‘It’s not really on brand’. This is the number one thing I hear which is a killer of originality. Don’t get me wrong there is an importance to branding or having a brand guide to follow because consistency will create brand recognition, but, just be careful not to be too rigid with your marketing.
Let me explain, recently I have done some work with a large company that wanted to step their marketing game up. As a business, they had the market share within their industry but they were struggling to claim the rest.
The CEO, the Sales Team and the Marketing Department said that they wanted to improve, but couldn’t work out where or even how to start. They were posting consistently on social media, sending emails to their customers, running ads, creating video content and from the outside they were doing everything they were meant to be doing.
After some digging, I quickly worked out the problem; they hadn’t changed their messaging, style or branding for over 6 years. They even sent the same style of an HTML email template! The company had an idea of who their audience was, what they engage with and they thought they had a good idea of how their audience saw them; as a thought leader within their chosen industry. I can safely say that unfortunately this was far from the case. Once I had my evidence to back this I came up with a few suggestions to shake things up. These ideas were met with “They’re good ideas, but that isn’t really on brand”. They were so stuck in their ways and resistant to change, but at the same time wanted different results.
How does the old saying go? Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
But this is exactly what a lot of well established businesses actually do, they get stuck in a rut, going round in circles and not getting anywhere. The problem is business owners don’t like to walk outside of the process line, they like to play safe just in case they get negative feedback or see a reduction in sales. Some business owners play it so safe that they don’t actually do any type of marketing at all.
So does this sound like you or do you work in a place that has a process for a process? Well, I will share a few cost effective things that I did to help this business see the light:
The first thing I did was to start a gap analysis of the business. This is where I benchmarked the business to see what their current situation is based on revenue, leads, sales, blockers and what solutions they are currently working towards. The first step is to speak to the senior managers to see what they think of the current state of their business and where they would like it to be. This helps to get a good idea of measuring it, but the real truth of this is when you speak to the guys on the front line. The ones who actually do the job day in and day out. They will have better insight than a manager who thinks they know what is going on but is actually so far removed from the day to day process that they don’t see it.
I started this process by creating a proforma with a list of questions that I really wanted to find out about the business. I then sat down with the heads of each department and went through this questionnaire with them. The answers I received couldn’t be more different for a business that should be completely aligned with the overall business objectives.
Next is to find the data and evidence to back up what you are saying, for example, if they say they get most of their sales through their website then you need to dig into their Google Analytics to see what really is going on. All this information works as the foundation of finding the gaps in business.
The only way to achieve this growth is to increase sales and increase your customer base, the way to do this is to speak to them, grab their attention and make them advocates of your brand. The business I was working with had a good idea who their customer was as they spoke to them on a daily basis. I asked them when was the last time they did some proper in-depth audience research, it turns out they had never actually done this. There were some real advocates of their company and some customers that were quite disgruntled. So I started some audience profiling, I started by asking who they think their audience is, next I watched and listened to how they interacted with their customers, then I spoke to their customers to see what they really thought. I asked them what they thought of the business, I asked them about the industry, what they like about the business, what they disliked.
You can do exactly the same for your business. Talk to your customer directly, create a survey and email it out to them. Have 3 questions on stand by, so when a customer speaks to you directly or if they are on the phone and happy to talk ask them the questions. Over a period of time you will build up quite a good understanding of what your customer really wants. With this information, you can create audience profiles that can help you tailor your messaging for greater impact.
I know what it’s like when you are busy at work, it’s head down and cracking on while things pass you by. This is true to the very industry that you provide a service or product for. When was the last time you did some research into what was popular or trending within your industry? Fashion, trends, pop culture changes all the time and if you don’t jump on that bandwagon you could miss a real opportunity. This taps back into your audience profiling to find out who your customer is, finding out what they are into will help you create a message that resonates with them.
I said tweak not rebrand, a rebrand can be a long, expensive process, but a few tweaks here and there will actually rejuvenate your brand’s appeal. This could be adding a new colour into your brand’s palette or creating a new logo, it could even be changing your messaging or having more fun with your email copy or a more serious note. If you have been trying to do something for a long time and it doesn’t seem to work then try something new.
If you use vector images in your social posts or ads, try some stock photos or try taking your own.
If you are trying something new with your marketing it is important to make sure it is having the impact it should be. The best way to do that is to track and measure the results of each campaign. This can be done through Campaign Builder, Social Insights and Google Analytics.
There we have it. 5 simple things you can do now to assess where and how your business or the business you work for could be performing better. When you are busy with the day to day workload, it can be difficult to see the wood for the trees. That’s why it’s a good idea to take a step back and reassess your entire situation with fresh eyes, it will make you more critical and less emotionally attached.