What can take your brand from good to great? Brand evangelism. How can you get there? With your brand communications strategy. Don’t have one in place? Keep reading.
Often, even the best marketers let their communications strategy fall by the wayside and instead focus most of their time and attention on their content strategy. While a solid content strategy is absolutely integral to any campaign, it will not succeed without a solid brand communications strategy to support it.
In today’s market, your consumers are overstimulated, social platforms are oversaturated, and everyone is just, well, over it. To get your message through, you often need to have it come from your consumers. Stop marketing at your audience, and start marketing with your audience. To achieve this, and create those ever-so-important brand evangelists, you need to craft a brand communications strategy that will effectively engage, support, and win over your target audience. Pretty soon, if you do it right, they’ll be creating the content for you and then you can repurpose it into your brand’s content strategy. Not to mention, other potential customers care much more about what their peers have to say about your brand than about what you, the marketer, has to say.
It all sounds pretty great, right? I won’t keep you waiting any longer.
Here are 4 key elements that should make up your brand communications strategy and some do’s and don’ts to get you on the path to brand evangelism in no time:
1. Who are you?
First, figure out who your brand is. Who do you want to be? How do you want others to perceive you? Where do you stand compared to competitors? What makes you, you? These are tough questions, but they are important to get to the bottom of. If your brand has an identity crisis and is trying to be too many things to too many people, consumers can tell and it ultimately won’t be sustainable. Figure out your voice and positioning and, most importantly, your mission statement and what you have to offer. Once you have this defined, it will be much easier to move forward creating your brand communications strategy, since you’ll know how you should be communicating and what you want to achieve.
Don’t: Be a Jack of all trades and master or none
Do: Stay true to your vision
Don’t: Just do what others are doing in the industry
2. Build Buyer Personas
I know, I know, you’re gagging, right? How many other blog articles have you read lately about buyer personas and how important they are? (A TON). But, that’s okay, because it’s important to your communications strategy so I have to include it. I’m sure you’ve built buyer personas by now, and if you haven’t, your content AND communications strategies are already doomed from the start. The key here is to build your buyer personas in a way that takes a more human approach. It’s not enough to have some abstract idea of who they may be and what they may care about. To be effective, you need to do the heavy lifting and dive more into their behaviors. What are their watering holes? How do they prefer to be communicated with? What are their true pain points and how can your brand effectively solve them? And, it doesn’t stop there. Consider what happens after they become a customer. Do you forget about them? Perhaps you should consider creating customer-based personas as well, because that’s when the evangelism really kicks in. These are going to be the people who advocate for you in the marketplace and they’re going to be the ones that give you an edge over the competition. And, light bulb, maybe just interview some of your best customers and get it straight from them? No more guessing games.
Don’t: Forget about the people (your customers) that got your brand where it is today
Don’t: Cut corners during persona research
Do: Continue updating and refining details for personas
3. Connect Your Content Strategy
This is one of those chicken-or-egg scenarios; do you create your content strategy first, or your communications strategy first? They really go hand in hand together, as your content strategy is what you will be executing with your communications strategy. To better connect with your target audience, it is absolutely essential to have an understanding of how best to communicate with them and who they are before you begin your content strategy. The key is to absolutely connect your content strategy to your communications strategy for a highly targeted and effective approach. Obviously, you want to build content that will be highly relevant for your audience. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that you should have a healthy mix of content in your strategy. It’s not ALL about your brand, and your personas don’t want to see that. Be sure to share relevant content from other resources as well! Share anything that helps your audience; don’t just worry about making the sale. And, those content pieces that prove to be the most relevant and best-performing? Be sure to repurpose them in your content strategy in different ways; turn that eBook into a webinar or create an infographic based off one of the popular sub-topics of that eBook. And, always integrate consumer-generated content into your strategy as well. A lot of your target audience is already doing the legwork for you; time to take advantage of it!
Do: Share content other than your own
Do: Provide relevant, targeted content
Do: Leverage consumer-generated content
Do: Repurpose popular content
Don’t: Take a strictly sales-based approach to your content
Don’t: Get caught up in just creating high volumes of content that you break away from your funnel and personas
4. Amplification through Targeted Channels
Okay, so you have your personas, and you have your content strategy. Now how are you going to get it out there? Amplification through targeted channels is the key component to your communications strategy. You need to consider what channels you will be leveraging (whether those are social media platforms, email, your website, press releases, etc.) and what content should be shared through each. Remember; not every piece of content is meant for every channel. Some pieces of content and messaging are better suited for some channels over others. That’s why it’s important to create a strategy for it and, always, go back to your personas and how they use these channels so you can reach them effectively. Again, it’s important to take an extremely targeted approach; by following each persona’s funnel and pushing out through the appropriate targeted channels with amplification, you will be much more successful with your communication.
Do: Be engaging and start a conversation. Talk with (not AT) your audience on social media and other channels.
Don’t: Be robotic. People don’t want to feel like they’re talking to a computer or a giant corporation that doesn’t care.
Don’t: Focus on quantity over quality. It can be tempting to just push out anything and everything through your channels (especially when it comes to social), but don’t.
Do: Pick and choose which channels you leverage. Don’t be tempted to be on EVERYTHING. Instead, share content on only the most important ones, and focus on doing it right.
Do: Be helpful and always keep in mind your brand’s purpose.
Do: Be human. Show your personality. Be authentic.
Got it? Good. It’s time to get out there and start building your brand evangelists. And, if you’re still feeling a little unsure of the best way to engage with your target audience on social, check out our “Key Components For a Successful Social Media Campaign” guide below. It will really help to fill in some missing pieces for you when you’re building your brand communications strategy.