Brand consistency plays a critical role in establishing your presence both on and offline. In today’s marketplace, there are more platforms to convey your brand message than ever before – making it even more difficult to remain consistent. From smartphones, apps and mobile websites to social networks like Facebook and Twitter, the face of marketing has changed drastically. To give consumers a clear depiction of your brand, you must deliver a cohesive message across all advertising channels.
Successful branding is achieved over time, not overnight, and consistency is the key. Once you establish a persuasive, simple message, you must stick with it and continue to deliver that message time and time again. When you think about it, most brands that you know and love have stood the test of time.
Delivering a consistent message doesn’t mean you must always use the same words. But it does mean that you must stay relevant and bring fresh, new ideas to your campaigns while ensuring that everything you do remains consistent with your brand message.
How do you want others to perceive you? You work hard building your brand and creating a positive impression in consumers’ minds. Ensuring that this message remains clear requires a strong brand strategy. Tactics that have worked well for one marketing channel may not work across all platforms. A cohesive strategy and a clear brand message will help avoid bombarding consumers with mixed messages on different channels.
Brands We Love
Think about some of the most recognizable brands that have exceptional consistency, such as Coca-Cola, Nike and Ford. These brands have endured many ups and downs and still have the ability to evoke distinct emotion. They have gained the trust of consumers by providing them with clear consistent messaging for a great number of years.
We are all very familiar with Coke’s long-standing brand and their famous product. Coca-Cola does an excellent job of creating a consistent brand experience across a myriad of marketing platforms. Coke focuses less on the actual product and takes more of a lifestyle approach to their advertising. They create an emotional connection between consumers and their product. Take a look at Coke’s “Open Happiness” campaign – Coke is conveying the message that their product creates wonderful memories and they establish an emotional connection with consumers.
The Making of a Memorable Brand: Helping David Slay Two Goliaths
When Dean Christos, owner of Cater-Biz, a commercial caterer located west of Chicago's loop, asked us to create a proposal that would help put his firm on equal footing with two of Chicago's largest commercial catering companies, he never thought of David's biblical victory over Goliath.
A week later, he submitted a 20-page proposal that not only helped his company level the playing field - it set the stage for a week-long audition that helped Cater-Biz delight his prospective customers and win the largest foodservice contract in the company's 15-year existence.
Never Underestimate the Power of a Headline
When you're the underdog, your front cover had better stop the reader in their tracks. We think of a proposal cover as you might a movie poster or the cover of a book. Dean Christos agrees. "I had few concerns about our ability to perform if given the opportunity," he said. "Thanks to the team at Barcelona, we submitted a proposal the prospect described as 'head and shoulders above the rest' - it knocked their socks off."
"Bold statements and beautiful graphics hit them right between the eyes and put our team in a position where the business was ours to lose. Fortunately, the quality of our food and service and our attention to detail exceeded their expectations and we won the business," added Christos.
At Barcelona Creative Group, we look at a proposal, print or electronic, as an opportunity to separate your brand from the competition. Not only does it give you a chance to tell your story, but it must be creative and different. The look and the opening message are critical - especially the cover and introductory pages. Something has to capture the reader's interest before they can flip to the back of the presentation to see your pricing. If they glaze over your cover page and go directly to your budget or cost summary, you're being evaluated on price and price alone, and that's precisely what you must avoid. Especially if you're trying to slay a giant!
Over 90% of prospects will visit your company website before calling or emailing you. Knowing this, are you comfortable with your website? Maybe you've invested a lot of time and money into creating and building your brand but your website doesn't portray that same message. Maybe your website tells a completely different story.
Recently, when speaking with a prospective client, he told us that a large prospect had visited their office and was extremely impressed with their people and the products and services they have to offer. But their website paints a very different picture. In a roundabout way, the prospect told him that if they had judged them only by their website they may not have even considered doing business with them. Who wants to hear that?
Your website is the foundation of your online brand strategy. It needs to represent your company in the same way your other marketing materials do. Not only does it need to capture the attention of visitors, it should help you generate leads, not lose them. Far too often I am asked, "How can I get more website visitors?", when the question you should really be asking is, "How can I attract the right website visitors and turn them into leads?"
If your website causes a misperception of you, or the content does little to engage visitors because it serves as little more than an online brochure, you have a problem. Yes, your website should provide visitors with information about your business. And years ago this was all you need, but times have changed. Ask yourself - is my website just a glorified Yellow Pages ad or does it provide relevant content and solutions that result in visitors taking action and contacting me?
