You’ve determined your brand promise. You know your purpose, your mission, and your positioning. You’ve crafted the perfect brand strategy. You’ve got both your branding and marketing messaging squared away and ready to go. The only remaining question: What media will you use to reach out to your market? That’s going to be determined, in large part, by available budget and projected return on investment. But, these days, there are more options than ever, from pay-per-click ads to skywriting and everything in between.There are effective channels for even the most meager budgets. There are a couple of things to remember when drawing up your media plan. Like any other form of communication, marketing should be open, honest and regular. And it requires a certain amount of listening too. Let’s tackle that last point first.
LISTENING – In the olden days of yore, before the internet, marketing was a one-way form of brand communication. Of necessity, it was from the one (source) to the many (potential buyers). Skywriting is a perfect example. A brand would pay to have a message written in the sky and millions of people would receive that message and, hopefully, act on it. All traditional advertising works this way – one sender and many receivers of any given message. And that’s it. End of conversation. Advertisers didn’t have to wait around for any feedback because consumers couldn’t give any. Traditional advertising is also incredibly intrusive. 30-second spots interrupt our TV and radio shows. Billboards mar our view, etc. Ads are intrinsically annoying, not the best way to initiate a brand relationship with a consumer.
Employing an ever-increasing number of online tools, today’s messaging can be truly conversational. We can create one-to-one relationships between brand and consumer where the dialog flows in both directions. Consumers can tell brands what kind of messaging they’d prefer to receive, how they’d like to receive it, or if they’d rather not receive any messaging at all. This model, where the consumer has a voice, is far superior to traditional advertising because it more closely resembles a true conversation. If it’s smart, the brand will spend a lot of time listening to that consumer’s voice, learning how to make its product or service better – and the shared brand relationship stronger. The consumer, feeling empowered, is appreciative and bonds even more closely with the brand. Both brand and consumer benefit.
Don’t get me wrong. There is still a place for traditional advertising. But, today, it’s just one of many options that marketers have. If you must advertise traditionally, fine. But make sure you’re selecting at least one interactive channel as well.
OPEN AND HONEST – Any conversation you have with your family or friends should be open and honest. Right? You should speak from your authentic self and not lie or mislead or let anyone jump to inaccurate conclusions. Right? It is no different when communicating with your market. Yet so many marketers think they can get away with false claims, scams or even outright fraud. Even major companies like Enron, Volkswagen and Well Fargo – companies that should know better – have been caught red-handed cheating their own customers.
Ask Boardwalk to set up a brand communication
plan for your business.
We can let the police take care of fraudulent business practices. But what we’re talking about in this post is fraudulent brand communication. That alone is bad enough. Pick media outlets that will minimize your intrusions to the point where they’re welcome and not annoying. Respect your market. Don’t hide bad news. Tell people the whole story. Don’t say things that you don’t mean. Be authentic. Lead where your leadership is required. Otherwise, let your market lead you. Choose media outlets that will facilitate your brand being its true self.
REGULAR – I know someone who grew up (sorta) with an absentee father. He only came around twice a year at Christmas and on her birthday. Sometimes, not always, he’d bring an expensive gift. Because he didn’t really keep up with her likes and dislikes, the gift was almost always awkwardly off-target. Many kids grow up with a parent like this and they will all tell you the same thing. They would trade all the gifts in the world for a parent who was there every day, who understood who they were and who would provide support in all the important, little, parenting ways. You know where this is going.
Perhaps the most critical guideline for choosing media? Be there consistently. It is better to send tiny little messages out on a regular basis than to blow your whole budget on one expensive stunt and then just hope it pays off somewhere down the line. Don’t buy a Super Bowl ad unless, like Budweiser, you can buy one every year (and do plenty of other advertising as well). Don’t buy a big booth at your industry’s most important trade show if you can’t afford to do it again next year and the year after that. If you make a big show and then disappear the next year, your market will think you went out of business. It’s better to take one of the little booths at the back of the exhibition hall and be there year after year. The same holds true with any media. You don’t need to be splashy. You need to be consistent.
Besides, as the sidebar shows, people don’t buy unless they’ve been engaged by a consistent marketing message.
When choosing media for your brand communication, choose a mix of channels that will allow you to listen, to be open and honest, and to be a regular presence in your market’s life. It’s important to do this even if you have to scale back your ambitions a little bit. Let that Super Bowl ad wait till next year.
Best Branding Reads – Week of May 20, 2019
A Brand’s Cultural Relevance Is Almost as Important as a Strong Image, Study Finds
It’s a tricky thing for a business to associate itself with a social cause and still maintain strength in its brand. But that’s what people want these days.
Linking Purpose And Profit In Private Equity
Interesting and worthwhile article – but it’s another example of how confusion is created by conflating “purpose” with “cause”.
What’s in a name? When you’re running for president, a lot
Following the examples of market leaders everywhere, political campaigns are getting more and more sophisticated about how they are branding themselves. When will you wise up, small and middle-market businesses?
Beware Of Fracturing Your Brand Culture
A brand is the shared relationship between a business and its market. But the market includes employees. Alienate them and watch the customer relationship suffer as well.
New Logo and Identity for ESL
A terrible logo and wordmark slapped onto a terrific visual identity system. How did they manage it?
The TWA hotel at JFK is open, and it looks amazing
A classic brand rises up from the dead in an astonishing new way.
The world’s 50 most valuable brands—ranked
True wonks can click through to the Global 500 - 2019, a report by Brand Finance.