It is time to establish mutually beneficial and ongoing relationships with your audience, to make sure that the interactions your customers have throughout the entire journey are successful – from the very first contact through to becoming a happy and loyal customer. This connection and experience shared with your audience is the most exciting opportunity for businesses right now.
Building relationships like this can be done through communication, sales, product, and service. It’s about storytelling consistently and tapping into your audience’s emotions with a narrative and differentiation. Now more than ever, humanity must not be lost in what has become a very tech-obsessed world; our messages online (although important) must be truthful offline – in reality too.
Take brand and marketing, some may say that they are completely separate principles; a brand is just a logo, colour palette, and a funky font; while marketing is flyers, a Facebook page, and a TV ad. But what if a brand strategy is about bringing clarity to your business offering and perception in the market? And your marketing strategy is how you consistently communicate your brand offering across multiple, effective channels? Say hello to brand marketing!
Brand marketing is here and it WILL shape your strategy to nurture long term goals by sharing your identity, values, and personality for your audience to experience. Brand marketing is about storytelling, connecting with your audience on a level that they can relate to and appreciate; to promote and ultimately sell your product or service. But, if you’re in for short-term goals only; not about building relationships and a community with your audience, then this is not for you. This is the long game, but it will be SO worth it!
A brand marketing strategy will elevate your business to become known, loved, and preferred by your ideal customer base. Think of your favourite products; Apple iPhone, Chanel perfume, Nike trainers, Krispy Kreme doughnuts – they are all so much more than a product aren’t they? Using them, consuming them evokes emotion, it’s an experience. We buy them because they make us feel good, we enjoy using/wearing them so that feeling drives our desire to purchase. An emotion and experience is memorable and we purchase with that in mind.
So how do we translate that to our brand marketing strategy and activity? A brand’s story and experience need to live everywhere – from the tone of voice used in your email marketing, to the colour palette of your Instagram grid, to the packaging used on the product; everything must work together, cohesively and consistently to provide the ultimate experience and build a recognisable brand.
To start building your strategy, understanding the need of the individual who is looking for the product or service you offer is vital. They have become aware of something they’re missing or could make their life easier/better/more enjoyable. Journey mapping is crucial here – why do they need your product or service, practically and emotionally?
Take a look at my customer journey map template – it explains the different stages and provides blank sections for you to fill in according to your business! You’ll notice my customer journey map is circular and there’s a really important reason for that – this journey is cyclical. Each customer experience influences the next – it goes on and on and each stage feeds into the next. And that doesn’t just apply to new customers, it applies to customer loyalty; we need and WANT the customer to come back time and time again, so let’s get the experience right! Keep thinking – BIG PICTURE!
Using a tool like this allows you to also be a bit more disciplined in your tracking and measuring tactics too. Reviews, repeat custom, social media shares, and stories are key tools to evaluate how successful your customer journey has been. You can also build promotional campaigns into your customer journey in a bid to encourage a long-lasting relationship with your customer, but also to help you measure how far along the journey the customer has travelled. For instance, a new customer receives a 20% off voucher to spend when they are next in-store, when they redeem that voucher they qualify for a loyalty card, later on, the customer receives a refer a friend offer – after all that, I can guarantee that a glowing Instagram story with your name on it will be shared!
Remember, in today’s market, regardless of what you sell, experience is your product or service: before, during, and after a purchase. So keep putting yourself in your customer’s shoes and understand what triggers their emotions to create the ultimate experience.
Work on refining each aspect of your business that plays a part in this – your name, your authentic story, a clever tagline, a clear brand voice, a successful purchasing process; to celebrate your big picture. By focusing on your holistic customer experience your brand WILL thrive!
A big thank you to Beth at Market Shed for this post.