One of the smartest shifts a brand strategist can make is to transition the brand-marketing program from a 1-way communication to a 2-way conversation. Pressed for time and short on budget? The easiest and most dangerous mentality to fall into is one of “Hurry-up and get it done!” As if just doing something was accomplishment enough. What could be further from the truth in brand strategy?
When we engage our creative resources, we seem to automatically move to a default mindset that is based on “getting the message out the door.” This is where a website and related marketing communications all move together that is designed to support the sales activities of the company.
The problem is this is extremely inadequate unless the goal of the brand strategy is solely to accomplish no more than paint a brand image.
Let’s say you’re at the start of your brand strategy development, and also let’s say you are up against a tight deadline. Do these factors change what will positively resonate with your existing and prospective customers? Obviously your intended audience does not care about your time constraints or deadlines. They just want clear concise information to help them make an objective decision about your brand. So why not give it to them without complicating the process?
We’re often so nervous when we start that we just want to speed through the process and get to the finish line where we can feel relieved that it’s all over. It might have been cheap and quick to produce, but what happens if it isn’t working? The result of this self-imposed rat race is a hurriedly produced branding campaign that does not satisfy the customer’s needs and therefore isn’t successful. Why? The brand marketing that your customers and prospective customers experience should get them to participate in many ways and if they can’t they shut down. It’s no wonder that they don’t feel willing to participate in the process, because you did not do anything to establish that you would like them to be involved.
So try slowing down the information push and open up new ways for them to comment on, interact with, and even criticize some of your products or services.
Try this out using a simple exercise. Create four simple visual cues (image, illustration, photograph, edited video) that sum up the key needs you know your customers are trying to solve, and ask them a question for each. From this simple set of visual cues create an easy-to-understand brand story that leads the conversation but allows customers to express themselves throughout the branding. Perhaps there could be a comment box, customer review area where actual uses are posted, a forum where customers can pose questions to other users, and the list can go on and on.
Using simple visual cues on your website, in your interactive tablet presentations, and in your sales presentations seems so simple, yet its impact is very compelling and persuasive. With just one click you will be able to open up a meaningful conversation, substantiate that you are interested in your customers’ feedback and ideas, and be able to customize your brand marketing to adapt to your customers’ evolving needs.
All in all, that’s one large impact that a visual cue and a question can produce.