you onboard the digital revolution with your offering, if you are not already there?
If you are just going digital, or if you are already there, understand that building authority and trust for your brand is of prime importance. Don’t jump to action before your perception of the competition and vis-à-vis your standing in the market are clearly defined.
How to evolve into a brand that exudes trust and authority?
The answer to this can help you leverage your two biggest assets to create a USP. Trust and authority are the only tools to brand your business online.
If you are amidst dog-eat-dog competition, what is the perception of your brand?
This answer can guide you to understand how most of your customers perceive you as a brand, thus giving valuable insights into a workable plan of action.
Another thought before we move ahead. Do you have the requisite knowhow to render your digital presence THE go-to destination for content and advice that can be delivered through authoritative and trusted information for customers and prospects? If yes, you are already on the path to branding glory.
Now that you are done with understanding your brand and have a rough idea of what needs done, follow the next 6 steps to initiate a progressive marketing plan that will work wonders
Understand your audience
A very important exercise, given that you need to disrupt your branding as well as products/ services according to the customer needs and tastes, you will need to have a good feel for it. The best way to achieve this will be to interact with a few of your customers using a smart questionnaire.
This will also help you create better and innovative products and services in the future. The more important factor is to align your proposition and brand according to the customer preferences that may or may not include delivery and communication channels.
Remember; do not appeal to masses with your marketing. Tweak it such a way that it appeals to your target market. That way you will save a lot of energy, resources and money.
Freeze your USP
We spoke before about using authority and trust to build a USP for your brand and business. This unique selling point will help a customer differentiate your offerings from the competition thus giving you certain measurable brand equity.
Create your digital assets
Whatever you do as a part of your digital marketing exercise ensure that all your digital assets – website, email templates, auto-responders, social media pages, influence marketing collaterals and everything else is branded consistently and in an eye-catching manner. A customer or a prospect should have instant recognition for your brand.
While doing this, show some interest in your competition too and analyze why they are doing well or worse with respect to their branding exercise. The lessons are already there, why re-invent the wheel? You can actually go ahead and create a SWOT analysis that will eventually lead to a benchmarking report.
Since we are considering disruption to be the cause of this entire exercise, keep an eye open for emerging channels like toll-free numbers or dedicated call centers, so that you can put that into your business scheme of things. A transition window to the future should always be kept open.
Ensure that your brand narratives and messages including the content you may be using on your blog for informational purposes is spot-on. It should be good for everyone, unique, simple, interactive and comprehensive. Bad content builds bad will. And if you are really looking at building a brand, the content should have its own personality and a human element.
Similar to visual branding that we spoke above, content should also be uniform and come with a singular tone across all your digital assets.
Trust and Authority
Building trust and authority is a perpetual process and is not done away with, once you freeze your USP. This is best done by leveraging your digital assets to send brand messages across all digital platforms uniformly. And, those platforms would include all disruptive devices that your customers and prospects may be using, at least most of them.
With all the branding and awesome products and services and marketing in place, the one thing that will ensure that your brand stays on top is customer service. Any interactions with the customer should not go unnoticed or unanswered. With customer care, you have to walk the talk, because this is where you create a brand perception for your target audience one-on-one.
Good customer support and analysis will get you more customer insights than smart questionnaires and interviews. Evening out customer support qualitatively is the key to long-lasting branding success.
Branding is perceived as an expensive exercise; however, brand is an asset you are building that will reward you with results for a long time to come.
As an experienced digital marketer, I look for a perfect blend of web, inbound and social marketing. Reaching a customer effectively by converting him into a customer is the objective. I believe in training and coaching my peers and juniors, since it enhances my own understanding and fortifies strategies through discussions and arguments. Pursuing my training or other numerous (range from cooking to para-jumping) hobbies, I am motivated by such pursuits which enables me to imbibe a lot of unwritten experience that I use in my profession.
In all my initiatives, my ideas are well supported by a capable and dedicated teams that build, execute and maintain planned development and marketing strategies.
Being an entrepreneur, I am always into a new business; however, I’m not new to business. I have marketed for a plethora of websites, helped build countless websites and helped online rock stars from all walks of life to label, brand, and market themselves. Still, the adolescent adrenaline-driven at heart, I have always been driven by my best friends – hope, determination and fear which I think every entrepreneur should keep close to heart.
Watching a teenage sensation create records of sorts, does not, for me, come close in terms of satisfaction, to the happiness of the little girl of a poor father who has bought home a Barbie made affordable through a coupon or a deal, otherwise ill-affordable. To my belief, my efforts at digital marketing create many such small pockets of joy across the demography. This belief, is what drives me and I am in my best element working with my colleagues, customers and providers who share my endeavor. I believe and expect that they contribute value to the society through which the world sees value in any business.
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