As 2019 comes to a close, most companies often forget to take a moment and reflect on the state of their brand – what did they do well to protect it and where there may be room for improvement.
Remember, a company’s brand is everywhere. From social media to websites to employees and their engagement levels (including what they may really say about the company), how the brand is perceived by the public could make the difference between profitability or not. Strong brands are perceived as trustworthy and safe with little risk. The goal of brand management is to deliver a consistent experience that builds awareness, brand equity and loyalty over time and it must be started on the inside first.
Define the brand
When it comes to a company’s brand, don’t assume employees know what the story truly is. In most cases, employees have self-defined the brand based on their personal experiences. When it comes to brand management, it’s critical to share the core values, mission and vision with the internal team and then repeat them constantly. Focusing on what the company does best and the strengths of the organization is key to not only speaking with one voice in the marketplace but also building a stronger brand.
Create brand ambassadors within the organization
Every company has them – those employees who are the company’s biggest cheerleaders and advocates and the ones their co-workers trust. Tap into this group and empower them with the tools to help spread information about new initiatives. Use them as a sounding board as well as a feedback loop to get the pulse of what is truly happening in the organization.
Listen to what others are saying and join the conversation
Be mindful of what’s being shared about your brand in the media, online and via social. If your company doesn’t invest in a media clipping service, at the minimum set up Google Alerts to monitor mentions online of the company’s name as well as key leadership team members.
Build goodwill through social media (but make sure it’s authentic to who you are)
Social media is very powerful, but it must be used wisely. There are many stories of how a company’s response to a negative post either created a raving fan or a time bomb waiting to explode. It’s critical to establish a strategy for response as well as for social media overall that is custom to the channel being used.
Stay fresh and up-to-date
Keeping a pulse on what is happening in the industry and the news will help the brand stay relevant to its audiences. The best brands in the world stay agile and pivot if needed. It’s how they tell this story that keeps them true to who they are.
Strategy first, tactics second
The strategy should determine and lead all tactics that are executed. Always.
Audiences expect transparency in today’s world and they will hold brand’s accountable for everything they do (both positive and negative). If a mistake is made, own it, say how you are going to fix it and move forward.
Brand management may sound easy but doing it well over time may not be and consistency of sharing the same messages over and over can get boring and forgotten. Remember, every organization is a living and breathing organism with new life (whether employees or customers) being introduced every day. Keeping the brand exciting during year 10 is even more important than it was in year one.
Want more information on brand management? Reach out today, we’d love to share our experience.