Jonathan Schwartz, CEO and Co-Founder of Bullseye Strategy.
I have been a front-seat observer of the digital evolution in marketing and communications. My career in digital marketing has opened my eyes to how technology has changed the way we communicate with customers. Smartphones provide ubiquitous and always-on access. As a result, it’s more critical than ever to communicate with customers in the right place.
Brand communication serves several significant purposes for a business. These five tips help us engage customers in ways that offer them value:
Be consistent in your messaging and delivery.
Consistency in messaging and delivery is critical. Without it, your strategy suffers. You want people to recognize your brand before seeing it, generating more ROAS (return on ad spend) and ROI.
Building brand consistency begins with a few basic steps, including defining your guidelines, meeting public expectations and understanding the meaning of your brand and what it stands for. Consistent brand messaging is typically presented with the following key elements:
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• Graphic design elements.
• Company values.
According to a survey, 86% of customers say authenticity is a driving factor when purchasing from brands, and 57% believe less than half of brands build authentic content.
Framing your brand to be more authentic starts by ensuring all your messaging touches on your brand tone, voice and unique value proposition. It starts with building a solid foundation using content pillars, the building blocks of your brand’s communication.
Content pillars, sometimes referred to as “content clusters” or “content buckets,” are a building block of the most relevant topics that resonate with your target audience. Typically comprised of three to five topics, from blog posts to infographics, content pillars are an excellent way to maintain consistent content across all channels of your communications strategy.
Transparency requires your organization to disclose information regarding your company goals, operations, values and even, in some cases, sales figures. Consumers prefer to see a brand that remains open and honest. This is especially true for stakeholders who support your organization.
• User-Generated Content (UGC)
The power of UGC has become more prevalent than ever before. In the same study referenced above, 60% of people said UGC impacted their purchasing decisions. Those surveyed said that seeing friends or family share a purchase on social media made them more likely to buy the same product, and it doesn’t stop at product purchases. Millennials surveyed also said they are more likely to eat at a restaurant or choose a vacation destination based on the content they see on social media.
Build trust and provide value.
Trust is vital for consumers, and it can break a business if customers do not trust the brand behind a product they purchase, no matter how much they enjoy it. Building trust comes in many forms—from responding to all comments and inquiries on social platforms in your brand’s tone and voice to always putting customers first. Additionally, offering a place for your customers to provide feedback on your website or generating surveys is an excellent way to offer value, and implementing their feedback builds trust.
One of the keys to building trust goes back to consistency. It’s important to continually communicate what your brand stands for and that you are true to that. Dove is a great example of this. The brand’s advertising campaigns all tie back to the message that all bodies are beautiful and that beauty should be a source of confidence and not anxiety. The message is consistent, and as a result, it builds trust with customers.
When you bring value to your customers, they bring value to your brand. If you are a trusted business with a reliable, high-quality product, it often leads to repeat business and a loyal customer base. This offers an opportunity to work on and develop additional product lines to achieve revenue growth, but it’s only successful if consumers already trust your company.
Create multiple touchpoints.
Touchpoints—any interaction during the customer journey—are an excellent way to connect with your audience on various levels. There are multiple ways to reach your customers:
• Print correspondence.
• Product packaging.
Videos are an important part of any communication strategy and continue to grow in popularity. They can be an excellent way to drive traffic, sales and engagement. According to research, 87% of marketers say using video helped them increase website traffic, and another 81% say video also helped them drive sales. And 73% of customers say they would rather watch a short video compared to another 11% that prefer to read an article.
Brand communication is an excellent way to build relationships with existing and potential customers, and it sets a foundation to build value that keeps them returning. Transparency, consistency and authenticity are valuable tools any company can implement into its strategy.
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Author: Jonathan Schwartz, Forbes Councils Member