When you examine the content on your website, make sure it tells visitors how THEY will benefit from your products and services in ways that THEY understand - make the experience all about THEM.
Take the 'You/Me Test'
This simple 'You/Me Test' will help you discover how people are (or aren't) reacting to your website:
Step 1: Print the pages of your website.
Step 2: Highlight every time the words "me, we or our" appear on a page.
Step 3: With a different color, now highlight every use of "you or your."
How did your website do? Are you talking about your business in a brochure format (me, we or our), or are you speaking to and engaging customers with the use of "you or your?" Is your brand message being communicated on your website?
If it's time to consider a website redesign, we can help. We have many resources available for download to help you enhance your site, including tips to enhance your website.
Or if you're looking for help with a redesign, contact BCG - we can help you whip that website into shape!
Your branding strategy
may be focused on your external target audience – as it should be. But you may be forgetting a very important audience – your internal one. Your employees are your biggest brand advocates. Great businesses are admired and very often, the best people want to work for the best brands.
If your employees understand your brand, they can help the word spread outside your organization. Get your employees excited about their work and they will talk positively about your brand. A few ways to communicate your brand message to employees:
- Take steps to launch, or re-launch your brand inside your company. Throw a brand party to explain the message and values. Outline these in a memorable way.
- Pass out t-shirts, posters, mouse pads, or other branded items that make it easy for you to be remembered.
- Encourage employees to follow your brand on social media sites. Are you even involved in social media?
- Send out a branded internal e-blast to communicate your brand message and what’s happening in your organization – make your employees feel involved.
It is critical that your employees are aware of your objectives and messaging so that communication with outside customers remains consistent at all times. Your employees are often the customer’s first interaction with your brand. If they do not understand your brand message and the attitude of your company, then your customers may not be getting the best possible experience. Even if you are a small business, these little steps to keep employees “in the loop” will go a long way.
When your employees step outside your office, do they talk about their job in a positive light? If they are going to talk about the company (which they will), give them reason to do so in a way that is in line with the brand message you have worked so hard to develop. Need help enhancing your brand or ideas for communicating your brand message with your employees?
Many successful brands seem to have mastered the concept of differentiation – they’ve created the perception that there is no other product or service on the market quite like theirs. And even if you don’t utilize their products or services, you know exactly who they are.
Many companies develop brand-positioning statements that focus on words like “trustworthy,” “superior quality” or “innovative.” But differentiating your brand is not just about the words you say, it’s what you do and how you do it differently than any other brand. It’s how you deliver those customer benefits in some unique and extraordinary way - how you “make good” on your brand promise.
Here’s a Brand We Love…
A brand that comes to mind that does an exceptional job differentiating is MINI. MINI is seen as an independent brand, highly differentiated from its parent brand, BMW. This stylish little car is specifically marketed to a niche market – which requires a great deal of differentiation to be successful.
Since first introduced, MINI aimed to carve out its very own niche market within the small car segment of the car market - appealing to single, twenty and thirty something’s with a high disposable income. At a time when gas was cheap and large trucks and SUVs ruled the road, MINI created a small car for individuals that wanted a funky and more stylish alternative. According to the first MINI advertisements, the MINI is for “individuals who were not interested in following the crowd.”
More recently, MINI has launched an entire “Not Normal” campaign. (What screams DIFFERENTiate more than that?!) This campaign highlights just how different their brand really is. I personally do not own a MINI, but I want to, and if I did I know I would feel like I was part of this “MINI Club” of individuals who embody the brand. MINI even has a website they call the MINI Owners Lounge, exclusively for MINI owners!
Check out one of MINI’s “Not Normal” Commercials…
What makes your brand different? How can you stand out?
If you can’t answer these questions, Barcelona Creative Group can help. Our Orange Process™ identifies the uniqueness of your brand and moves you ahead of your competition. Developing a unique brand essence and brand strategy lay the foundation for all other marketing activities. A well-defined and compelling brand will drive sales, build customer loyalty, create brand value and promote business growth. Are you ready to get your business moving forward?
