There are hundreds of blog posts about what to do and what not to do when promoting a brand on the web. With advancements in digital communication technologies, brands are distributing their messages across various platforms. If you're just starting out, it can be slightly overwhelming. What helps is to take a step back and realise that at the end of the day, no matter what platform you use to promote your brand, there are a few simple things that will kick you off in the right direction. Once you've lift off, it's only a matter of time that you will learn to adapt to different media.
So first, we get the basics right. Here are seven things people usually ignore but that you must do before jumping into brand promotion:
1 - Ask yourself: What values does your brand stand for?
Every brand must encourage some value such as bravery, truth, simplicity, service etc. You must choose what your brand would uphold when it presents itself to the market. Your entire business and marketing strategy will revolve around these values. Don't Google what others in the business are doing. This is something you should ask yourself.
2 - Determine the purpose of your brand?
So let's say your brand didn't exist. What would the world miss out on? Would they even miss out on something? The purpose of your brand is the reason why you need to be there even though there may be hundreds of competitors. If your brand offers something no one else does, that should be on the top of your marketing agenda.
3 - Visualise the "big idea":
Think about how your brand can expand. This will help you determine the vision or scope of your brand. From a search engine, Google has evolved today into an internet mogul that provides services ranging from e-mail to video to social networking. Disney started out with the vision of "spreading happiness" and today with its own animation studio, production house and recreational parks, it has expanded itself into something more.
At the heart of it all, though, the big idea remains the same. It branches out.
4 - Simplify business goals:
Simplify your business goals in terms of what facility or ease you're offering to your customers. Every brand should exist to eliminate 'friction'. It should be a force that allows customers to work against obstacles. Think of it like a problem-solution scenario. Take the example of TiVo: the friction is not being able to watch your favourite TV shows if you miss them live. The brand TiVo exists to resolve that problem by letting you record your TV to be watched later.
5 - Build target audience personas:
Study your customers. Take a walk in a mall or a park and observe what your potential customers do daily. Notice their ages, genders, hobbies, habits, occupations. Then build personalities in your head with fake names. Every time you're building a marketing strategy, keep your "imaginary friends" in mind. They will guide you on your way.
6 - Fix your tone and voice:
Based on your customers' personas, evaluate the right tone and voice to reach out to them. Suppose you met them at a restaurant. How would you introduce yourself? How would you talk to them? Formal, casual, subtle, sarcastic, obvious... When creating promotional material, keep your notes in front of you and curate your messages so that your campaign talks to the customer, not at him
7 - Research the environment:
Find out what your competitors are doing, whether they're doing it right or wrong. Determine what it is they're doing right and what are some of the things you would've changed if you were working for them. Research on the current trends of the market so you can follow and join conversations.
If you're having difficulty starting off, try filling in the blanks of this sample "value proposition" statement:
- For [target customer]
- Who wants/needs [compelling reason to buy]
- The [product name] is a [product category]
- That provides [key benefit]
- Unlike [main competitor]
- The [product name] [key differentiation]
We hope this was some help. All the best for your promotions!