Got a brand? Just like a person, your brand has a reputation to establish and uphold. The identity of your brand, of course, begins with its name. Your product or service is your brand’s body and mind, and you must use all five senses to reach out in appealing ways to old and new friends (customers). Your brand lives, breathes and grows via its brand personality, which has simply got to be consistently appealing, authentic and dependable.
That’s all wrapped up in what brand marketers refer to as a brand’s tone of voice. It reveals a style reflected across everything your brand says and does online and offline, both written and visual.
Leverage Your ROI
Smaller businesses can punch above their weight without a string of zeroes in the budget when they get their branding basics right. Why? Because brand loyalty, sharing, peer recommendations, transparent feedback and brand ambassadorship are stronger than ever in the digital age. We’re passionate about working with brands every day, large and small, to make this happen, so they can leverage their ROI to the maximum.
Image via www.google.com
See and Be Seen Where Your Brand Belongs
Even the most popular person can’t be — and shouldn’t try to be — everywhere at once. Decide where you want to be seen and heard depending upon who your customers are and where the circles of your brands’ look-alike audiences (as Facebook Ads have named this tool) are found. That’s why you don’t go to a convention for lovers of African violets to network with extreme adventure travelers and vice versa. Nor would anyone switch on a television shopping channel to buy heirloom Tiffany & Co. gems.
Online and On Brand
Apply traditional channel and networking logic to online platforms to determine where you belong. An anti-aging cream on Snapchat represents wasted effort in the same way that a traditional print advertisement for wrinkle cream would be absurd in the pages of Seventeen magazine. If you need some brand strategy support our team can steer you through your social media distribution decisions, specific to your brand, to get the most from your investment.
To see the big picture, AdWeek has published infographics providing some insights about the expected growth in online audiences of 180 million by platform and age group worldwide through the end of 2016. We can take your brand on a deeper dive into your brand’s affinity groups and demographics to pin down your best placement.
Image via www.adweek.com
Lights On, Always Open for Business
Since your consumers (all consumers!) are online, let’s go there first to discuss building your brand’s online personality in sync with your offline one. Importantly, they require fine-tuned alignment.
The days of turning out the lights and locking up the shop for the night are over, as you’re open for business 24/7 online. In the hearts and minds of your primary audience, the digital brand is indistinguishable from the bricks and mortar brand. Your clients don’t separate the online and offline personality of your brand, and you shouldn’t either.
Claim Your Free Real Estate
1. Claim your free real estate from these main social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr. Google+ and Google Places for Business are must-dos for everyone wanting to be found 24/7 by customers online. You can easily edit your contact information, business description, hours, website URL and photos. Not being on social media at all is not an option; you cannot manage your brand reputation if you’re invisible.
2. Add to your brand’s online presence by completing your business profile on free aggregate platforms pertaining to your business sector, such as TripAdvisor for travel and hospitality providers or Realtor.com for real estate. Your competitors are doing likewise.
3. Make sure your website is 100 percent mobile responsive; this is no longer optional. From April 2015, Google’s algorithms began penalizing search results for websites that don’t provide the best user experience on mobile devices.
According to Search Engine Watch, Google says that “near me” mobile searches have grown 34 times over since 2011. With 73 percent of the world’s population using mobile phones, we can be certain that mobile wallets are poised for exponential growth. In other words, brands that don’t optimize their online presence by paying attention to their appearance and brand tone of voice are leaving heaps of money on the table.
4. Develop the right tone of voice for your brand with brand profiling, using a system like our Personality Profile Performer™ and use it consistently across all content, all visuals and all devices (desktops, laptops, tablets and mobiles for all operating systems). You need to think of your brand as a humanized entity with a richly developed brand personality with key character attributes much like a real person e.g. likeable, friendly, sincere and genuine. Corporate-speak really doesn’t fly.
5. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. There’s no point in signing onto a social media platform other than to drive business to your website or to your door. So, once you create your online personality, brand reputation management has only just begun. As the old scouting song goes, “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.”
Answer comments and questions promptly and sincerely. An honest response to a negative review sets you up for an even better review. Remember, online you are speaking to two audiences — the person who make the comment and the rest of the world! Brand authenticity and honesty pays!