Over 72,000 individuals flocked to Barcelona
this week for more than just the weather and world famous cuisine. If only the Barcelona team coule have gone to Barcelona! The Mobile World Congress
, this year’s industry defining event
, was, of course, held in the Mobile World Capital-Barcelona
. Attendees from 200 countries were treated to an abundance of learning and networking opportunities, product showcases, and inspiration and innovation from industry leaders – CEOs of AT&T, Dropbox, Mozilla, and Nokia to name just a few. Mobile World Congress
guests got a taste of ultra-connected living in a world with technology beyond imagination. This year event organizers built a 14,000 square foot city that includes a mock-up apartment you can go inside, a department store, an electronics store and a café.
- As expected gadgets and phone operating systems gained much attention. Contenders prepared to line up and compete with Apple’s iOS as well as Google and Andriod operating systems.
- Mozilla unveiled its new Firefox phone operating system and app marketplace, and there was a continuing rollout of mobile broadband services and 4G technology.
- As with all tech shows, the biggest name is the ghost at the event. Apple, in line with company policy, doesn't exhibit.
What does this mean for you?
Mobile technology is continually progressing. As web enabled mobile device use begins to trump PC use for internet search, you must learn how to “go-mobile” with your brand.
Over 100 million Americans use smartphones and this number is growing exponentially. What do users do on these portable, versatile devices? They browse online, generate impressions of brands, navigate to businesses found while browsing, conduct local searches, and make purchases. If you want mobile users to browse, navigate and buy from your business, get mobile ready. This means making sure all of you business information and resources are compatible with mobile technology in at least two ways.
Optimize your online information for mobile search
Make your website accessible and functional for mobile users
To today’s consumer, being relevant often trumps being competitive. Given, a poor mobile experience, 61 percent of mobile users won’t visit a site again. Even small businesses must become fully accessible and functional with any device the consumer wants to connect with it…and more and more consumers are choosing to connect with devices that fit in the palm of their hand.
I am sure you are aware that marketing trends are constantly developing and changing, but lately we have seen a departure from the predictable trends in small business marketing in favor of some more refreshing, unique ideas. Which means, some of the marketing tactics you are currently using could be out of date.
Here are a few strategic marketing concepts that are here to stay…at least for the foreseeable future:
Social Media: Working Smarter, Not Harder
With the tremendous upswing in social media marketing over the last few years, many businesses have felt obligated to create a social media presence across every social media platform. For a small business, the ability to utilize social media to its full potential and engage consumers on every front is not only unreasonable, it may not be the best marketing strategy. Small businesses are building the confidence to adapt only specific platforms and develop a sound social media strategy for a few platforms that create two-way communication with consumers and develop customer relationships. Pick the platform that makes the most sense for your business. Decide which platforms are best for reaching your audience. Hopefully you will see greater returns from using even just one form of social media well.
KISS: Keep it Simple, Stupid.
We have known for years that the average customer is over stimulated – completely overwhelmed by the amount of advertising they are exposed to in one day (junk emails, smart phone texts, radio ads, billboards, etc.) With a feeling of being constantly connected in our highly-digitized world - it is natural for consumers to tune out the majority of this noise. 2013 marketing strategies are likely to be ones that are not only simple in nature, but promote goods and services that simplify customer’s lives.
Marketing Campaigns: What’s the ROI?
A recent Fournaise Marketing Group study found that 73% of executives do not believe that marketing significantly ties to revenue creation. As marketers, we are surprised by this. Where’s the logic in spending marketing dollars and not ultimately generating revenue in return? Instead of just measuring lead generation, how about weighing marketing value to a brand against sales growth? You could alter marketing’s key performance indicators, which could, ideally lead to a more effective marketing department.
Mobile: It’s where your customers are.
While you probably feel like you have been beaten over the head with the terms mobile marketing and mobile advertising, global marketers have not yet caught up to the changing times. In 2012, more smartphones were purchased than PCs. While the majority of companies have a mobile site, only 20% have integrated mobile marketing strategies into their overall marketing plan. In 2013, count on mobile marketing being bigger than ever and playing an increasingly important role in marketing strategies.
It’s not too late to improve your 2013 marketing strategy. Could you use some help incorporating these ideas?
Your website is an extremely powerful tool for engagement and connection. It is the foundation of all your online branding and marketing efforts and more than ever before, it forms the first impression a customer or prospect has of your business.
To generate more business online, make sure your website contains…
A Customer Focus: The most fundamental way to improve your business is to better meet current and potential customer needs. Why do they visit your website? What are they looking for? These reasons might be different for current and potential customers. Your site must be beneficial to both.
