You think your organisation is tracking well despite the ongoing economic impact of COVID-19. But, ask yourself – are there essential brand fundamentals that you and your team have overlooked? It’s time to reexamine your brand marketing strategy to ensure you authentically connect with your target audience in the emerging landscape of 2021 – and beyond.
When it comes to your brand’s future, start by asking yourself a few simple questions… Where are you going? What are your goals? Where do you want the brand to be in 5, 10 years from now? And, take into account the transformed environment of our current world. Because as Terry Pratchett rightly stated in his book I Shall Wear Midnight…
“…if you do not know where you come from, then you don’t know where you are, and if you don’t know where you are, then you don’t know where you’re going. And if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re probably going wrong.”
If you haven’t defined your brand’s future – you’re unlikely to be equipped to identify strategic opportunities that get you closer to where you want to be. This lack of clarity can result in you making decisions that create distractions and veer you off course from your goals – costing time and effort.
As a refresher… your brand persona is a collection of characteristics that your brand uses in the marketplace to display its messages and express your brand. Ultimately, defining your brand persona will give you clarity around how to speak with your audience – the tone of voice and the language you use – as well as make your brand feel more human and more relatable.
It’s important for your brand to create an authentic human connection with your audience to survive and even prosper in this digital age – because your audience is human. If you can embody human characteristics that you know your audience can relate to – you’ll discover that undeniable edge you’re seeking over your competitors.
Check out 5 characteristics of a strategic brand that explores how to achieve authentic connections with your audience.
As we know, most people when looking for a service/product start with exploring their options. And, then seek to understand how individual brands solve their problem or challenge. Ultimately, they’re looking for answers – something to take them from pain to pleasure.
Your messaging needs to influence the minds of your audience from the outset – better than your competitors. When creating messaging, you must always put yourself in your audience’s shoes and seek to unearth how they view the world. Critically, what language and tone best connects with them, and what motivates them to action.
Your key messaging is made up of a series of individual (and connected) messages that you want your audience to understand and remember about your brand. Your messaging should solve problems and inspire your audience. Quite simply, it should reflect what image you want to own in their mind.
Aim to shape your audience’s perceptions of your brand with your messaging. This means working out how you want your audience to see you in the marketplace. These perceptions help influence your audience to choose your brand as the provider/problem solver of choice.
Devise a messaging strategy by thinking about what message you wish to convey at specific touch points in your audience’s journey. Otherwise, you’ll miss opportunities at touch points where your messaging has not been considered.
Brands that succeed in making human connections win at branding. Why? Because your audience is human.
Your brand story is an opportunity to bond with your audience. It’s your chance to demonstrate your support and alignment with them throughout the journey they’re on.
First start with moving your audience emotionally with your brand story (before hooking them with logic) to ensure you make an authentic connection. Logical rationale usually comes second and helps to justify their decision.
Your brand storytelling offers a huge opportunity to show your audience that you understand them, you understand their challenges and problems, you understand what they desire, and what they hope to achieve. If your brand demonstrates this well, your audience has confidence that your brand is the best answer/solution to their problem.
Once your brand has solved your audience’s problems – true alignment with your brand is achieved. This goes a long way to developing a brand ambassador out of your customer.
Brand expression is when you convert a strategic direction into a tangible brand identity. Now remember, your brand identity and brand design is far more intricate than simply a logo (albeit the logo plays a critical role).
Your brand’s identity encompasses your brand’s name, logo, language and tone, icons and symbols, typography, colours, illustrations and photography, etc. And – how these individual elements come together to create your visual communication.
Your brand expression becomes strategic when it’s created to resonate and connect with your target audience. Special consideration should be given to your brand’s persona to guide the visual direction, while your brand messaging framework drives your brand’s language and tonal nuances.
Ultimately – being strategic when it comes to your branding comes back to what you’re saying, how you’re saying it and who you’re talking to. You must know who your audience are so your efforts don’t land on deaf ears. Fundamentally, in this noisy and competitive world, your brand needs a deep understanding of why your audience should even care.