Some brands are as familiar and comfortable to engage with as old friends.
Vegemite, for instance. Vegemite is a solid Australian brand, reliable, unchanging and unchallenging. Other brands build their identity on being unorthodox, on pushing limits and sitting at the edge of acceptability. These brands can sometimes hinge themselves on what they’re not, rather than what they are. Vans, for instance. Vans is not for your dad. Monster energy drinks are not for little kids.
Then, there are other brands that have such strong, rounded and robust identities that they actually transcend brand status and move more into the realm of icon. These are the sort of brands that are talked about as though they’re people: well-known characters who might be famous or infamous, but are always memorable. Think about the anticipation before Apple unveils a new product, the enduring popularity of Lego, the cult status of True Religion jeans and the ubiquity of Nike sneakers on any street. These are brands that have cemented themselves into public consciousness, and they’ve done it through clever and considered efforts – and killer communication strategies.
Establishing effective and successful communication with your audience is vital to the full execution of a brand strategy. After all, having a solid brand identity is meaningless unless people know about it, right? But how do you tell them? What do you say? Where do you say it, and why do you say it? The answers to these questions form the basis for your communication strategy, the less sexy but more substantive and hugely important component of your brand operations.
Here’s how the best communication strategies are developed:
Know your audience
We’ve talked a lot already about why it’s important to know your audience. And we mean really KNOW them, not at acquaintance-level but at soul level. This level will allow you to act with surety and conviction, meeting them where they are, and giving them what you know they want. When your customer feels known and understood, they will trust you. When they trust you, your credibility skyrockets and they can safely opt in to your value proposition. Today, this is what you need: not only customers who will buy what you’re selling, but customers who will buy into who and what you are as a brand. To really know your audience, you need data, not just assumptions. And, you might not be able to rely on your audience to tell you what they want. The folks at Shoes of Prey learnt that the hard way. Instead, you need laser-focussed insights into the demographics, their behaviour, their motivations and their habits.
Have a purpose to your communications
Some of your communications might be just about brand awareness, and that’s valid. But, for others, you might have a particular objective in mind. Do you want to increase sales in a particular sector of your business? Shore up support in a particular segment of your audience? Whatever your objective is, it’s important to tailor your content to specifically serve this purpose. Don’t just throw money at one activity, like Facebook Ads, unless you have determined that the audience you want to reach is on Facebook, responsive to ads on this channel, and receptive to comms in whatever format you decide on.
Get your messaging right
As well as understanding where your audience is, it’s important to understand how you can speak to them in a way they’ll understand and receive. This is about your brand’s storytelling, and we’ll talk more about that in our next blog. For now, let’s just say that good brands have a tone of voice that is consistent across all their messaging, but great brands also understand and incorporate other things like word choice, context, connotations and symbolism into their messaging. You also need to be smart about how you make your point. If you want people to buy your face cream, just telling them to buy your face cream won’t work. Instead, you need to give them valuable content that answers their questions, speaks to their desires and addresses their criteria – even the criteria they don’t know they have. There are probably thousands of different ways you could do this. The tricky bit is identifying the best way.
Execute, evaluate, adjust. Repeat.
Testing what works is a big part of your communications strategy. There will be some things you know, and other things that are mysterious about your audience and what they respond to. Testing different methods of communicating, evaluating the results, adding to your data and then trying again when you have more information is essential. Metrics are the lifeblood of strategic branding geeks like the Pepebucks crew. We genuinely love this stuff, and we don’t let any of our customers undertake any of their comms strategy without first determining how we’ll know and measure if activities have been successful.
Want to give us the gift of data to analyse? Get in touch with Pepebucks to find out how we can develop a communication strategy for your brand that makes your customers come back for more. Contact Pascal Satori to get started!