User Friendly Design: After understanding what information your website visitors are looking for, make it as easy as possible for them to find the information they want.
Strong Branding: Your website is your company's face to the world. It determines how your brand is perceived and the inherent value placed on your business. Branding is important both on and offline. Strong branding on a company website helps build recognition.
Accessible Contact Information: If someone was interested in your products or services and wanted to contact you, how easily can they find out how? Ideally, you should have a phone number and email address on every page. This makes it easy for people to contact you instantly from any page on your site.
Strong Calls to Action: When a prospect or referral source visits any page of your website, is it clear what step they should take if they are interested? If someone wants to do business with you do they know how to contact you? Should they fill out a form on your contact page? Email? Call?
Appealing Web Design: Does your website look professional and up to date? Have you updated your website design and layout in the last three years? The look and feel of your website says a lot about your business… and first impressions matter online too.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Being optimized for search engines is critical for business websites. Since many of your potential customers will find you through web searches, it’s important to rank highly in organic search results.
Is your website in need of some enhancements? At Barcelona Creative Group, we provide a stress-free and successful web design experience. Together, we follow a 12-step process that ensures your goals are heard, your needs are met and we deliver a website that enhances your brand online and moves your marketing forward.
At almost $4 million for a 30-second Super Bowl ad, marketers are under more pressure than ever to make an impact. Companies producing Super Bowls ads test their concept by releasing the ad, and teasers of the ad, on the web early and create a huge push in PR and social media campaigns to scoop up as many additional impressions as possible before the big game.
In recent years, and Honda’s Ferris Bueller ads have perfected this pre-game strategy. Advertisers debate over whether to release the spot early and ruin the surprise, or risk having a failed commercial costing them millions.
This year, another automaker is the clear pre-game winner. As of Friday morning, Toyota has more that 11 million views on their “Wish Granted” campaign. This includes the 3.2 million views the teaser received.
The #2 spot was claimed by Volkswagen’s “Get Happy” campaign with over 6 million views (1.5 million teaser views).
While pre-game views are skyrocketing, we have learned that there are many more views to come in the weeks following the Super Bowl. Last year, Volkswagen’s “Dog Strikes Back” gained an additional 31 million views a week after the game.
So you want to grab the attention of consumers and attract more customers…easier said than done. Investing time and money into online marketing is a good place to start, as it is the most cost-effective channel for reaching prospects and customers. However, there are definite challenges for the first-time or do-it-yourself marketer.
If you have tried online marketing in the past and have been unsuccessful or unhappy with your results, be aware of the following common online marketing mistakes:
Creating an Unfocused Campaign
When getting started with online marketing, many individuals think that trying a little bit of everything and not investing too much in one form of online advertising will minimize risk, but this is usually a mistake. You may not have the resources to execute a successful campaign on multiple fronts. Assess you options and pick one. If that is unsuccessful, try the next one, then the next. Once you find something that’s working, focus your efforts on it so you gain momentum, then try adding something new.
Not Following Up
Most people that land on your website are not ready to buy from you, and if you don’t have some means of following up with your website visitors, you are losing sales. Offer something of value in exchange for their contact information and follow up with email marketing or retargeting advertising.
Not tracking your results is the biggest mistake you can make. As John Wanamaker famously said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” As a marketer it is your job to eliminate some of the guessing and try to measure return. If you are losing money in certain areas, you won’t know where unless you track your results. Today’s technology makes tracking ROI easier than ever.
Failing to use an SEO Strategy
There are many people who are constantly using search engines but do not take the time to get their sites listed on these very same search engines, let alone improve their ranking. You should manually list yourself with each search engine and create SEO (Search Engine Optimization) friendly content and appropriate tagging to get your site recognized by search engines. To find out more about SEO, visit our webpage or download our SEO Reference Guide.
Not Staying Current
Far too many businesses let their web sites become outdated and boring. You need to stay current if you hope to attract customers. If you have information on your site about a holiday sale and it’s February, you're missing the boat.
Are you only marketing online?
The goal is to drive traffic to your website, but remember, its about building your brand and reaching current and potential customers at as many touch points as possible.
Online marketing provides a low cost way to reach a large target audience. If done incorrectly however, even a low cost form of media can be a waste of time and money. It may be time to contact the experts.