Hidden opportunity: Use every project to build your brand.
Business leaders have always raised an eyebrow when it comes to the ROI of enterprise-wide branding programs. These programs are multiyear, multi-million-dollar expenditures that look and feel great, but are not seen as contributing to short-term capture of new revenue / market share or short-term business results.
In light of current economic doldrums, marketers are forced to find more innovative ways to develop or refine their brand messages and visual identity. Only those initiatives generating quantifiable business value are given the green light. Marketing campaigns tied to new-customer acquisitions, or net new sales, are more apt to get high priority in today’s environment versus brand- or image-building campaigns that are designed to give audiences a momentary case of the “warm and fuzzies.”
This has proven challenging for brand managers and marketers, who hold fast to the belief that every communication is an opportunity to build — or detract from — your brand. So how are some doing it?
Today, we’re helping clients to use a wide range of hidden opportunities to renew the brand so that it remains in synch with the evolving customer mindset. In dong this, we’ve identified some high-level steps you might consider to seize these “backdoor” or “bottom-up” opportunities and get more branding bang for the buck.
Apply “brand thinking” to traditionally nonbranding projects:
For example, use a corporate website refresh or a new capability launch to ask big-picture branding questions; among them: What do we stand for today? How has our customer’s mindset changed in the current economy? How do we see our business or industry changing tomorrow? These questions create a strategic brand-related dialog, and this creates opportunities to evolve the brand through a range of tactical projects.
Pay constant attention to delivering on the brand promise:
No matter how you promote your company, make sure you can deliver on your claims and promises. A brand that says what it means and does what it says builds credibility and customer loyalty, and boosts the brand. A brand that does only one of them well, on the other hand, translates into lost credibility and damage to the business.
Use one-off campaigns and web projects to evolve and update visual brand styles:
Changing times often require evolving your brand perspective, and tactical projects give you a handy opportunity to introduce them. To ensure continuity, of course, make sure the new attitude bears some connection to the past. At the same time, ensure that new styles are different enough to be noticed and have the breadth to accommodate expanded branding and promotional campaigns going forward.
Remember, the trick these days is getting the most possible value from both agency partners and internal marketing resources. By embedding strategic branding methodologies and objectives into results-driven, tactical marketing initiatives, you have the opportunity to do just that.
John Nishimoto is a Sequel Principal and leader of Sequel’s brand development practice.
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