Customers are observant. When they encounter brand messaging that doesn’t match their past experience, they take notice.
Once or twice, that might not be a big deal. But to build real customer relationships, brands need to make their fans feel as if they know them. When every brand touchpoint looks or sounds a little different, customers start to question whether they know the company’s true identity.
How can you make your marketing more cohesive? Start with these eight tips:
Start With Your Values
Why did you go into business in the first place? What does your brand believe? What mark do you want to make on the world?
The answers to those questions trace to your brand’s values. Your brand’s values must be the root of your marketing materials. Every message, image, and social media post you put out should reflect them.
If you can’t clearly point to a brand value represented by a campaign, you shouldn’t invest in it. Wrap your marketing efforts around your values, not the other way around.
Get Customer-Facing Teams on the Same Page
Your marketing team may be the one behind your content, but it isn’t the only one interacting with your customers. The sales team is typically a customer’s first experience with your brand. Your customer service staff supports them throughout the relationship.
When teams operate in silos, messaging often differs across departments. That gives the impression to customers that the company doesn’t have its ducks in a row.
Especially if your company is working remotely or experiencing rapid growth, it needs a solid knowledge management system. Knowledge management tools can help a team create, share, and use information developed in other areas of the company. Some knowledge management firms, such as Guru, even provide templates that help brands standardize their positioning.
Put Together a Style Guide
A key document in your brand’s marketing standardization efforts should be its style guide. A style guide provides a point of reference for logo usage, typefaces, imagery, colors, writing styles and more associated with the brand.
If you haven’t already, develop your brand’s style guide collaboratively. Seek to understand how different teams have been using its logo, name, and imagery. Decide on a standard that won’t be wildly different from how any one team has been working.
Make to bring new hires up to speed on this document by adding it to your knowledge management system. That way, their work aligns with the rest of the company’s from their first day on the job.
Lean on Templates
Whether it’s the creative team designing the latest print ad or the account department looking for a letterhead, everyone should have access to templates with approved style features. These templates allow each member of the company to put together professional, on-brand communications materials efficiently.
Resist Temptations to Fit the Channel
Just because you’re marketing on a different platform doesn’t mean the brand should change for it. Yes, a LinkedIn post should be more professional than a Twitter comment, but that doesn’t mean that the brand behind them is any different.
Compare this to your own personal and professional lives. You might wear a different shirt and avoid cursing at work, but you’re still the same person you are in your home life.
The key to getting this right is to reflect your brand’s values. If your brand is helpful, for instance, you can help others in different ways without compromising that value.
Learn to Say “No”
Sometimes, it seems like brands are expected to be on every platform these days. But the truth is, not every brand is right for every forum. A funeral parlor probably doesn’t need to be on TikTok. Nobody finds an amusement park on LinkedIn.
Always ask yourself: Would our customers expect to find us here? If the answer is “no,” you should spend your time marketing yourself on more relevant channels.
Check Influencers for Fit
Influencer marketing is hot right now. But while people do pay attention to bloggers’ opinions, not every blogger is right for every brand.
Think about this the same way you do channels. If you’re a children’s toy company, is an extreme sports influencer the right fit? Probably not.
In order to find the right influencers to partner with, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is their audience similar to my brand’s audience?
- Does this influencer share my brand’s values?
- Does this influencer have a history of tasteless or derogatory comments?
- Is this influencer the right long-term fit for my brand?
- What other brands does this influencer partner with?
Develop an Approval Process
To make sure your brand’s marketing materials are buttoned up, you need an approval process. Not only can an approval stage catch typos before the message goes public, but it ensures the tone and audience are right.
Especially when it comes to topical content, such as social media copy, the approval process shouldn’t be cumbersome. Appoint a trusted member of your marketing team to be the gatekeeper. Make sure that person checks every asset against your brand’s style guide. And when in doubt, don’t put it out.
Aligning your marketing materials isn’t something that happens overnight. Enterprise companies spend millions of dollars and untold hours of staff time getting it right.
Remember, though, customers are observant. They’ll notice your brand making an effort, and that’s the biggest part of the battle.