Communicating Your Brand
We now live in a digital age where we are able to get minute-to-minute updates on everything from current events, to crises and disasters, to celebrity mishaps and public blunders. This is one very important reason for needed a strong, cohesive, and consistent brand.
In order to properly manage a brand we must first know how to communicate that brand. We need to be in control of the message we are sending to our prospective and current customers, and when a crisis occurs being able to communicate effectively is vital.
So what exactly do we mean by "brand?"
A brand is no longer just the name of the company that makes the carbonated beverage you’re drinking. Today, a brand is largely about your reputation. It’s the way the public feels when they hear your company’s name, see your logo, or interact with your brand in some way. A brand is very often an intangible. It’s fixed in an individual’s mind based on the experience(s) that individual has had with a brand. As we know, it’s hard to change someone’s mind once they’ve formed an opinion. Effective communication with your audience is one foundational way your brand can maintain those positive associations.
Here are a few ways to start effectively communicating your brand:
(1) Find your audience.
Before we can start communicating our brand, we have to determine who we are communicating with. Who is your target audience?
Get as specific as possible. Use your imagination. At Henryk Branding Co., we encourage clients to choose only one target audience. We very often help clients make up a fictional person whom they wish to reach — a muse or avatar. Figure out who this person is, their name, gender, age, hobbies, etc. The more details you have about who the target audience is, the easier it will be to reach them effectively.
(2) Be authentic.
We know, you're probably tired of hearing the word "authentic." It might be overused, but it certainly still is important. Consumers crave authenticity from brands. The more authentic a brand, the more likely that consumer will remain loyal — and we all know how hard it is to gain consumer loyalty today. If you are honest and upfront with your customers right from the get go and throughout any changes in your business, they are more likely to stick with you if any mishaps occur.
Social media makes it easy for any problems a brand may have to go viral and, very often, get blown out of proportion very quickly. Transparency will allow you to maintain control of the situation, state your piece, and recover from the negative media without losing all of your customers. It will further allow your brand to control the message. If a crisis situation arises, it’s far better to be in a position of readiness than to allow the message to be controlled by someone else.
When an issue does arise it’s important to acknowledge it and share the proposed solution. It should go without saying, but be sure that any communications are not only honest but also consistent. Giving customers conflicting statements leads to mistrust, confusion, and puts you at risk of losing loyalty from long time customers.
(3) Choosing effective communication channels.
Knowing your audience allows you to use the right communication channels to reach them. If you know who you are targeting, you will know where and how to find them. This goes back to point no.1 about finding your target audience — the more you know about them, the better.
Do your market research to find out if your customers use social media. If they do, which form of social media are they most likely to be on. Don’t be afraid to get creative or to try something new. Just don’t spend too much time on a new channel if you aren’t sure whether you’ll be able to reach your audience through it. Over time, you will be able to see which communication channels are beneficial and which ones are wastes of time — adjust accordingly.
(4) Connect with your audience.
When making posts on social media, be sure to respond when you get comments or messages. Thank your customers, give them shout outs if they post a photo that engages your brand in a positive way, and, once again, be authentic.
When connecting with your audience make sure to talk to them not at them. As business coach, Amanda Bucci, says it’s the difference between saying “us” and “we” instead of everything being “I” and “me.” You want your customers to feel valued, so whenever you engage in conversation with them you are reaffirming that they matter to you.
While social media is great for connecting to a wide audience, brands can more effectively build loyalty and trust through in-person connection. Whether or not you have a brick and mortar space, take the time to craft in-person experiences between your brand and your customer. This could mean hosting special events, workshops, luncheons, or one-on-one experiences. Take careful steps to ensure that are authentic (there's that word again!), custom, and sincere. In an ideal situation, your customer should feel like they are the most important person to your brand.
(5) Let others do it for you.
What’s better than having someone else say that your brand rocks? It’s one thing for you to say it but it’s worth way more when everyone else is talking about you. Whether you choose to collaborate with an influencer, brand some swag, or turn the camera over to your consumers, having your brand displayed and talked-up will only benefit you. When others communicate your brand’s message both trust and awareness will increase.
These days, it’s all about communication. Whether it’s in the workplace, in relationships, or in marketing, we can no longer afford to ignore the importance communication. We hope these few tips will help you adjust your communication strategies to more effectively share your brand with your audience.
If you’d like to chat further about your brand’s specific communication needs, send us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.