If you want to succeed in business, you need your brand to be valued. And if you want to achieve the goal of getting more customers year after year, you need to plan. The strategy of planning for integrated marketing communications is what strengthens the relevancy and consistency of your brand with all its points of contact with customers and potential customers. Your branding strategy is what supports what your brand is, and to whom you will communicate it, how, where, and when.
When you are in business and have a name, logo and location, that is your brand. What you do with that brand should be a part of your strategy to stand apart from the crowd of other businesses that could be just like yours. Ultimately, you want customers and potential customers to think of you first: to emotionally connect to what you have to offer and to recommend your business to their friends. How you treat your customers, along with the quality of your products or services, is what makes you different and can assure that your customers will become emotionally tied to your brand.
Your brand strategy should be based on the actions that you take to connect your customers to your business through recognition of your business reputation. If you are a new business, you will want to build brand awareness. Blogging as a form of content marketing, along with sponsored events, search marketing and social media marketing are all ways to get your brand seen and known by your target audience. If your business is more mature, your brand strategy should be focused on ways to deepen the value of that maturity, including through demonstrations of the quality of your products and services, and of your expertise. Your business can benefit if you engage with your customers with both local promotional methods such as public speaking and community lectures or with a wider audience through information resources and free webinars. The point is to engage with your new or existing customers so that they become more familiar with your brand, which will prompt them to want to do business with you.
Because of the dynamic relationship between you, your brand and your customers, you need to know who your customers are. Surveys will inform you about those you already serve. Researching demographics, if you are a neighborhood retailer, is another way to get to know your customers. If you are trying to get more customers, you need to better understand what their needs and wants are, and you can do that through market research. It’s worth researching white papers online or even investing in an industry report that explains why customers buy or what current buying trends exist.
Points of Contact
Integrated marketing communication considers all points of contact that your brand has online and offline. First of all, your branding should be visible on everything you print, whether it is a brochure, letterhead or business card. The same is true for every digital screen that represents your business, such as your website, blog, newsletter or social media accounts. If a potential customer were to search for your business online, you don’t want that prospect to be uncertain about whether what they see on a website or a social media post is about your business, just because your branding is missing or unclear.
Both your brand and your brand strategy need to be relevant to your customer. If you have researched your customers and have a plan for how to reach them both online and offline, you should use analytics and measurements to make sure that everything is working correctly for you, and you are getting visits back to your website. For example, if you intend to sell nutritional supplements and healthy protein drinks, it makes sense to invest in some banners or signs with your branding, and ask to put your signage up at places like local gyms, fitness or yoga centers. Or you may want to get involved with health and wellness events in your area, making sure to ask the event organizers for permission to promote through their social media.
3 Reasons Brand Consistency is so Important
1. Brand consistency takes you to the next level in marketing
If your branding is consistent, you're no longer needing to convince consumers to stop into your store or buy your product. Your brand is so consistent, so synonymous with your product experience that when a consumer sees your signature brand logo they are already thinking about making their next purchase from you without you even having to ask.
2. Consistency Makes Your Brand Feel More Dependable
If your social media voice is whimsical and silly but your product packaging is sterile and plain, you're sending mixed signals that will confuse consumers and leave them feeling like your brand can't be trusted. Interacting with consumers through a consistent brand voice and aesthetic is a major step towards letting consumers get to know you as an organization. When they know you, they will identify with you and your purpose. And when consumers feel like they know you and can trust you, they will be more likely to purchase from you and more likely to recommend you to their peers.
3. Consumers Trust Brands They Recognize
Brand recognition is not just about getting your name out there. It's about helping consumers get to know your brand on a personal level. Developing a seamless look for your brand across your website, all social media channels, even in your store and on your product packaging will make consumers feel more comfortable with your brand, and will make them more likely to purchase from you again.