How to promote a brand? Bet on online and offline authenticity
September 1 2021
Companies, especially those after rebranding, ask themselves “how to promote a brand”? They should effectively communicate their value and purpose and consistently build their image. Make an outreach and seek 1:1 relation with a client, both online (through social media, for example) or offline (in stores, fairs, etc.). All these activities gain of declared values are in line with real life. Authenticity in communications has to be confirmed by everyday practice. It’s a very efficient way to promote a brand.
What authenticity really is or how to promote a brand in an era of uncertainty
Millennials, people born in the ‘80s and ‘90s, in the 20th century, don’t generate sleepless nights for marketers, not anymore. Specialists know how to sell to them and what communications strategy to use for this specific demographic. Now Generation Z is on everyone’s minds; they were born in the late ‘90s and at the beginning of the 21st century. This group is different. More self-conscious, demanding, and expecting authenticity from brands. This is the group that made the shift and decides on how to promote a brand.
If people in the group want to buy a coffee, they look for a “fair trade” certificate, it’s important in the context of grain harvest and sale. If they want to buy electronics, they demand materials that are climate-neutral and easy to recycle, etc. This is a major market shift and a huge challenge for the marketing world. This challenge comes from not only the characteristics of the Gen Z group but also from the fact that is not a single factor behind communications strategy for companies.
Brand authenticity means authenticity in communications, including social media. Hootsuite’s study showed that 44% of internet users actively browse social media to find product information. More than 14% of people ask brands questions – on their social media channels or indirectly (through hashtags, for example). What does it mean? Promoting brands in social media should be run with a clear strategy in mind and with core principles.
Why? Because a large part of your potential customers has their own buying strategy. Before they click on the “Buy now” button or go to the store, they will thoroughly check and then compare a product to others. Its features, potential use in everyday life, materials used in production, price. In this order. The world is getting richer and generally speaking, a lot of us can afford more. The price will probably always be a significant factor for many but if it’s not crucial, we tend to look for other important factors. And here’s how we reach the brand authenticity problem.
What is authenticity?
To answer the question of “how to promote a brand”, we need to understand how consumers want to look at it. Brand authenticity equals clear strategy. It’s not selling products and services to everyone but to the targeted persona. Even if it’s a mass recipient; we have her hyper personalization involved. Authenticity means also behavior and promoting a brand according to its DNA and sticking to your business values. It’s also not giving a damn about competition.
Two examples will show you what I’m talking about. Polish company Amica (household appliances) went through digital transformation, making their production processes more flexible. The organization did it because trends were merciless. Earlier one fridge or freezer lasted a client for 15 years or so. Now he or she changes it every 3 to 4 years. As says Amica, soon the company have to produce goods for customers that want the change every 2 years. It also has to be ready to produce items in a short series, even single units for individual orders. In the past it would be unthinkable (not to mention impossible), soon it will become a standard.
Another example. Why Apple created the iPhone and replaced iPod with it? At first, it doesn’t make any sense – the company had a golden goose and decided to kill it off. It was for a reason. Steve Jobs knew that sooner or later competition will create a similar product that will take away the market from the iPod. He decided to cannibalize his own product and create something new that will take over the market. Because everything “stayed in the family”, the competition was left in the cold once again.
This is what authenticity really means. Sticking to your own DNA and consequence in following the road once taken. Both examples shown above do that by taking the innovation path.
Promoting a brand on the internet and authenticity
Many managers ask themselves how to promote a brand on the internet forgetting that promotion means not only digital but also offline. Consistent actions and uniform image are key. A contact that is close, vibrant and real-time – these are the needs of today’s consumers. The younger the customer, the more real these needs are. We are coming back to Generation Z here. Sure, this is important but the problem is not limited to this generation alone, a lot of people expect these things. They want to ask about something, dispel doubts. They need assistance when buying a product because they can’t decide on a specific model.
How to promote a brand on the internet? I would rather ask how to create mutually working, complementary systems of sales and communications – both online and offline. The customer has to have the same experience in real life and in digital channels. These are called touchpoints – all places and situations when the customer meets your brand and its product, also marketing messaging.
To effectively utilize them, you need:
- clearly defined company culture. Company culture not only supports sales processes but it defines them. If an employee won’t know how to behave in any given situation he or she will take a look at the culture and make a snap decision. It’s an incredible market advantage.
- brand book and key visuals. This will help to differentiate your brand from others. In an instance.
- a slogan, a tagline. Something that a customer will remember and make a connection between a catchy phrase and your brand.
Touchpoints, content, and video marketing materials
Let’s remember that almost every opportunity is good for making a sale but don’t use touchpoints on 100% certain occasions to turn a situation into a sale. Touchpoints are made for selling products but some of them are other dominant functions and value – they build and strengthen relationships with a consumer. Lack of sales, or even more, forced sales, turn out to be good and is a marker for authenticity. In the eye of the consumer, a company exists to serve solutions not to sell at all costs.
This is what effective branding and company culture are for. When it comes to promoting a brand on the internet, especially through social media, we have three important elements:
- a video content
- a short format
- specified, very concrete value
Social media are mainly based on images. Throwing video to every post is not optimal as well but if you can do it, do it. Don’t produce movies that run for fifteen minutes, even a few minutes. Sometimes even seconds are enough to form a good and interesting message. Dynamic, bringing attention to the product. The third element is value – saying what the customer will get out of it is crucial. It can be publication date, information about the competition, information about changes in production process or reduction of plastic by a half. Anything that will put value in relations with a customer. See how Marvel produces its movies, informing people about new comic books on Instagram. A short movie with covers gets the work done and shows what people can search for in a Marvel Unlimited subscription service or in retail, on physical shelves.
How to promote a brand? Through a holistic approach
Authenticity in communications should go simultaneously, on two tracks: online and offline. As always, content is a king but it needs a strategy to be effective. Plus, the right SEO and design. To top it all off, a marketing strategy, that will involve touchpoints.
But what is the most important in all this is that online presence has to be complementary to what a consumer can find in other channels; like on a good, classic retail shelf. If you need help in these aspects, contact me. I can help you with creating company culture (run workshops), train your in-house marketing specialists, create a social media strategy and content for your webpage, blog included.