Maintaining Your Brand Through All Touch Points

By Glenn Renner
HomeSphere President & COO

 

Over the past few months we’ve discussed ways of engaging consumers using various types of content. Content is king, but a king is only as good as his kingdom. That kingdom, in marketing parlance, is your brand. Over the next few articles, we’ll take a step back and discuss the nuances of creating brand presence and customer engagement in the digital realm.

Digital EngagementFirst customers need to know your company and its products are available. This is simple brand awareness and can be achieved through a wide range of tactics from traditional advertising to digital ads to direct mail and email marketing. But successful companies also create messages that help consumers recall your company when they are ready to make a purchase. The marketing term is “unaided awareness,” but the concept is simple – the customer remembers the ad and the company behind it.

These brand messages engage customers more fully through memorable, relatable messages and by standing out from the competition. Companies absolutely think about the competition when developing products, but it is also important to stand out through branding.

For example, if a company manufactures windows, its leadership, R&D and manufacturing teams have thought about its differentiators in the market. Perhaps the company chose to focus on manufacturing the most energy-efficient window on the market. The branding and advertising would then focus on cost-savings or environmental impact not beauty, or life-time warranties.

Once you’ve created a strong, differentiated brand, the next consideration is staying top-of-mind. This goes back to that unaided awareness. Take the energy efficient window manufacturer. If a distributor only heard about those green windows once, he or she is highly unlikely to refer the product to clients. If, on the other hand, he receives an email once a month from the company and that email contains content that is relevant to the business, the distributor is far more likely to carry and recommend the product.

Nothing I’ve discussed is revolutionary – we all understand the concepts instinctually. The key to a strong brand is developing a discipline to make the conceptual a reality.

Which is where digital marketing comes in. All companies – large and small – now have the opportunity to truly develop a brand presence because of the low cost of entry of digital marketing. Small companies don’t need to invest oversized sums on ad agencies to gauge what works. The short lead time afforded by digital advertising and content development allows companies to experiment with various mediums to find the right combination. The low-cost analytics then enables all teams to determine which touch points are garnering the greatest return on investment and cut those that aren’t performing as well.

We’ve discussed some of these tools in the past. Tools such as email campaigns allow for flexibility of email and a personal touch. Writing blog posts or white papers both on your site and industry sites not only helps to establish you as an expert in your field, but also provides you with an outlet for your brand. Sponsoring and/or presenting on a webinar enables you to also take that expert stance while offering educational content to a prospect. Timely posts on social media sites keep brands top of mind, and provide a strong customer service tool. Banner ads and homepage takeovers, pay-per-click ads and Google ad words offer a wide range of options that fit both the message and budget.

The importance is in committing to a brand message that positions your company’s unique differentiators, that is memorable and relatable and is seen by many multiple times. In the next few issues, I will discuss each of these in depth and help you foster additional awareness through your online branding efforts.

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