As a business owner or head of marketing, you’re on a constant quest for fresher and more innovative strategies to take your brand image to the next level. The brand universe has expanded above and beyond all hitherto known frontiers with the rise in new tech and consumer aspirations.
What does it take to stay in sync with this dynamic ecosystem where tactics and strategies make all the difference to your brand’s visibility, relevance, and very existence?
Big data, sophisticated analytics, AI, and cutting-edge technologies, coupled with a deep understanding of the new consumer are the driving forces behind branding campaigns in 2024. Apart from connecting with consumers, branding strategies have to ensure that your entire team stays connected along the journey. That’s where new tools and platforms such as Sociabble play a stellar role.
What’s A Brand Image?
Whether you’re selling a moisturizer or a state-of-the-art airplane, offering a home cleaning service, or wedding planning, the key approach remains the same. It’s not so much the product or service that’s on sale, it’s the whole experience, emotions, and sentiments associated with them.
Think of a brand as a person – with her or his name, address, appearance, personality, and what they bring to the table. To stay memorable, relevant, and useful, they develop certain characteristics or traits that keep them uppermost in our minds. Whether you choose to build a lasting relationship or a passing acquaintance depends on the experience you have with the brand.
To flesh out this process, brands develop a recognizable identity that has distinct visuals, brand ambassadors, graphics, logos and taglines, core values, colors, and even certain types of music and art. In simple terms, it’s a process of creating a psychological connection between a brand and its image.
Why Old Tactics Don’t Cut Ice Anymore
The challenge today is staying in step with consumer expectations and demands, and that’s the driving force behind the emergence of constantly renewable tactics and strategies to “Stayin’ Alive.”
One of the biggest revolutions in marketing has been driven not by the marketer, but by the consumer. The consumer today is tech savvy, impatient, has access to more funds than ever, is probably younger, and is spoiled for choice. Branding is at the crossroads of science and art.
The explosion of e-commerce, performance measurement, social media, influencers, and digital marketing have created a completely new environment. Meeting your customer where they are – on a variety of devices, across continents and time zones, and adapting to their changing preferences has to be built into your marketing strategy if you’re to ramp up.
New messaging has to be:
- Compatible across mobile phones, laptops, desktops
- Cohesive, consistent, and connected
- In sync with shrinking attention spans
- Robust and healthy enough for longevity in the marketplace
- Able to push more human values and environmental concerns
- Localized, yet scalable
- Highly personalized
- Reliably predictive
Breaking New Ground in Branding
Pushing your brand beyond its present frontiers keeps it evergreen, healthy, and kicking. Getting complacent can be dangerous because the new marketplace can be ruthless and unforgiving, no matter how loyal or niche your customer is.
If you want to (or need to) revamp your branding techniques, look at these broad areas:
Understand the New Consumer
Studies constantly focus on new consumer behavior and its chameleon-like changes. These are driven more by the attendant revolution in technology and the easy access to information. Yet, paradoxically, they also value the brand experience of consistency, feeling safe and connected, and getting value for money.
It’s wise to invest in research, cast your net wider, and go that extra mile to get the pulse of your consumer.
Not Just Problem-Solving
Products and services have gone way beyond being mere problem solvers. Today they represent a particular life decision, core values and personal image. Any blueprint for a re-branding exercise must adapt to this changed scenario.
More Transparent and Genuine
While the new consumer is certainly on the lookout for great deals, they sandwich them between important caveats. For Gen Z, a brand that’s transparent and upfront holds very high value. Simple approaches such as truthful and detailed labeling, authentic reviews, and a quick and satisfactory response system can make all the difference.
You and your customer should mirror each other’s values across the board.
Multiple Sources of Information
Don’t throw away all your tried and tested strategies just because new ones have emerged. Keep using the ones that give results. But you need 360-degree scans and a stream of information from as many sources as possible to ensure that you’re on the right track.
Invest in reliable and well-established testing methods to keep your strategy lean and mean. Predictive analyses, looking a big-picture approaches, rapidly moving socio-economic dynamics and demographic analysis have never been more essential than today.
Consumer shelf-life can be notoriously short, but following trends blindly could also mean that you lose a more mature market in the race to attract new consumers.
The Power Of Social Media and Digital
Keep conversations going to engage with your consumer. With a plethora of platforms and medial to choose from, all you need is a consistent voice and the ability to think on your feet. Nearly 90% of online shoppers research a brand, read reviews and ratings, and check with their social media groups before they purchase a product or a service.
They look at a variety of sellers, compare prices and quality, and use several shopping channels based on the type of purchase. Studies reveal that some tactics such as celebrity endorsements have reduced impact compared to browsing customer ratings and reviews.
Using videos, photos, and animation is a powerful branding strategy. When you provide reviews and ratings, adding genuine customer videos helps to increase trustworthiness and authenticity. First-time consumers rely heavily on real user-generated content to influence their decisions.
Rather than using created or curated materials and messages, it’s more effective to get bonafide, verifiable reviews. The advantage is that you retain a satisfied customer who is excited about her/his reviews being noticed, and you also attract a fresh consumer.