Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Top 10 Brand Tips for 2015

Early last year, I presented some brand tips for 2014. As the new year begins, it's a good time to analyze your branding strategies so that you can reach the largest audience possible, stand out from the competition, and create the most buzz.

Brand Tip #1:
Be mobile accessible. Does your website look good on mobile devices? Does it scale appropriately? If not, spend the time to make sure your site looks good and is easily accessible from smartphones and tablets. Many people access the Internet while on the go, so you don't want to lose customers or prospective customers because your site looks like it was designed during the last century. This goes for making emails mobile accessible too.

Brand Tip #2:
Does your brand store data in the cloud? With all the data breaches in the mainstream news, make sure to spend the time to protect your customer data. Just because you store data in the cloud does not mean your data is safe. Implement complex password practices for all employees who will access your data, which means that all passwords should be at least 10 characters in length and integrate lower case letters, upper case letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid passwords of "12345678" and "password" like the plague.

Brand Tip #3:
On this same note, think about security from your customers' point of view. If your brand has suffered a data breach, implement procedures to alert customers and the mainstream media immediately. Don't wait for someone in the media to tell your story - your brand and business may not survive the negative publicity.

Brand Tip #4:
While the Internet of Things is a hot topic, not every industry and brand are affected. Your brand may have nothing to do with an app that can remotely control a refrigerator, but there may be some unique ways to integrate the Internet of Things into your marketing strategies. The theme here is: Think outside the box.

Brand Tip #5:
How often do you request feedback from customers? Do you send electronic surveys? Do you thank customers for completing the surveys? And what do you do once you receive the feedback? As with any other part of your overall marketing strategy, have a strategy from start to finish for the feedback project.

Brand Tip #6:
Don't let the number one brand in your industry scare you. Remember the famous tagline from Avis, "We're #2, We Try Harder?" Sometimes, brands that aren't industry leaders turn out to be the trendsetters. Apple was a small company when it ran its famous 1984 Super Bowl ad.

Brand Tip #7:
While the concept of customer experience marketing is not new, the implementation of providing consistency across multiple touchpoints may be new for your brand. How often does someone within your company call the toll-free number, visit a retail store, make an online purchase, participate in an online chat - all with the intention of checking out the consistency of the customer experience? If these situations don't happen on a regular basis, there's work to be done because you don't want to provide different experiences and confuse your customers.

Brand Tip #8:
What social media platform are you most comfortable using? During 2015, try reaching a new audience with a new social site. You may be surprised by the results.

Brand Tip #9:
This tip is timeless: Since all employees are ambassadors for your brand, train employees on a regular basis so that they can talk about your brand when out in the community and interacting at industry events, etc.

Brand Tip #10:
This tip is also timeless and is the core of branding: Implement consistency. No matter what marketing tool you use - printed collateral, websites, emails, advertisements, brochures, annual reports, flyers, presentation templates, business cards, stationery, folders, tradeshow booths, or social media - make sure your brand identity (logo, tagline, and color palette) is CONSISTENT!

What do you think will appear on my list of branding tips for 2016? Check back next January.

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