How effectively does your brand connect with your customers? Are you focused on talking AT instead of engaging WITH your prospects? Are you so focused on communicating features and benefits that you neglect to talk about what makes your brand truly special?
In the battle between return on investment (ROI) and brand awareness, many organizations are quick to prioritize tactics that can be easily measured and have a tangible impact on the bottom line. Social media is causing this perspective to shift. With the continuous conversation taking place online, it’s even more important to focus on brand awareness and building a strong reputation in the marketplace.
November’s BMA Milwaukee Keynote covered the implications of using face-to-face marketing to support brand strategy. In his presentation, Chris Payne of Resolution Productions Group focused on events and in-person interaction, emphasizing the growing corporate spend on experiential marketing and events. During the presentation, it occurred to me that a lot of the principles he discussed apply equally to digital marketing strategy.
HUMANIZE THE EXPERIENCE
Payne encouraged the audience to reshape and rethink the meeting space. How many times have you been trapped in a bland, neutral ballroom, struggling to stay awake while watching a presenter drone through a generic PowerPoint? Presentation skills and the dreaded reading-of-bullets aside, it’s important to consider the environment and create a place that grabs your audience’s attention while encouraging active participation. Enable people to get up and move, create a dynamic experience that engages the audience and be sure to build a space that supports learning and draws participants in.
This way of thinking can also be applied to digital marketing. Many companies use their website to present a set of facts and figures about their products or services, focusing on providing all of the information a prospect or client could possibly need in an effort to reduce or limit human interaction (phone calls or emails to customer service or the sales team). Instead, think of new and unconventional ways to provide information and encourage interpersonal interaction between your company and your audience.
At Ascedia, we encourage our clients to humanize their brand online, to use their website to paint a picture of who they are as an organization and inject some personality. Our marketing services team takes the same approach when developing a social media advertising program for a business. While one goal for these programs is certainly to drive lead generation and increase sales, we also strive to understand the audience and provide valuable information for them. By incorporating emotion into what could be a cold, straightforward business transaction, we help our clients increase customer loyalty and improve customer confidence in the brand by creating stronger connections.
THINK OUTSIDE THE NORM
Payne also encouraged attendees to think outside of the norm and find new ways to share your company’s brand message. The Bonnaroo Experience is a perfect example of this. Brands were able to build on the unity that was created at the event and help concertgoers make memories that last beyond a single experience. Delta took a slightly different approach but achieved similar results. At the TED2015 conference, they launched an interactive exhibit called Stillness in Motion which used an abstract idea about productivity to make a larger statement about the company’s professional services.
While content remains king, it’s important to find new ways to drive engagement with brand content. As Payne put it, people might not remember exactly what you say, but they will remember how you made them feel. In face-to-face marketing, this means creating an engaging space to deliver your message and finding a unique design approach that stands out among other brands. In the digital space, it means humanizing your content and finding a way for your audience to deeply connect with your message. Avoiding jargon and corporate-speak makes digital content more accessible. We’re all humans looking to connect and find meaning in an increasingly cluttered world – does your brand accomplish that?