The face of a company – also referred to as the brand – represents its identity, its uniqueness and distinguishes it from the competition.
Multiple ways exist for consumers to search for offers, find & purchase products on all of their devices and more and
more shopping experiences combine physical and digital channels i.e. people order products online (desktop or mobile) and pick them up at the store (“click & collect”). With the rise of Multichannel and multidevice consumption, companies need to address (potential) customers everywhere – wether it is in brick and mortar shops, on the company’s website, social media or via mobile apps – and t
hey need to build a consistent brand throughout all of these channels.
Building a strong brand has always been the main challenge of Marketing. Of course, these new channels and behaviours are great opportunities to gain publicity through, but their multitude also represent a high risk of inconsistency that can influence the Marketing message and the brand image: the more channels marketers communicate on, the more enclined they are to deliver different messages within their communication and campaigns.
How to communicate on several channels without the brand getting lost or alterated by the channels’ multiplicity?
Channels should not be treated separately when it comes to the Marketing strategy. Certainly, each channel is individual, and varies according to the targeted country and audience, but campaigns should not merely be duplicated in a “copy and paste” manner and then transfered onto the destined channels. Instead, the message needs to be adapted to the appropriate context of each channel. The essence lies in creating one message, like several bricks that are closely tied together, forming a unique and steady wall – the brand. One of the keys here is to offer a seamless brand experience on all channels, wether it is print, online, TV or a mobile app.
Since consumers compare companies’ offers across all channels, their experiences here will heavily influence their purchase decisions. If the information they find is missing, incomplete or inconsistent, the company’s image (and later on sales as well) can seriously be damaged. Consequently, companies need to ensure high data quality in order to prevent consumers from choosing the competitor, who offers more exhaustive, consistent and reliable product information.
To enforce a company’s unique brand image, brand recognition also plays a crucial role since it drives brand loyalty. It perceives high recognition based on synchronized and consistent offers that naturally add a certain value to it. Here, positive brand associations are made, which tie a consumer closer to the brand because he or she trusts its value.
Further steps to a unique brand image entail the establishment of brand guidelines, through which a coherent corporate design is created. This will guide the company’s entire organization in the same direction, since all relevant departments align their objectives, as this synchronizes and harmonizes the company’s resources conceptualizing the offer.
Furthermore, it essentially helps to build a brand by developing a roadmap detailing the journey to reach the target group(s) of choice. This will significantly be of assistance when defining the brand positioning in order to communicate the same message, the same corporate design and tone across all marketing channels. Companies need to start right at the source of the offer by making the effort to create a unique and consistent source of information originating from multiple sources. With this in place, they are creating centralized data which is clean and accurate and will then automatically be integrated into all marketing offers and campaigns. In the process, a positive brand image across all communication channels evolves based on unique and coherent offers.
Managing all of this data – from initial idea to the realization of the campaign – will accumulate a large amount of data, requiring a comprehensive and intuitive solution. According to The DRUM, working with a data centralizing solution increases the brand consistency by 30% based on the time companies save in engaging in tedious, time-consuming maintenance task, since these are eliminated through automation, leaving time to focus on brand building. Nevertheless, each Marketing campaign will need a certain touch of personalization, limitating a 100% automation, as noted by Small Business Computing. Additionally, the storage and location of data are best kept within a web-based data solution, so that the information is accessible from anywhere and at any time.
Especially a comprehensive solution will be essential: according to Venturebeat, “vendors with the most open and flexible platforms will dominate the market.” A data management solution facilitates the management of cross-channel campaigns because it becomes easier to duplicate offers and campaigns across all channels and remain high coherency levels.
Finally, the establishment of a company’s unique brand won’t happen over night, it takes time and lots of dedication to create a sustainable brand image.