Think branding is the sole territory of your PR department? Think again. As online, offline, traditional, social, and new media collide, building and maintaining a consistent, attractive brand means pulling everything together. And we do actually kind of mean everything – because that’s what your prospects see these days. Logos, landing pages, ads, and direct interaction are all going to work better to drive traffic and business if they form a unified brand online and off.
Building a fully integrated brand doesn’t happen by accident. Here’s how to get started.
Evaluate all points of contact – online and off. Are you promoting a uniform message? Do your paper ads promote the same values as your webpage, your logo, and your sales staff? Is it clear what values you’re promoting? If not…
You need one consistent, clear, and persuasive message that will work for multiple platforms. Check out companies that are doing it right: Old Spice, Apple, and Kia, to list a few. Analyze what their message is and why it works, then brainstorm for your own. Get feedback and revise as necessary.
Next, you need an attractive, memorable way to promote your message. It should be creative and catchy. The grating/creepy/annoying factor (a la crazy Target woman) is debatable. Attracting attention is good; annoying people so much they leave your site, hit the mute button, or tell their friends to boycott your business are not.
Choose the platforms you want to engage on. Don’t choose one platform just because a marketer told you to. Choose it because your customers are there, it has features that will boost your visibility and traffic, and you’re willing to spend the time to monitor, engage, and be active on. In other words,
Establish a plan for engaging and make sure your staff is on board. Even large corporations have had major PR and branding disasters because staff members were not given guidelines for engaging with customers. (Remember Nestle’s PR nightmare?)
Hire a professional. It takes either testing and time or experience to build brand. If the list above fills you with terror, outsourcing branding to a qualified agency can be the smartest choice.