One of the important challenges we face as a communications team is convincing new and old companies that having a formal, written, focused marketing strategy is and essential foundation for success. You’d think this wouldn’t be all that difficult to accept from a logical perspective; planning is key to reach any of your goals. Yet, we’re constantly surprised at how few do have one, and how many say they do… but really don’t.
Focus, in marketing, is critical. The risk of losing focus is failure, and often signals the end for a brand. But how do you go about focusing and developing a cohesive, integrated brand marketing strategy? Our advice (obviously) would be to hire a professional to help you… unless you have a strong background in marketing; let alone advertising, public relations, social media, and web development. All of these important brand strategy tools are there for you to consider, and strategically plan into an actionable list of tactics and to-do’s.
If you don’t have the experience or funds to invest in a professional’s guidance and help, strategizing and defining your unique communications is more than challenging – it’s nearly impossible for many entrepreneurs and emerging brands. Although you may not have the resources to hire a professional or agency, the need remains, and many businesses close their doors because of scattered and unfocused brand strategies.
There are a few mistakes that continue to reveal themselves when investigating our client’s unique brand stories and goals. If you can identify any these trends in your communications, consider that it might be time to adjust your thinking and plans:
Serving Too Many Masters. Focus your attention on one, possibly two messages at any given time. Consistency is key – in both appearance, tone, and frequency. If you can’t clearly communicate your value in various time frames you’ll encounter from the elevator pitch to the hour long lunch, you’ve not defined your brand clearly enough for anyone to easily understand.
Not Everyone Is A Fan. In fact, few people will be fans as you introduce and continue to communicate your brand’s services or products. If you’ve not defined your target market with extreme precision and detail, you’ll not spend your time or money wisely with a shot-gun approach. Your unique enthusiasm for what you do, and who you serve needs to be carefully tailored to be in the tone and mode your very specific audience is welcoming.
Cheap Is Not Always Good. That 150,000 coupon booklet opportunity might seem like a great media buy – until they scatter your brand in the wind after delivery to your neighbors doorstep. Randomly choosing media options that appear to be a good deal is not part of a targeted media campaign. While great deals happen, you need to have a media and communications plan (PR+Social Media+Advertising) that broadcasts your message to a very specific audience. Start with a 90 day commitment at a miniumum with good frequency for that specific media channel.
Not Following The Herd. Investing time mingling in social circles that your brand should be known is, including networking events and social media channels, may be one of the most effective use of time and money for your brand’s success. Even the largest national brands maintain strong social presences in their specific industry’s circles. Once you’ve got a solid brand strategy and communications plan in place, it’s critical to network your way to larger circles of connections – and opportunity.
Don’t forget – the 80/20 rule still applies in brand marketing today, especially with tighter budgets and more communication channels to choose. Time is still money – and spending both are critical first steps for any brand – no matter what its age. If you find you’re in need of direction with this critically important step in branding, please contact us.
Focus your brand’s strategy on an innovative, integrated communications plan – and get started on the path to greater rewards for your investment of time and money now.