You surely will have noticed the dramatic change in the marketing strategy of consumer-facing brands in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. TV ads to paid content have been singularly focused on how brands care and are supporting their customers through very difficult times. But even if your company isn’t communicating directly to consumers, you should be thinking about how your response to current events shapes your brand perception.
Now more than ever, how you communicated and navigated the challenges of the past several months matters. Communication with employees (remote or otherwise), the culture you have nurtured, and how you have supported the community, all of that matters. Candidates looking at your brand consider whether they are the right fit for your culture, just as clients are looking at your business and wondering if you are the right partner. Think through your brand strategy as you move forward through these challenging times. Here are a few things to consider.
Brand As Identity
Brands are a unique combination of formatting, presentation, design, color, personality, price, service, and voice. It’s in your packaging, your voice mail message, and every other way in which your customer perceives or interacts with your company or your product. That amalgamation of attributes comes to mean something so personal to consumers that they, by purchasing your product, are saying that they want to be like that too. Think of brands such as Apple, Cristal, Manolo Blahnick. These brands have loyal, sometimes cult-like followings, almost entirely based on the brand they have created.
That high level of branding takes time to develop. It’s not a quick or easy thing to set about creating a recognizable brand. You need to take the time to differentiate yourself, to explore who you are as a company, and to make sure each customer touchpoint memorably reflects your messaging. Whether it’s the big things or the little things, your brand is shorthand for what you are as a business.
Branding Successes and Struggles
Social media is an important element of branding because it is so easy for customers to engage with you directly. But remember that your social media outlets should reflect your brand messaging as clearly as your packaging or your logo. There are several easy missteps to make when building your brand through your social outlets, so tread carefully. Making mistakes like the inappropriate use of a trending hashtag, or making a joke that backfires, can have severe consequences for your brand image.
What’s more, your brand should be able to connect you with customers on a global scale. Considering how quickly and easily customers can interact with companies worldwide, it is undoubtedly a mistake not to at least consider that. Localizing your content in multiple languages can help you connect with your global customers on a deeper, more personal level. But beware of those “lost in translation” moments when your messaging gets twisted around into something completely wrong. To avoid this, think twice about using simplified internet tools to translate your messaging. You need a native speaker to translate your material so that your material’s voice and content are not distorted.
So what does your branding say about your business? Would you want to join a company like yours? There’s always the opportunity to learn and grow from past opportunities, but know that the decisions you make now will shape your brand perception for years to come.
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