Strong branding and positive brand management are an important way of building long term growth for your business. But creating a lasting brand impact can be easier said than done. If you want to quickly create lasting brand impact, as opposed to something expensive and short lived, follow these four simple steps.
This theory is based on the findings of various respected think tanks and marketing leaders. Like this, this and this website, as well as the know-how and industry expertise of our marketing consultants.
To apply this theory in context, we will assume that you have the marketing budget to organise, co-host or attend a promotional event, can embark on a paid marketing campaign of sorts (we will classify these as an 'event' or 'campaign'). Alternatively, you should have a general marketing expense budget which facilitates building these principles into your everyday operations (we will class this as speaking 'generally').
Each step will be roughly split into applying the theory to an event first and general business practice second. The four steps to create a lasting brand impact are:
Keep A Consistent Appearance Offer A Tangible Experience Promote Social Engagement Offer A Return On Involvement
For maximum impact to be achieved, those four theoretical steps rely and feed off of each other, each one adding to the other and removing one would be detrimental to the others.
In short, you need to remember to always be conscious of 1. and 2. whilst you actively need to plan and execute steps 3. and 4.. The former pair are more of an ongoing task and are attitude based.
For this reason, let's work backwards and start with the most planning conscious items first.
Offer A Return On Involvement (Reward Those Who Take Part) For A Campaign Or Event
For a successful campaign or event, you need willing participants who are going to be left pleased and satisfied by your brand. This will then encourage them to spread the word about your brand and there is little else more effective than word-of-mouth references (or on social media) for instilling trust in a brand.
To encourage people to take part (and already assuming that the particular event or campaign will in itself be impressive and fulfilling), you need to give them something in return for taking part.
This could be as simple as offering a coupon for a discount on their first order (though this isn't very original and won't help you stand out from the crowd), to free entry into a competition with a stunning prize, or something to physically take away with them. Or even something to enjoy on the spot (free food, a free drink, a free anything - just don't settle for a branded biro or USB stick, because, even though these are handy, they aren't likely to be enough on their own to encourage mass participation).
If your return on involvement is enough to entice someone to take part and then your event is even better, you are well on the way to building a positive image of your brand.
Generally As A Business
More generally speaking, the idea of offering a return on involvement can take many forms when it comes to day to day operations. Rewarding loyalty is probably the most obvious - gifts and savings for continued business, for example - but out of the blue communications and outreaching without the premise of trying to sell something goes a long way for increasing your brand impact.
Think about sending personalised Christmas cards, remembering to send a happy birthday email and something which is effective for B2B businesses is to make sure you compliment and congratulate your customers when they share some good news.
Plus, exacting this kind of "getting to know you" and (genuine) "our customers are our friends and we are thankful" attitude will also have the added benefit of softening any potential PR or branding blunders in the future.
Promote Social Engagement (Online Participation) For A Campaign Or Event
Getting plenty of positive online chat about your event or campaign - which prominently includes your brand - is a hugely cost effective way of making a lasting brand impact, if executed properly. Depending on the size of your business, you may need some external assistance with this, or, alternatively, somebody within the business might need a temporary lightening of their workload to execute this.
First, setup social accounts where your target demographic hangs out online and plan a thorough and consistent way of posting; get the tone of voice, #hashtags, timings and house style established, as well as all your display pictures.
Second, be friendly and engaging with anyone who engages with the videos, images and written posts you put live before, during and after the event.
Thirdly, apply the previous theory here too: offer something to those who take part online and on social media as an encouragement and thank you for doing so.
Generally As A Business
This is simple but needs constant management. Basically, be willing and helpful on social media and online generally. Engage with followers and speak with the person on the other end of the ethernet cable at all times. Do not ever become a faceless machine, especially if you are customer facing as a business. Popular estimates put the daily average social media use at a whopping 118 minutes per day.
So, whilst there are a lot of voices talking at once "on there", there are a lot, lot more people listening and passively reading, waiting to be engaged with. If you are a brand which is human and real, you can stand out from the automated, faceless posts of your competitors.
Royal Mail are a great example of how a fully consistent approach needs to be applied to your branding. Image Credit.
Offer A Tangible Experience (Physical Experience and Interaction) For A Campaign Or Event
An impressive and immersive event will be a great way to build a lasting impression of your brand. Learn from how huge brands like Stella Artois create "immersive experiences" which are fun and entertaining (and even educational) which leaves those who experience it feeling touched. And they'll be touched by your branding.
And this can be adapted for all sectors and industries.
You can picture people saying, "We went to this college open event with our son, last week, and this plumbing firm had set up this 'Plumbing Through The Ages' exhibition to show how plumbing was invented and has changed. It ended with their apprenticeship opportunities and he signed up. But they sell bathrooms too - you should check them out for when you get yours done. I got you a brochure."
Generally As A Business
Whenever you are taking payment for your services, the fact of the matter is that you need to offer an "experience" rather than just a service or product, if you want to build a positive image of your brand.
This paper from Cornell University explores the idea of reciprocity in the restaurant business, where waiting-on staff who give out chocolates with the bill receive more tips. Check out what kind of personalised touches your competitors offer and beat them. It could be just a 30 second call from a senior manager just to check everything got delivered okay and to say "thanks again for choosing us" - but it will leave the client or customer feeling valued and wanting to reciprocate the feeling back to you.
Keep A Consistent Appearance For A Campaign Or Event & Generally As A Business
Whilst we do specialise in supplying business wear, workwear and uniforms to all types of businesses - we also cannot undermine the importance of how your business and its employees appear and look is important to making all of the other elements described work to their maximum potential.
From having noticeable and easy-to-spot clothing at a crowded event, to having all drivers out on the road looking professional and consistent in their appearance; the clothing your employees use plays a massive part on the impact of your brand.
Having all uniforms of the same impressive standard and even the same colour with the same logo can stop misassociation and make sure that the impact of your brand is consistent and more and more familiar whenever people are exposed to it - just think how iconic UPS brown vans coverall driver uniforms are, for example.
Get More Info & Get Organised
If you are planning a campaign or event and want it to have maximum impact on those who experience it, or are just looking to refresh the business workwear and uniforms in order to improve the impression of your brand; you might want to check out this free guide to workwear we have put together.
It clearly includes all the benefits to help you get budget sign-off, how to convince your colleagues it's a good idea, how to choose the right items and sizes and printable sheets to help you stay organised. Press the image below and open your very own free copy.