In times of desperation retail brands dial up the 'Sale', or 'Offer' messaging.
Whilst these are potential buying signals for consumers if they're not managed as part of the strategic plan they can lead you down a very dangerous path - just ask Debenhams about the 'Blue Cross' campaigns.
Whilst your brand and your business are connected, your business is NOT defined in the consumers mind until you have both created a relevant connection to your brand.
If that relevance is biased towards educating people to only spend when you offer 'low prices' then more often than not the only likely winner is the consumer and you're trading your brand as a commodity.
If you had never come across 'Nike', or 'Google' before would you know who they are just by the logo, of course not.
I spend an awful lot of time working with companies helping to the either redefine their business and operating model, which in turn leads to a reposition of the brand proposition.
Sometimes we need to re-position them because the 'Why' has gotten lost in the day to day of marketing, or another extreme is to redefine the operating model as the world (and customer) they once operated in has moved on.
The simple fact is, your business is based upon the personality and messages you subliminally, and consciously send out, and if you don't define and manage those messages then the consumer will define it for you.
"Strategy without tactics is merely an idea, tactics without a strategy is just wishful thinking"
Tactics alone will never really move the dial, of course they will feel like they are but that's because it's simply keeping you busy.
Over the years I've been privileged to work with a number of international media agencies who took the time to get under the skin of the brand in order that they can add value, and increase efficiencies for all related parties - especially the end customer.
Above all they recognise that great brands take time to build relationships.
"To have strong customer relationships, your company’s communications need to be innovative enough to stay relevant but stable enough to always be identifiable as coming from your brand instead of a competitor’s".
Your brand’s messaging include all the ways your company distinguishes itself and tells prospects why they should choose to work with you, your company, and you're employees over a competitor.
The rise of ad tech and with it the adoption of 'programmatic' advertising has managed to dilute the brand message in favour of high volume, low cost, easy forgettable, vanity 'reach' tactics'.
It's also one of the key drivers that's now disrupted the traditional media buying industry, and with the rise of the social platforms brand police it can be a veritable keyword minefield.
So if your a relatively unknown brand it's all just background intrusive digital noise.
Here’s a real-world example.
"Adult Products Are a Nightmare to Advertise on Social Media."
That got your attention didn't it, C'mon admit it, its a 'spicy' headline, its about the one thing every single adult human being does which is 'have sex', but for some odd reason its something we seem to be embarrassed about discussing in public until we've had a 'few'.
We try and pretend it doesn't happen, yet it creates more conversation than Sport, and without it where would the world be.
Starting a new business is never easy, and when Heather C. Montgomery first launched PleazeMe, a social site devoted to giving women a comfortable and fun venue to talk about their sexual identities and desires, she anticipated a number of hurdles.
Montgomery knew that battling our culture’s attitudes about sex would be an uphill battle. But one hurdle she wasn’t expecting? How difficult it would be just to advertise her website in the first place.
The adult product industry (link here) say they're struggling to be able to 'market' their products on social media because of the naughty word police, algorithms, and yes, sexual discrimination on most social platforms.
The article got my attention not because of any particular interest in 'adult products', (on a personal level my view is whatever helps etc) it got my attention because it was saying how difficult it is to 'advertise' adult (sex) products on social media platforms.
And therein is the real issue - 'advertising'
For obvious reasons its a highly regulated industry, which has got to be be a good thing right?
We need help to try and ensure our kids (how did they get here?) don't end up seeing intrusive ads of sexy lingerie, or over sized love toys, and other such bedroom delights, even though porn is as accessible to anyone, at any age because we still haven't adopted the technology to help us manage it.
When you transfer your 'advertise and promote' thinking into the social space you seem to be missing the point about being 'social', so instead of advertising your message, how about engaging with, joining in with, and creating social communities that have an interest in your subject matter?
You never know where your conversations can lead to - no pun intended!
We build relationships with individuals by getting to know their personalities, and companies are no different. Your brand’s personality—and resulting tone of voice—are the characteristics that your audience should be able to perceive in every interaction they have with your brand. Determining these characteristics tells marketers what they want the audience to know about your company.