Whether your marketing goals are centered on brand awareness, product launches, customer retention, or all three, when you look back at your year, sales will most likely be a key indicator of your success. Will you care more about where those sales happened, or that they happened?
We’ve long been integrated marketing advocates, and as consumers and technology get savvier, the need to integrate your marketing and unify your messaging has never been more important. Shopping options for today’s buyers are limitless. Online, offline, direct from a brand, from a favorite retailer, flash shopping sites… The list goes on and on. While you may have higher profit potential from certain distribution channels, I feel pretty confident saying you’d rather a shopper buy your product, through any of your distribution channels, than buy from your competitor, right?
Creating a more unified and cohesive brand message, that your audiences have a strong emotional connection to, can help you beat your competitors, on any channel. Here are our 9 fool-proof steps to creating the unified brand messaging that will help you win in 2018:
- Know your audience. We’ve seriously considered getting “We ❤️ Personas” t-shirts for the team, Justin has even contemplated a tattoo (not really, we keep pushing for it though)! At the core of every successful marketing strategy is a deep understanding of your target audience. Personas let you put a face (and story) to a name in a more meaningful, action-oriented way. HubSpot has a great buyer persona creation tool, Make My Persona, or you know, we know some people that would love to help!
- Refine your personas regularly. Once your personas are written, the fun is just beginning. The more you learn about your audiences, the more data you collect and the more engagement you have with people, the better you can make each persona. Add real world quotes from consumers, or examples of challenges you helped your buyers overcome. Add new personas as you are better able to segment your audiences, and fine-tune everything as much as you can.
- Define your brand’s story. What’s your brand’s sweet spot in the industry? What are you doing that no one else is? Distill all of your best qualities into a single story, give it your signature voice and feel, and voila, your brand’s story has been crafted. Easier said than done, I know, but this is a can’t-miss step in the process. You have to give people a reason to believe in you, and connect with them emotionally to make sure your brand’s story resonates.
- Tell that story constantly. Think people are sick of hearing about your brand? Than you’re not telling the story well enough. There is always, always, always more you can be doing to keep your brand top of mind with your audiences. Craft different versions of your story to relate specifically to each persona, and build off of every content piece to give them more insight into what makes you different, and better, than the competition.
- Stay consistent across channels.When visitors come to your website, is the look and feel consistent with what they see on your Facebook page? If they click on an ad from Facebook to your website, do they know immediately they’ve stayed with your brand? From colors to images to tagline and message points, make sure every touch-point a user has with your brand is consistently positive, recognizable, and purposeful.
- Educate your employees + retailers.It can often feel like your marketing team is operating on an island, right? You craft the stories and strategy, and implement as far as you can, but who else is supporting your work? Take more control over your positioning by educating your team and your retailers on how to talk about your brand and products. Prep them to follow through with your brand story so that the minute your audience moves to the next stage in the sales funnel, your hard work is carried through.
- Connect your online + offline marketing. I already talked about the need for your online channels to be consistent, but did you think about your offline materials as well? Do your TV ads tell the same story, visually, as your banner ads? When someone visits your website after seeing the URL on your product spec sheet, is your messaging consistent? Are you driving people to your online channels through your traditional marketing initiatives? Don’t silo your brand by channel. Make sure no matter where someone encounters you, they recognize you!
- Engage in conversations. When your marketing is working, people are interested and invested in your brand, even if they aren’t ready to buy. Monitor online discussions, both on your owned channels and across the web for brand mentions, people asking questions about your products (or your competitors), and discussing the problems that your products solve. When appropriate, jump in with helpful advice, product information, or a fresh perspective. Offer authentic, relevant input whenever and wherever possible.
- Create your own content. Based on your personas, and the conversations you’re seeing online and hearing about from your sales team, you can start crafting the content your audiences need. Get proactive with your content and create the resources people need, before they even have to ask for them. This will benefit your search visibility, and provide your team with links and material they can send at a moment’s notice. You know your brand’s story, your products, and your audiences better than anyone, so craft the content that shines the best possible light on your brand, and share it with the world!
How are you working to create a stronger, more unified brand? How are your audiences reacting? I’d love to hear about what’s working for you, or what questions you have! Leave me a comment below to get in touch!