Visuals Are Vital
6. Upload original quality photos and videos. You simply cannot have too many. Visually appealing content needs the same attention as bricks and mortar appearances such as clean shop windows and display shelves free of dust.
The impact of visual is enormous. According to Social Media Today, 63 percent of social media is made up of images and 50 percent of users have shared online images and videos. On Instagram and Pinterest, you’ll inspire users and gain followers by creating hashtags and boards, translating in to more free real estate for your brand.
Image via www.socialmediatoday.com
Twitter indicates that content with a relevant photo gets 313 percent higher engagement, good news for small and medium-sized businesses. Make sure your brand personality and brand tone of voice is consistently expressed through your chosen images as well. Are you a fashion shop showing dresses, a utility provider showing friendly staff, an animal shelter featuring pets for adoption? Have fun with who you are to drive engagement.
Get it Right From the Start
It cannot be over-emphasized that getting your brand tone of voice right for your online brand personality is essential. Once you’ve taken control of that voice, it’s all yours for as long as it works effectively. We can help you with everything from developing your brand personality through brand profiling, or auditing your brand to give it a health check to creating your brand name, to re-branding (if and when that becomes necessary) and developing your brand strategy.
New and Improved Offline
7. Protect your brand’s reputation. One of the 10 commandments of effective leadership applies directly to brand reputation management, “Thou Shalt Not Over-Promise and Under-Deliver.”
Meeting and exceeding expectations is classic business strategy and the risks associated with getting it wrong fill volumes of business manuals. It comes straight back to the pillars of reputation management: authenticity and dependability. Your successful business has likely been handling this properly all along, or you wouldn’t be where you are today. However it’s always a good time to dust off and revitalize through refreshing, reminding, re-enthusing and re-training your staff — they are your brand ambassdors and consequently a really important part of your brand strategy.
8. Authenticity is everything…and the moment it’s lost, you’re damaged goods. Your strong and clear voice is required wherever your brand touches, in both your digital presence and offline, too. Always consider as a minimum the four ‘Ps’ of Marketing 101: Product, Promotion, Place, Price — which lead the way on the path to Profit.
9. Listening is good, conversation is even better. Wow, WOMMA! The Word of Mouth Marketing Association is a real thing…it has even has its own annual conference. Of course, before the internet, one-by-one sharing via word of mouth was the prevalent means of unpaid advertising. And it still works, more powerfully than ever. We can help you engage with customers in more dialogues for wider and deeper reach, always maintaining the critical overlay of brand authenticity.
10. Satisfy every customer from entry to exit. Imagine your brand once again as a real personality and recall these two tenets, “First impressions count” and “You only have one chance to make a first impression.” Both statements are true, but there’s more. We believe that the entire customer experience is integral to perceptions about your brand, from the moment your client walks in or first engages with your brand, until they depart, and your follow up in-between and later on. Your core brand values and what your brand stands for must shine through consistently in all your brand communications be they online or offline. Own it and win.
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Feel free to get in touch and let us know how you’d like us to help you with building your brand and establish a strong brand reputation online and offline:
T: +353 1 8322724
• Is your current brand personality and tone of voice hitting all the right notes for your brand? Is it truly reflective of your core brand values and what your brand stands for?
• Do you know how to craft an authentic, humanized brand voice through brand profiling to get people raving about your brand to all of their friends?
• Has your brand strategically planned for the changing social media landscape? Are you thinking differently or are you winging it with occasional assistance from an intern?
• Is your brand in the right places at the right times and talking to the right people to realize the most bang for your buck?
• Do you know if you are getting more than your fair market share, and if not, what to do about it?
• How well do you know your customers? Have you developed your buyer personas? Have you organized channels for customer feedback for continual improvement?
 AdWeek, Jan. 12, 2015 http://bit.ly/1SRJM4D
 John Schepke, Search Engine Watch, June 25, 2015 http://bit.ly/1Stzlt1
 eTourism Summit interview with Andrew Wiens, TripAdvisor, Nov. 20, 2014 http://bit.ly/1KIsWU3
 David Hall, Social Media Today, April 6, 2015 http://bit.ly/1fTDxk7
 Jane Stecyk, TweetTip, Small Business Content Team, January 28, 2015 http://bit.ly/1JEq0ZL