How would you feel if you went to a restaurant expecting a 5-star experience only to witness a series of faux-pas? This type of disconnection between reality and expectation can happen in many online touching points customers have with a certain brand. Non-ideal experiences often break a brand’s promise, which hurts the brand strategy.
For marketers running multi-channel content strategies this is a constant challenge. The necessity to keep their brand’s promises is an every day and ongoing task, present with every piece of content they plan, create, publish and distribute.
I was recently looking for insights on how to help marketers going through this type of challenge when a friend mentioned I should connect with Sidney Evans on LinkedIn. As a busy consultant, speaker and columnist, he was gracious enough to share his time and insights on the connection between branding and content strategies. I recorded our conference call — he was in Barcelona for the App Design and Development Conference. You can watch it as an episode of our Marketing Heroes Series or read the main points below.
The moving parts of a branding strategy
Branding goes way beyond logos and names, but can you honestly say you have a full grasp of your brand’s potential? According to Sidney Evans, a brand derives from who you are. It also includes who you want to be and how people perceives your company. And it all starts from one question: “what is your main promise to the customer?”.
Some marketers don’t have a full grasp of the totality of what a brand is and the reason for that is the amount of moving parts a branding strategy can have. Marketers who succeed are the ones who are fully aware of shifts that happen on the market and how they can engage their customers and help them navigate through these shifts.
Everything you do must be aligned to your brand promises. Think about your brand’s promises and what you’re really trying to say to your consumer. Is it luxury, is it rustic? Every touching point should confirm that premisse.
Can B2B and B2C approach branding in the same way?
Sidney Evans shares three steps every marketer could take to review a branding strategy and improve customer experience — and they work in both B2B and B2C spaces. Here are they:
- Listen: be aware not to cherry-pick positive feedback. Disregarding the bad and the ugly can easily and quickly compromise your brand’s credibility. “Savvy brands develop what I call a feedback loop. They really ensure they’re capturing information from their consumers. And they’re not only capturing, but they’re utilizing and applying this information to move the brand forward.”
- Analyze: to apply the feedback received from customers and use it effectively, “big data” can be a great ally. That way marketers and CX executives can not only collect but analyze feedback in order to continuously improve and deliver consistent experiences through all touching points.
- Execute: execution should be deeply connected to the brand’s core values. Shifting from communication to conversation is key to move from a project-driven branding execution to an ongoing continuous improving process. “Really savvy brands understand that one conversation must connect to the next one and it’s a constant ongoing process and not a one-off”.
KPIs to track for branding strategy success
It all starts from brand-awareness goals and what the company is looking for at the moment. With that goal in mind, a couple important metrics for branding according to Sidney Evans are:
- Brand awareness surveys results;
- Web traffic results (number of views and engagement);
- Social listening, social reach and response;
- Media coverage and mentions.
Where content strategy meets brand voice
In the intersection between content strategy and brand’s voice, purpose is key. For Sidney, purpose should be the first thing a content manager should be aware of when approaching a brand’s content strategy. Ask yourself constantly: why are we doing this?. In order to preserve the brand’s ethos, every content we create and distribute should be connected to that purpose.
Another aspect is relatability: try defining how your customers will relate with each piece of content published by your brand and if these pieces speak of matters they truly care about. It connects to how each content is relevant to what your content strategy requires you to do at a given time.
In the end, Sidney Evans also share one of the main branding mistakes in content strategies — and how to avoid these pitfalls. “You can’t be all things to all people. Brands shouldn’t try to be everything to everyone. Do what you do well and stick to that.”
You can watch the video of my conference with Sidney Evans on Youtube and listen to his C-Suite podcasts to learn more about branding strategy.
If you believe your brand can benefit from more consistency on both content and social strategies, request a demo of Contentools Platform and check how we help +1,200 content managers improve their brand’s online presence.