[As published in Meetings + Incentive Travel*]
In today’s marketing world, branding is an always-on activity. With so many points of contact, online and offline, a strong brand must be seen as dynamic and vibrant; otherwise, it stagnates and loses ground.
As a business-to-business professional, it’s important to always be aware of how your activities affect the health and growth of your brand. Whether we’re talking about a corporate brand, a product, or your personal brand, you should strive to express its values in a way that is consistent and engaging.
Here’s a simple set of rules you can count on the fingers of one hand. To be a successful modern marketer, make them part of your daily routine.
1. BE AUTHENTIC. The most valuable asset a brand can have today is integrity. What that means is that your brand stands for something and doesn’t waver. No one wants to align themselves with a brand that’s wish-washy, expressing one thing today and something else tomorrow, tagging along after every passing trend. Know the values that your brand represents and stay true to them!
2. BE RELEVANT. No brand is an island. A brand becomes meaningful when it is discovered by people who associate it with a set of values they share, thus creating a brand community. So being relevant means, first of all, understanding what is important to them. Beyond that, it means staying in touch with your community so you are constantly aware of their shifting priorities over time. With this solid perspective, you’ll be able to develop messaging that continues to reflect the values that drew them to the brand in the first place.
3. BE INTERESTING. Everyone’s attention is fragmented and distracted these days. To avoid getting lost in the shuffle, find creative ways to express your message. This does not mean going off-topic. It’s more like giving your audience a different angle of perspective, a different way of viewing the values that give meaning to your brand. The important thing is ensuring that your “voice” remains consistent.
4. BE ENGAGING. One of the best ways to strengthen your brand is to let your brand community feel involved with it. Give them opportunities to interact with you. This can be a contest, a learning experience, or something as simple as an online poll. Ideally, it should be something that members of your brand community want to share with other people they know—creating the potential of bringing new members into the fold.
5. BE PRESENT. An important part of knowing your brand community is knowing where to reach them. Are they active on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter? Or, are they more inclined to focus their attention on your brand when they encounter it in traditional print or broadcast media? You don’t have to be everywhere. Smart marketers find a position of common ground with their brand communities and establish a consistent presence there.
Learn these five daily essentials—memorize them, tack them on your bulletin board, tattoo them on your arm! Make them part of your branding DNA, and your brand will be well positioned for growth. The key is to keep at it…every day!
* This original content was previously published in Meetings + Incentive Travel., as “Branding Matters: The Five Essentials for Growing a Brand.” It is presented again here because it covers branding and marketing concepts that have relevance for our broader Blade Brand News audience.