Time to Clean Your (Brand) House, Part 2
Last week, in “Time to Clean Your (Brand) House”, we defined 4 critical things that you need to truly “know” to successfully build a strong, engaging and lasting brand. If you’ve taken a look at your brand – and evaluated your position with those first 4 – now it’s time to move onto the next 3.
Without further ado, here we go…
5. Know your CHANNELS
As a marketer, your job is to utilize the right mix of channels to build brand engagement and sell your products and/or services. It’s critical that you understand the channels at your disposal and how best to leverage them as unique avenues through which to communicate. Knowing your audience (as referenced in Part 1) also means knowing where they expect to find information, and where they’ll be receptive to finding and engage with brands. But just knowing which channels they’re likely to utilize isn’t enough. You need to know how to engage through them and further, how to evaluate the impact of them.
Each channel has its own rules for engagement, its own metrics to evaluate, potentially its own manager to keep it running. Your marketing mix should be such that each channel can operate independently, however it’s important that you consider the forest for the trees –your customers brand experience is made up of the combination of all touch points, and it’s essential that you create and maintain a well balanced and managed marketing channel strategy.
Make sure you understand the role each channel plays in your marketing mix, how much you can and should expect to get out of each, and what metrics you’re anticipating through the whole mix, as well as the individual channels. It’s important to not only KNOW the right channels, but to UNDERSTAND them and how they are delivering.
6. Know your VEHICLES
You’ve decided that direct-to-consumer channel is a viable and important one for your brand. Now it’s time to figure out which vehicles need to be leveraged to most effectively engage in the DTC channel.
* Where are your target users engaging?
* Where would they be most receptive to finding you?
Once defined, it’s even more critical that you understand how to use and manage those vehicles. For instance, on social media vehicles you’ll seek to engage with consumers. But with direct mail, it’s a one way conversation that hopefully leads to the engagement. You’ll push information out through one vehicle, while another will be used to (hopefully) get your consumers to pull information from you.
Think about the various DTC vehicles at your disposal: email, direct mail, catalog, social media, your tasting room, and more. Each has its own distinct form of engagement and purpose for your target consumer. Each has its own metrics to be evaluated for success measures, each may have its own manager for daily execution. To most effectively get the end results you’re seeking, be sure you truly understand each vehicle and its purpose and placement within your marketing mix. Establish individual vehicle goals, define the key metrics that you will monitor for each, and define which resources you will need to employ to most effectively deliver your brand and sales goals through those vehicles.
Don’t forget: Like your channel marketing mix, it’s essential you create a balanced mix of vehicles leveraged within each channel, understanding how together they contribute to the whole brand experience, ultimately delivering against your desired end. Your channel will have key performance indicators, and potentially its own P&L for management. Manage at the granular level (by vehicle) with an eye for the big picture (by channel – and ultimately your entire business).
7. Know THYSELF
It’s important to understand who you are as a brand; from the visual elements that comprise your brand, to the tone and “voice” your brand takes, to the core values to which your brand adheres. Consistency is especially critical when it comes to the expression of your brand.
Work with your designers or whomever is responsible for the design and development of your brand mark, typography, logo, color palette, etc., to build a standards guide. The standards guide should define for everyone in the company how your brand is represented visually and communicated verbally. It should define the exact color tones, font styles, sizing ratios, placement and usage guidelines for your brand elements. It should demonstrate commonly used business applications (business application templates, website usage, advertising guidelines, black & white vs. color expressions, etc.). It should define how your brand “speaks”; its personality, the tone it takes in communications, and even the ways which your brand will spell, punctuate or capitalize common words (think about the variations available for words like: eCommerce, ecommerce, e-commerce, or online, on-line, on-Line).
The standards guide can also dive into the overall vision, mission and core values for your brand. Once defined, share your standards with everyone in the company and anyone who participates in the communication of your brand. Be diligent about adhering to the standards. If you’ve effectively communicated your brand strategy internally, there should be no inconsistency in use. If there is… work on your internal communication skills.