Putting some thought into a few key elements of your brand and business can put you firmly on the side of working smarter and not harder. The most effective brands think deeply about the customer experience and the role communication plays in building long-term trust and loyalty. Taking the time to do the same will clarify your organization’s purpose and the unique ways you help your clients and customers thrive in their own lives.
No one plans to fail, but people fail to plan as the saying goes and strategy–which is just another word for planning–is job number one. Getting crystal clear on your brand’s purpose and how you guide your audiences to where they want to go sets the stage for effectively saying whatever you need to say in whatever form you need to say it. A practical brand strategy balances your organization’s culture (both inherent and desired) with your business goals and with the needs and wants of your audiences. Done correctly, an effective brand strategy will provide a roadmap for how you communicate with your audiences across all media, from print to screen to environment.
Your average American (including you!) is bombarded with something along the lines of 3,000 unique media messages every single day. It’s a lot of noise that most of us can’t help but largely tune out. Nurturing a brand that can break through that clutter and find some traction and recall with your desired audience means being perceived as a welcoming–and reliable–presence. Establishing a consistent tone of voice for written communication and things like consistent color palette, logo and photo treatments for the visual side of your brand not only makes life easier when it comes to making content and design decisions, it also makes it more likely a potential customer already awash in marketing messages will notice and remember you.
Brand consistency and discipline are certainly related, but it helps to view them differently. Where consistency is about reliability, uniformity and coherence, discipline is an act of controlling behavior–either the behavior of others or our own. You can easily create consistency for a brand in the words and visuals but putting it out in the world and sticking with it requires conscious choice and action. That choice and action is discipline. Saying the same thing over and over in the form of a tagline or key message may bore us to tears after a year or two, but customers rarely feel the same. They crave familiarity and reward brands that consistently demonstrate discipline.
It’s difficult to keep up with the pace of change, but thoughtfully using and incorporating technology is critical for helping your brand work smarter. While it can be hard to discern what’s a passing trend and what technology you need to adopt or adapt to, you’ll rarely go wrong investing in tech solutions that solve age-old brand problems (collaboration, ROI tracking) or answer long-time marketing questions (What does my customer care most about? What’s the best time to reach them?). Networking with colleagues and branding professionals is an ideal way to learn about emerging technologies and their advantages, flaws and the best ways to leverage them for your brand.
As tricky as it can be to define, there’s little question that creativity sets brands apart from their competition every single day. Raymond Loewy, often considered the father of industrial design and the mind behind the Exxon logo, the Greyhound bus, the blue nose ofAir Force One and other iconic American emblems, observed that consumers wrestle with two innate—and opposed—forces. One force desires familiarity and safety while the other force desires novelty and curiosity. Creative communication solutions often reside where familiarity gives way to surprise and vice versa. Loewy termed this “maya” for Most Advanced Yet Acceptable. Exploring how your product or service can both surprise and comfort is a proven way to give your brand creative character that your customers will appreciate.
In today’s competitive business landscape, understanding the five ways to help your brand work smarter is crucial for increasing your business’s success and ROI. At AHM Brands, we specialize in guiding businesses through these strategies to unlock their full potential. Our expert team can assist you in developing a comprehensive brand strategy that aligns with your organization’s purpose and resonates with your target audience. To learn more, visit ahmbrands.com for a business consultation and introduction to our customized process.