Managing a brand is similar to building a reputation. It grows slowly, gaining trust and loyalty from its followers until it becomes established. Brand recognition and consistency in the marketing message builds trust which in turn leads to increased sales. However, consumers are pickle and are easily distracted by bigger, bolder marketing messages and shinier packaging, and trust is easily broken.
Like building a reputation, it is often much quicker to lose that reputation compared to the time it took to build the brand. It is there that imperative that companies pay attention to their brand management and business reputation.
Building Brand Awareness Campaigns
Every brand is different. It takes a lot of understanding to get the message across. By using creative brand communication strategies it is easy to gain the attention of your consumer.
A great example of a company that has achieved this is Johnnie Walker. They have built the brand based on an emotional campaign. A difficult task, and one that works best when it flows from and reinforces a product truth. Their “Keep Walking” campaign produced good sales growth of 48% over eight years for what was an ailing whiskey producer.
Here are four tips to build a campaign based on emotion similar to the Johnnie Walker campaign:
- Tell a story – Bring to life the brand idea of ”personal progress” that people want to aspire to.
- Make it hard to copy – In the case of Johnnie Walker it is near impossible for another whiskey brand to copy this campaign as it is based on the brand icon and name.
- Consistency is key – Use one message consistently. In the case of Johnnie Walker the brand name is linked to the message and each advert ties back to the packaging or marketing material.
- Execution is everything – Quality and attention to detail is noticed, from TV commercials to print advertising to website marketing. All material ties in with the primary message and campaign.
Once you have achieved brand recognition it is imperative to maintain your reputation. Reputation management can be defined as the process of tracking an entity’s actions and other entities’ opinions about those actions; reporting on those actions and opinions; and reacting to that report creating a feedback loop.
Understanding this process and being part of it is the bare minimum a company needs to pay attention to in order to keep its reputation positive. Reputation management has come into wide use with the advent of widespread computing.
Five simple tips to manage your reputation include:
- Conduct a reputation audit – identify all the issues that could affect your company’s reputation
- Analyze the issues to ascertain the historic impact, current landscape and potential future state of that issue
- Effect change strategy options to deal with each issue and action them
- Constantly evaluate your landscape
- Be present, consistent and communicate your message persuasively
One thought leader that truly understands that consistency and communication are two of the key ingredients for brand success and is able to express this message effortlessly is David Taylor, world recognized expert in persuasive brand communication strategies.
Taylor’s guide to the essential steps of achieving persuasive brand communication can be summarized as follows:
- Understanding the brand and setting objectives
- Getting the team right
- Keeping the brief and briefing tight
- Getting the most from production
- Brilliant brand activation
- Developing and executing the campaign
How then do drive sales through brand management?
Build Bridges between Marketing and Sales
There are positive and synergistic roles in both marketing and sales, and if each side agreements to the role embroidered by their counterparts, the organization will thrive. Traditionally it was quite challenging to identify criteria for building the bridge between marketing and sales.
Traditionally a company would turn to the following five strategies:
- Take a fresh approach to prospect development
- Determine the pipeline requirements
- Synchronize the marketing communications pipeline loading activities with the requirements of the sales force
- Feed the sales pipeline with precision
- Practice aggressive marketing to build the relationship
Marketing and sales were traditionally kept as two separate concepts wheree marketing paved the way, while sales closed the deal. With the advent of widespread computing the gap is being narrowed fast. Social media is the key to this outlet in the online approach.
With social media spaces becoming more popular, salespeople and entrepreneurs all over the world are using LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites to discover new markets, meet prospects directly and forge profitable new business relationships. No lead generation, branding or cold-calling required. In a sense, many salespeople are becoming their own marketers.
The roles could be defined as follows: The sales role in social media networking is to initiate and develop key relationships. The marketing role in social media networking is to assist salespeople plan, execute and measure their efforts.
Regardless of the approach, whether online or traditional effective brand communication remains key to all strategies.