Founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting
Your company’s brand is an essential yet intangible asset that narrates how your audience views your organization. It’s no longer sufficient to merely develop your branding. To be sustainable, you must also future-proof your brand, ensuring that you evolve with industry trends and stay relevant to a digital audience.
Keep your company’s brand aligned with both your audience and competition for many years to come using the following five strategies.
A report from SmartHQ found that 72 percent of consumers only engage with personalized marketing messages tailored to their interests. Large organizations use AI and machine learning technology to their advantage to provide personalized experiences (think Amazon or Netflix’s recommendations). This means marketers need to get even savvier to offer similar personalized experiences to their audience.
This starts with knowing your audience well, including their likes, dislikes, and pain points. If you haven’t already, you can use this audience research guide to get the details you need to paint a clear picture of who you’re selling to.
Second, collect data, whether it be via a Google survey, your subscriber list, sales funnel opt-ins, or social media listening. The best way to know your customers is to learn about their challenges, questions and preferences directly from them.
Conduct research, compile the data, and then use it to tailor your messaging to your target audience’s preferences. Remember that there’s a fine line between helpful personalization and creepy marketing. For example, the Smart HQ report found that push notifications were three of the “creepiest” and most interfering marketing tactics. Make the experience personal, but do so in the way your customers want.
Authenticity and transparency are important to the modern consumer, not only for building brand trust but for driving brand loyalty. A recent report found that 86 percent of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding which brand to follow. People want to know who they’re doing business with or who they’re engaging with on social media, and they want to see the faces behind the brand.
Developing a strong culture for your company will help with external brand promotion as well as internal functions. For example, a University of Minnesota study found corporate culture to be the most important factor for driving and predicting innovation. Once you nail your organization’s culture, you can promote it via your website and social media. Show your authentic, successful team working together to achieve aligned goals.
More importantly, use this type of media to prove that you walk the walk and talk the talk. As Michael Mueller, Head of Marketing for Frontify explains:
"If culture and brand are operating on the same wavelength—agreeing on purpose and values—you'll surely be a top-runner for customers and employees, future-proof the entire organization, and create a business that runs on authenticity. If the customer-facing brand can mirror that in marketing, sales—any operation, really, you've got a winning concept."
User experience is even more critical with the rollout of 5G networks. Recent reports forecast that 1.4 billion people will be on 5G by 2025, representing 15 percent of global mobile users.
As a result, mobile users will have even faster access to websites, content, and digital channels. In some testing environments, 5G speed can be 65,000 times faster than typical 4G. To put that in perspective, you could download a file that’s 100 times larger than a full movie in 3 seconds.
The fact is that mobile users will have increasingly quick access to the internet and will expect a more positive and streamlined UX, and acknowledging that now will help you stay ahead later.
For pointers on design and functionality, refer to Successive Tech’s guide to optimizing UX and UI for 5G networks.
Try new strategies, but don’t do it with a “throw things at the wall to see what sticks” attitude. Instead, adopt a willingness to try new approaches by arming yourself with the right information. Test new strategies after thorough research, within your own business and competitive research, so you don’t waste time or money on something that won’t actually have an impact.
For example, perhaps the latest viral social platform TikTok seems like an interesting space for your brand to branch into. Research the demographics and cross-reference that with your audience, as well as the success other businesses see, to decide if you should invest resources there.
Branding can be a nebulous activity when you can’t link it to hard sales. However, key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics will help you understand how branding affects the bottom line. What’s more, the correct data will convince C-suite and management that your branding efforts lead to increased performance and conversion, allowing you to continually innovate, test new technology and play with new tactics.
More importantly, metrics provide insights that will guide future strategy. You can’t continuously optimize your efforts without having the right benchmarks to measure progress. According to Content Marketing Institute, 80 percent of B2B marketers use metrics to measure content performance, and 65 percent have established KPIs. What is the top goal of those marketers? To increase brand awareness (with 86 percent).
A brand is a living, breathing entity. You can’t create a brand and forget about it while you focus on operational tasks. Just as businesses evolve, industries change, and audiences grow, you need to redefine your brand to align with your current organization and goals. To secure long-term success for your brand, use these strategies to ensure you’re staying ahead of the competition and keeping up with customers.