Branding Clarity: In-Person and Online
April 17, 2019
RECAP OF A BRAND
Depending on where you look or who you ask, branding denotes different impressions. It can translate to a high-profile lifestyle on Instagram, it can mean dedication to prominent clothing lines. Often it is synonymous with loyalty. What it should always conjure is a cohesive image across every platform.
We seek to become brand ambassadors, while we tell friends and family and our online followers about an excellent brand encounter. Whether we experienced it personally or just saw something well crafted.
Nonetheless, today we’re talking about the disconnect if they weren’t the same.
Branding provides clarity where otherwise there would be mixed messages. An appropriate analogy of the severity of necessary articulation is online dating. Call it catfishing if you want, but when you put your best foot forward – or someone else’s, by using a picture from an unknown subject – there is an instant disconnect from the online profile to the anticipated presence when or if you at last meet.
Now that you are thinking of your brand on a more H2H (Human 2 Human) spectrum, you can start thinking of the repercussions when they don’t align. Here are a few pitfall companies miss out when they look good online but fail to show up without the same devotion.
While social media is less candid than ever and fuller of crafted content for marketing purposes, regardless of the platform, it’s still all about linking people based on similar interests and needs. Every post that gets uploaded is intended to sell an emotional connection; not just a transactional sale. That connection needs to lead to both a website and onsite experience that is a direct reflection of the emotion and culture you are selling. If you post half-day Fridays, then should someone show up at your company on a Friday afternoon it would be duplicitous for an employee to be present.
If your social media feed features positive quotes, smiling staff, and laidback culture, that cool, calm, uplifting atmosphere should be forefront as soon as employees, consumers, and clients enter. Instead of thinking your in-person presence should match your online presence, match your online presence to your in-person appearance. That guarantees the most organic results, and when you upgrade your process, they’ll naturally reflect on every level of your brand.
A rebrand often starts with a new logo. Unfortunately, in many instances, other assets of a rebrand aren’t updated at the same time. Therefore, the consistency doesn’t appear throughout all your marketing and branding collateral and signage. This could be an old business card featuring an even older phone number or address. Several variations of logos throughout the years on different materials. Out with the old, in with the new everywhere.
If you promise your clients more, then make sure you give them more. 5% more means 5% more, not 4.5%. Is your invitation gold, but your event lackluster? More is as simple as follow through. Not overpromising. Never commit to something internal, external, online or person, that you have the slightest doubt you’ll be able to follow through on. It could be a Grand Opening or a sale. Building trust with a client can sometimes take a small gesture. But on the same token, a lack of effort, miscommunication, a poor 30-second experience can break that trust indefinitely. If ever consistent branding will occur, this is where and how. A client who has a positive or negative experience will talk about it in person and online.
Billboards, vehicle wraps, commercials, expositions, sponsorships; when your clients see these will the link back to your website, and brick and mortar be consistent? Are you confident that your brand story has a solid beginning, middle and end? Hook, line, and sinker. Most importantly, make sure that the story is original, so it’s not confused with another company who offers similar products and services.
This is the most important but one of the hardest to control. Are your employees on board? Are they aware of your mission, company history, future goals, and objectives? When you hire a team it’s pivotal you hire skilled people who have a passion for working and for representing your company. While the message doesn’t have to be a robotic, scripted response, if one of your clients asked each team member the same question, it’s vital that in everyone’s answer the same substance is implied. Let your employees be themselves but have them aware of the inside and outside goings-on. An integral and forefront component of the brand are the people. And often without them even saying anything, they are sending a message.
Remember, think of all the things in life that don’t add up. When autotuned is turned off, and the singer doesn’t sound quite as good that’s how branding is when you peel back the layers of just a branded online presence. If you click on directions and show up to a haunted house after you were promised a renovated B&B, will your business thrive as anything more than a parody?
Erratic branding is like wearing your glasses online and taking them off when you walk into a brick and mortar. It’s the worst business practices but something we at Cross & Crown can help by educating and advocating our you, our clients, so you can thrive in a digital world.