Every marketer faces a dizzying array of choices in terms of strategy, tactics, and tools through which to reach their customers and inspire them to buy your products. As the media landscape becomes more fractured and the tools more varied, it’s more important than ever to stay focused on the right priorities that will ensure short-term and long-term success. With that in mind here are the top ten questions every brand must answer if they hope to grow in 2015.
1. What is your brand’s purpose? Every marketer is now aware that Boomers, Millennials, and Gen Z are looking to brands to be more responsible in exchange for their product purposes. As such, a clear definition of your company purpose is critical to capturing their attention and converting their support to sales.
2. What is your brands story? Once you have defined your brand’s purpose, mission, and vision you need to be able to distil that into a brand story that employees and customers want to share. Only then will you unlock the power of social technologies to amplify your message and build your customer community.
3. How do you align your leadership, employees, and partners around that brand story? Too often marketers think only in terms of how they will share their story with customers and ignore the need to create a company culture that is in alignment with that story.
4. How do you align your corporate citizenship, sustainability and foundation efforts? For decades each one of these areas had been treated as distinct silos within a company matrix. As such, they are often insufficiently connected or aligned with a brand’s story. Only when they are all pointed in the same direction can they amplify one another to generate marketing efficiencies that improve your bottom line.
5. How do you align your company and product brand stories? Many corporate brands have chosen to remain effectively unknown and lead with their product brands. With the new demands for transparency and accountability, company brands are now rising to the challenge of defining their story and aligning their product brands within it.
6. How do you align your external marketing with your internal culture? There is nothing more destructive to a business than for a customer to discover that a brand’s marketing is very different to the customer’s experience. By extension, very easy for an employee to become disillusioned when they see that a brand is telling its customers one thing when their experience inside the company is another.
7. What strategies must you use to tell your story effectively using social technologies? Too often brands bring a broadcast and self-directed mentality to social tools that turn on dialogue, interaction, and intimacy. It’s not surprising then that they find that their employees’ time and marketing spend is wasted.
8. How must you use each social media channel to capture the attention of existing and new customers? Each channel presents a unique way to command the attention of different audiences and to inspire them to amplify the company’s brand story. Only with clear communication architecture can that story and these channels be sufficiently aligned to build the brand and its business.
9. How do you share that brands story effectively at a local level? The people closest to a community are the ones best qualified to share a story. As such, every brand faces the challenge of localizing its overarching story in a way that makes it meaningful and relevant to customers in order to win their attention and purchasing preference.
10. How do you establish your leadership at a global level? Irrespective of your company size, you can now lead a global conversation once you have clearly articulated your point of view on a given cultural conversation related to your products and their benefits. Any ambition smaller than that undervalues the reach and impact of the web, social media, and mobile phones.
Each one of these questions is important in their own right, but taken together they are critical for the short and long-term success of a brand in today’s social business marketplace.
At the 2014 We First Brand Leadership Summit on October 7-8 in Los Angeles, each attendee completes Social Branding BlueprintTM over two days that addresses all ten questions. Insights and support are provided by an incredible line-up of global marketing leaders including: Aaron Sherinian, VP of Communications and Public Relations at the United Nations Foundation; Marc Mathieu, SVP Marketing at Unilever; Christopher Crummey, World Wide Executive Director of Sales – Social Business & Exceptional Digital Experience at IBM; Rick Ridgeway, Vice President of Environmental Affairs at Patagonia; John Roulac, founder and CEO of Nutiva; Derk Hendriksen, General Manager for Coca-Cola’s EKOCENTER Project; Andy McKeon, Global Customer Marketing Lead at Facebook, and Karina Kogan, Executive Vice President, Digital for Participant Media/TakePart.
If you are interested in working with these global experts to create your social marketing plan for 2015, register for the 2014 summit at WeFirst14.com Enter the code: IMPACT to save $500 and every registration comes with a free ticket for your favorite non-profit to support their important work. Join us and ensure your employees and customers build your business with you in 2015.
Reading Time: 1 minutesSimon Mainwaring is the founder of We First, a leading brand consultancy that provides purpose-driven strategy, content, and training that empowers companies to lead business, shape culture, and better our world.