Kerry Grady, Founding Principal
Marketing experts will tell you that there’s no time like the present to kick the identity of your brand and its message into high gear.
To start, you can ask yourself a few questions which is key to getting your message heard. For example: What is your external and internal message? How does it align with your corporate vision, mission, values and goals? It’s vital to be intentional about every word that you use – they all matter.
Are your employees, partners, prospects and customers empowered to share their stories about their ideas, growth, pains and gains with others within the company? These are the voices that can help you navigate the creation and evolution of your brand. Give people a reason to talk about it. Ultimately, your reputation is at the heart of your brand – and, whether it’s good or bad, you build that reputation through stories. And if you don’t define and tell your own stories, someone else will. Brand leaders know that they must lead not only from within, but also to the outside world. Consider that if you don’t publish anything via social media, nobody will. In the exception that someone else does, it’s unlikely to support your brand in a positive, differentiating way.
Brand messaging – which will help you stand out – must be consistent and relentless.
That means the message must start at the top and trickle down. In any and every company, almost every person who is directly or indirectly responsible for selling to a prospect or customer has a public facing social media page. It’s important to remember that these personal brand pages are a direct reflection of your brand and your company too. Be sure to give everyone in your company the resources they need to post. These posts are the opportunity to strategically express your company values and key points of your brand differentiation in positive ways. Keep in mind that if you don’t provide employees with brand-aligned content, your employees will post content of their own.
One way to differentiate from your competitors is the way that you connect with with customers. Once you become the market leader, you win. But to be the leader you need to cultivate trust. It’s how a leading brands (Apple, BMW, Google) continue to be leaders. At the end of the day, customers can chose to buy products and services from anyone they want – and the marketplace is full of sameness. The way to convince customers to choose you, is through a strong, differentiating brand, built on trust.
To be effective, you need to learn the rules of the brand game, and then play it better than anyone else. Don’t wait to react to the competition. Be proactive with your brand. Dictate the playing field to your competition and establish a standard of excellence with your own day-to-day performance and culture, your commitment to the driving principles that support your authentic brand.