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Improving your brand image, Part III

Social media crises are clearly on the rise.

Coordinating your brand’s message across internet platforms

Branding in the Internet Age no longer follows the dynamic of one-way business to customer marketing the way it did in the 20th century. The brands that advertised the most used to win. In some cases, the positive effects of that old strategy have been long-lasting, e.g., Coke. By contrast, in our now well-established digital media culture, customers provide continual feedback about their experience with products and services – the tenor of which either strengthens or undermines a brand’s credibility and ROI.

User experience design (UX / UXD / EUD) defines digital media

UX is the process of building customer satisfaction and brand loyalty by improving all aspects of the user interface with a product or service. This encompasses a website’s design, written content, navigation, ease of purchasing process, and product information. All supporting social media need to stay on message. This includes across-the-board consistency of written content as well as simple design elements – down to details like font style and page format parameters.
Some consumer product brands will adopt an informal, even humorous tone that slyly communicates competitive dominance. Financial and legal enterprises, by comparison, need to create a more conservative, yet friendly message focusing on superior customer service. Finally, those in the non-profit sector, or who represent a business that has had bad press, as with BP after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster – may want to pitch their dedication to broader community/social causes.

Essential branding strategies

To ensure positive outcomes, everyone on your staff needs to understand and support your brand’s underpinning values and style. Again, create a ‘voice’ that clearly and consistently communicates who you are across all media, ranging from how your employees answer the phones to incorporating your logo onto all your email and stationery.

Ask yourself the following:
  • What independent social platforms are your customers using? What, specifically, are they saying about your brand, products, and service? First check standard customer platforms like FB, Twitter, and Instagram. Don’t neglect less widely known sites like Medium, Chirpify, and Snapchat. Solicit feedback, share helpful information and discounts / special deals – or anything else that might motivate your target demographic to consider doing business with you.
  • Are there influential bloggers or consumer advocates that you might benefit from reaching out to? Why? Brands need a social media strategy for un-owned and earned channels, not just social channels over which your company has control (e.g., your website).
  • How quickly can you create and post brand-related content? Social media crises are clearly on the rise. Do you have processes in place to identify, acknowledge and counter negative events/comments on social media – including routine critical customer feedback?

Above all, research and consistently affirm your customers’ social identity and lifestyle. With ‘values-based’ brand messaging, you can then equate your products/services with those shared interests. This, in turn, can forge the kind of long-term customer loyalty that helps you build your long-term market share.

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