This article was first published on @Slant, a crowdsourced journalism website with a ton of potential. Unfortunately, the publication recently shut its doors. In light of this, I have decided to expand upon the articles and publish them here on #Orbit. Enjoy!
When you hear the word “brand” or “branding,” it gives off a connotation of surface level components, such as the logo, colors, and the look and feel. While well-known, iconic brands can use that reputation to their advantage, small organizations do not have that luxury. Still, many continue to focus on surface level branding to mimic the larger players. In doing so, the little player may feel like a big player, but in the end, it’s a poor strategy to follow.
The Operations Manager or COO is responsible for executing and tracking the performance of the strategy deployed. Each of the marketing strategies below can be developed into a metric to track the performance of the organization and its employees. Measuring is critical to understanding how and why some brands perform at a much higher level than others.
All brands and organizations are not equal. Surface level branding is just that: surface level. If there is nothing deeper, that becomes visible very quickly.
Here are 10 marketing strategies that go well beyond the surface to set your organization apart.
1. Perception of the brand
The brand that your organization develops is a living, breathing entity of its own. The brands that it aligns itself with, over time, begin to shape the perception of the brand in either a negative, neutral, or positive way. Aligning your organization with top brands can be a strategic move that pays off.
2. Structure of the brand
Structure refers to the legal fabric of the organization, but also how customers and clients interact with the team. Is the organization or brand approachable? Is it difficult to get to the right person to discuss a project, customer service issues, or media requests?
3. Purpose is lasting, branding can fade
Organizations with a true purpose are committed to realizing their purpose, and not letting anything, or anyone, stand in their way.
4. Vision and mission statements are not fluff
Many organizations are quick to dismiss a vision statement and mission statement. However, the organizations who take the time to put them together believe in them and communicate them to their teams perform much better. They have a united vision and a mission to guide them.
5. Shared Values
It is one thing to have a purpose, vision and mission statement. It?s another to have those become the basis of shared values across the organization that all employees respect and work towards. That sense of community and unity towards a larger purpose creates momentum that is hard to fake.
6. Storytelling is not just for entertainers
Storytelling, in any organization, is critical to conveying how your product or service will help your target audience. This storytelling becomes part of the fabric of your brand. Without it, the brand stays surface level.
7. Physical design and planned experiences bring your brand to life
Design is all around us. It shapes our perception, guides us through built environments, and helps us decide to take action and purchase. All industries selling all types of products and services can benefit from physical design and designed experiences. An office becomes a headquarters. A call center becomes a command center. These concepts help your team become part of the experience offered to your clients.
Culture is multi-faceted and can be broken down into three main sections: language, internal work environment, and customer facing environment. Language is what separates brands and creates a unique bond between new and existing customers. Starbucks has a language all its own for ordering drinks versus any other coffeehouse. It sets them apart and makes them different.
The internal working environment refers to anywhere an employee is working. If not an office, it scales down to the equipment and software provided to get the work done.
A work environment also refers to the operating systems used, software, and ease of use for communication and file sharing. These components play a factor in the overall productivity and success of a team. The customer facing environment is the floor of a retail space, the conference room in an office, the “stage” at Disneyland parks. These areas, designed for maximum interaction and impact (#7), bring out the cultural aspects and develop a lasting impression on the guest.
9. Metrics prove a strategy’s success or failure
Without taking the time to measure from the beginning, no one knows how a strategy performed. Detailed metrics provide insight, trends, and data that may not be apparent from the onset. Metrics help prove or disprove a strategy’s success. Measuring is the key to outperforming from the day before and your competition.
Processes and systems determine how a team, department, and the business line is performing in line with the overall organization. Being able to drill down to these levels allows for more insight, flexibility, and opportunities to improve further.
10. Platforms are assets for the organization
Platforms are physical stores, kiosks, office space, theme park, websites, apps, software, books, etc. Anything that is a controlled environment by the organization and can realize positive cashflow from is a Platform. Platforms are as critical to the success of an organization as they are the profit centers.
An organization such as Starbucks builds thousands of coffeehouses across the world, each being a profit center. They recently upgraded their mobile app to allow for online ordering. The app has now become a platform and profit center of its own, enhancing the coffeehouses.
What marketing strategies do you use to differentiate your brand from competitors?