The Quick Wins for Building a Breathtaking Brand

Five quick wins to give your brand marketing a shot in the arm

Branding is a long-term play — you’ve heard this before. And it’s true. Differentiating yourself from the competition takes time. The consequences of overlooking this can be fatal for your business.

I’ve written before about a brand’s role as a guru (an analogy I’ll continue to run with here). Building a relationship of this kind with your customers often takes years of incremental work.

But many businesses, particularly smaller ones, do not have the luxury of time. The resources they allocate need to deliver results — and fast!

In this article, I’m going to lay out five quick wins that will give your brand marketing a shot in the arm.

For this specific purpose, I’m defining a “quick win” as:

An initiative that a small business could deliver in around two weeks at a fairly low cost.

And here they are.

Implement brand approvals

Imagine for a moment seeking out a guru and then, at every interaction, finding that their appearance and world view has changed, even slightly. It wouldn’t fill you with confidence.

Ensuring that your visuals and messaging are consistent across every touchpoint is the key to cementing your brand in the minds of your audience. It conveys that, as a business, you’ve got your act together.

The simplest way to do this is to insert a brand approval as part of your campaign sign-off process.

  1. Nominate someone in your team (usually the person closest to your brand guidelines) as a brand approver.
  2. Formalise that every piece of communication is sent their way for brand approval before it sees the light of day.
  3. Arrange a quarterly team catch-up where all in-market creative is laid out (either physically or virtually) to check for any inconsistencies.

You have presumably invested quite a bit into developing your brand and its associated brand guidelines. Implement brand approvals and keep it tight.

Curate and leverage testimonials

Before entering into a new relationship, we so often look to others like us to help discern whether it’s going to be worth our while. The process for choosing the brand you want to be seen hanging out with is much the same.

If your product is making a difference in your customers’ lives, they’ll want to rave about it. When they do, you need to leverage that. And, fortunately, that’s really easy to do.

  1. If you’re short of testimonials for your brand, reach out to your customers and ask them for one. Direct them to an established review site like Trustpilot.
  2. Once you have a handful of testimonials, utilise them everywhere — on your website, social media, your acquisition journey, campaign creative. Anywhere you’re trying to persuade.
  3. Automate this process by inserting it into your customer comms journey.

Social proof is a powerful human influencer. Don’t be afraid to use it.

Make your content actionable

We all have that person in our lives who’s a walking encyclopedia, a fact a minute. Question: on an evening out, do you move closer to this person or further away? I’m guessing the latter.

Your customers, for the most part, aren’t necessarily interested in academic information. They’re usually looking for an action they can take to make their lives (if only a bit) better, easier, more interesting.

Try and end your content with a sentiment along the lines of “now you know that [information], do this [action].” Step-by-step guides are a really useful tool for this (as displayed in this piece).

  1. Gather together your brand’s 10–20 most recent pieces of long-form content.
  2. Ask of each: as well as information, have I given my customers an action to take that will add value to their lives?
  3. If the answer is “no”, put that right then republish your content.

Note that the earlier you can do this in a customer’s lifecycle, the more likely they are to stay with you in anticipation of more actionable insight.

Respond to every interaction

Now, think about that associate you have that never answers your calls, or gets back to you long after you needed it. What a let down!

As a brand, you need to be accessible and responsive to customers. And not in a merely functional way, either. Social media is an opportunity to play up the lighter side of your brand’s personality. Customer service is a chance to show how emotive and helpful your brand can be. But, without doubt, the worst thing you can do is not to respond.

  1. Audit your contact channels to see if any have become zombified — revive them.
  2. Write a high-level comms guide for each channel with some tone-of-voice guidelines and example responses to be used as reference.
  3. Allocate channels and/or time slots for members of your team to check and respond to incoming messages throughout the day.

Interactions with your customers provide a unique opportunity to flex your brand’s personality and show some humanity. Don’t pass it up.

Surprise your customers

What about those people who only reach out to you when they want something? Dead annoying. By contrast, think back to the last time someone surprised you, completely out of the blue, and remember how it felt.

People love surprises, especially those that are in some way personalised to them. They live long in the memory, helping to forge a strong bond.

  1. Assemble your team.
  2. Brainstorm how you might surprise a cohort of your customers (in a way that’s meaningful). Think vouchers, cool merch, a personalised video message.
  3. Get the surprise out to them and marvel at the reaction it receives — keep an eye on your social media.

As a brand, take the time to give selflessly without the expectation of return. Your customers will love you for it.

So there they are. Five quick wins for your brand — fast, cheap, effective. Try them for yourself and see how they fly. Treat these initiatives a baseline for brand marketing for your business and continue to remember that building a brand is a long-term endeavour.

Calling on all marketers — what are your brand quick wins?

Remember the definition:

An initiative that a small business could deliver in around two weeks at a fairly low cost.

Call them out in the comments.

Branding for the better | Published in “The Startup” & “Better Marketing”

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