“People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.”
— Simon Sinek
What you promise your customer goes beyond the product or service you provide them. Technology and the immediate access to information is driving today’s dynamic shift in the customer experience — especially their expectations of what the customer + business relationship looks like. This relationship is founded, molded, and fulfilled based on your company’s marketing strategy and how it’s executed.
Having a beautifully crafted strategy can be transformational. A strategy that really gets to the core of who the brand is and brings the authenticity to the surface is inspiring and energizing. But how does that strategy translate into actionable tasks? How do you implement the strategy across materials, multiple channels and touchpoints?
A customer + business relationship might begin with an online search or a mention from a friend, website experience or in-store interaction. The relationship includes everything from the discovery to the purchasing process and concludes with the delivery experience. Make sure you think about each and every step like tracking/notification accuracy, opening the package, instructions, product performance, and company follow up.
As Simon Sinek is known for saying, “… they buy WHY you do it.” This is where identifying the authenticity of the brand and how that translates into meaningful experiences for your customers becomes a critical component in building a solid foundation for your marketing strategy. A good strategy provides you with all of the materials you need to build that foundation, execute, and deliver consistency throughout all channels, tactics, and multiple levels of customer touchpoints.
A foundation for communicating your story.
First, make sure you have the following items defined in your brand strategy:
- Target Audience (persona and buyer journey with channels/tactics tied to behavior)
- Brand Personality (how your company is perceived by customers)
- Tone (how you speak to your customers)
- Profile (how you want to be perceived by your customers)
- Message Hierarchy (includes positioning, why, what, and how statements)
Brand personality needs to come from your customers’ perspective. Ask questions like, “What personality traits would they use to describe your company if it were a person?” Having multiple sources to compare views of the company is always helpful, so make sure to ask your employees the same questions to find out how both sides of the brand are perceived. If there’s a difference between customers and employees, then it’s prudent to dive into what’s causing the difference. If they’re the same or similar, then that shows great brand alignment.
“Brand personality” can sometimes be dismissed as frivolous, but it helps define brand attitude and how you want to approach your relationship with customers. A company that’s perceived as serious and professional should be portrayed differently than one considered to be energetic and personable. These traits not only guide message development, but greatly influence the visuals that help support your brand’s communications.
Establishing your brand’s profile acts as a cornerstone, building a foundation for your goal as you’re developing concepts and crafting messages. Your “profile” is how you want to be perceived by your audience. Everything you create should guide your audience to an intended perception of the brand. This should permeate throughout all of your marketing touchpoints. From advertising to your online experience, to in person customer interaction and post transaction support, how you speak to your customers and how you treat them feeds their perception of the brand — and what they’ll share with their family, friends and network.
Connecting the dots with messaging.
The most important ingredient is understanding your audience. Ask, “What do they care about most and how do you connect with that?” Part of the research that’s done for the strategy should absolutely include input from real customers. You want the good, the bad and the ugly. If you ask the right questions, you’ll get the answers you need. They may not be the answers you “want”, but you need the truth. The truth will tell you what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. Make an effort to fix the things that are wrong before you launch any marketing campaigns.
Using the personas identified in your strategy, develop clear messaging that aligns their need with what you provide. Consistency and clarity are the keys to lasting impressions, so stay the course. You’re going to get tired of your campaign long before you’ve reached good market saturation. Your messages need time to soak in and attain a frequency that makes your message a subliminal part of your customer’s reasoning process.
Make your messaging clear and direct. Cute will only get you so far and usually lacks meaningful benefits. Create content that is good, compelling and meaningful to your customers’ needs. Let them know you understand what they need and have the best solution. Be honest but don’t over promise. Your ability to be authentic and supportive along their path to purchase and beyond is how you build lasting customer relationships and true brand advocates.
By delivering holistically on your brand’s promise instead of just your product or service, you’re building a strong, positive relationship with your customers. Need help determining message, profile, brand personality or other parts of your strategy? Get in touch with the Workhorse team for a free consultation.