It is the golden rule of marketing: the customer experiences your brand in seven different places before deciding to buy. In other words, there are seven golden opportunities to fail the customer before she has even tasted, eaten, hammered or whatever is possible with your product.
THE ALIGNMENT OF YOUR BRAND is more than just common sense. The alignment of your brand is also a calibration of your reputation, and it is absolutely crucial to your business. But do you really know if your reputation is the same in all seven - or more - places?
The question is valid especially for larger companies, not least those that operate across national borders or across the globe. Because if you have several hundred places to sell your product, then you are also faced with several hundred versions of your reputation in circulation. Well, you do not even have to be a global company to face that situation.
A comprehensive survey from 2019 indicates that 81% of 200 companies surveyed are battling fires that are not one-sided. And this despite the fact that revenue would grow by 30% if the brand was in control throughout. Is that your fault? Barely. Hardly alone at least. But clutter in the branding still falls back on the marketing manager first and foremost. So maybe you should also be most keen on getting your brand aligned. So get a handle on it, and get more shopping customers in the basket.
A calibrated brand is a huge challenge because there are many more than you involved in ensuring that products, texts, logos, colors, fonts, tagline, packaging and much more are unidirectional. And if you then consider how many channels, digital and offline, you actually publish to, then the calculation is suddenly almost unmanageably large. In other words, try to calculate how many sequences it takes before your item is safely delivered to the customer without being off brand at any point along the way.
For globally-oriented companies, this is a problem that in recent years has been tackled by placing campaigns and other branding activities in the hands of a team located within HQ. It is no longer a solution to set up local offices, each of which ensures the local adaptation, if it ultimately means that your reputation is not aligned.
It does not have to be difficult to get your reputation calibrated across silos, across borders. But it requires you to look at where the overview is. And that’s why the big companies are looking back to the head office to ensure brand consistency.
One of our customers operates in 35 countries, and has only recently completed a comprehensive, but much-needed, clean-up of archives that contributed to the brand identity. Among other things, there were 450,000 images that were scattered across inboxes and folders. What began as a clean-up effort to secure GDPR compliance quickly turned into a major project to align the brand identity. Within the huge amounts of content that you currently produce, an off brand logo is easily hidden and/or reused.
However, the challenge is bigger than that. Having an overview of the images for the campaigns and making sure the latest versions of your brand are the only ones available are part of the challenge, too. The cleanup is definitely a task that needs to be solved immediately. But afterwards, you then suddenly need to differentiate your brand depending on the context. The growing need to create an experience for the customer that is unique or personal provides all the opportunities to send your brand off course. It is not enough to get an overview, you must also have insight.
It is about creating uniform processes. And it can be done.
The answer to the challenge, according to consulting firm McKinsey, is to ensure that your brand is a streamlined experience across all channels and contact points. The consultancy experts suggest data and analytics are transforming the way brands and customers interact with each other. Thus brand strategy has to prove itself on a different level. It’s time for brand strategy to “go electric”:
In an ever-changing environment, where there's unlimited choice and a rapid evolution of consumer needs, brands matter more than ever. Strong ones take full advantage of data science and agile ways of working to refine targeting, send more compelling messages, and ensure consistent brand delivery.
This helicopter perspective is helpful, but it doesn’t provide you with the route to fly. So how do you concretely benefit from data insight and customised work routines? It might very well be something along these lines: Get a handle on the foundation. Centralise the work of keeping track of your brand. Get a tool that captures even the most insignificant spelling mistake in the annual report. It is about creating uniform processes. And it can be done.
When that happens, you not only get a better overview, you will suddenly be able to follow more closely how each of you and your colleagues go about the assignment. Regardless of the size of your company, a coordinated and aligned brand experience across all possible channels is absolutely crucial for both the customer perception and for the positive development of your business. Turn on the power. Go electric.