“Engage, Enlighten, Encourage and especially…just be yourself! Social media is a community effort, everyone is an asset.”
-Susan Cooper, Social Media Enthusiast and Strategist
DO YOU HAVE INTERACTIVE BRANDING CAMPAIGNS?
So you are building or reforming your branding campaign? Have you decided on some boundaries, some sort of principle, that you should you use as you map it out and work to spread your company with the world? I might be able to help. Let’s start with the fact that today’s market requires companies to have interactive branding campaigns. Take a second and consider how you have built your marketing and branding campaigns to be interactive. Where do you expect to connect with your customers? Is there a two party conversation going on anywhere? Are you fostering those conversations? If not, you need to work on a strategy that desires and creates interactions and really speaks (and listens) to your customers. So how can that work in your business?
Two words: Reflective Interaction
But what does that mean?
At the core of branding with “Reflective” interaction is the fact that you view your overall company as an “entity”. Your company image has to be consistent in consumers’ eyes in order to build brand loyalty. When you are branding you are actually looking to tell your story in such a way that customers identify with you, or understand you, as a real trustworthy person, not a faceless and lifeless company. Your company has to become a person in your customers’ eyes. For this to be successful you will need to oversee and direct your teams so that each individual in your company represents your brand, your company’s image, in some way. How they interact individually (personally) with each customer says something about the brand, good or bad, so you want to make sure you are consistently presenting the proper image. Let’s be clear about something though: I am NOT saying you want to limit the individuality or wipe out the diversity found in each unique person in your company(that’s a whole different blog altogether). I am saying that there should be something consistent about the experience and interactions that is held and reflected by every person in your company. That same principle should carry over to your marketing. This includes your social media campaigns. They need to be consistent in their reflection of your company. An interactive branding campaign invites customers to see your business as a person and then to interact with it. Social media is one of the best tools in your tool belt for creating interactions.
3 KEYS TO SOCIAL MEDIA SUCCESS
Here are three quick ways, or keys, to equip your social media strategy to succeed through reflective interaction.
- Train your team to interact: Make sure your team is focused on the interaction aspect of social networking and not just sharing information. The goal is to get people to interact by commenting, liking, and sharing.
- Write all of your content to interact: When you create your tv or radio ads, make sure they point to a discussion of some sort on your social media and/or in-store. The goal of the advertisement and branding campaign is to get people to see your company as a person or entity (shout out to Mitt Romney aka Mr. Corporations are people too). The more they have positive interactions with you, the more likely you are to build brand loyalty and the spillover can be crucial to growing exposure and sales for multiple product lines.
- Dedicate time, resources, and talent to your social media lines: I know budgets and skills can be tight. This particular rule of thumb is to do as much as you can within reason. Some business owners will set aside specific time to reply personally. Others will hire and dedicate a team to social media. Still others might outsource it. However you choose to integrate social media, be aware that your interactions (or lack thereof) say something about you as a brand. If speed is your thing, your social media interactions should reflect that. If knowledge or expertise is your thing, make sure your content and team reflect that. Think of each social media interaction as a mini-you, a representative, who illuminates what you stand for and how you operate. Consistency is key and should be reflected in your time, resources, and talent.
INTERACTIVE BRANDING CAMPAIGNS
EXAMPLE OF A “REFLECTIVE INTERACTION” BRANDING CAMPAIGN
Building an interactive branding campaign can seem complicated. Reflective interaction can help simplify the way you view branding. At the same time, I know that it doesn’t tell you how to build a campaign. An example might be helpful to put those three steps in perspective.
SAMPLE COMPANY: 70’s Niche Apparel and Decor Retail Store
Let’s say you own a retail store that sells very particular niche clothing to college kids. For the sake of this blog we will say its 70s era or similar apparel. You have the bell bottoms. Vintage is your thing. The store is full of clothes and home décor with flowers and peace signs. The radio is playing Styx and the Bee Gees in the store. Even the customers are dressed in 70s apparel from their shades (did they call sunglasses that in the 70s) to their favorite band belt buckle, to their platforms—the whole 9. You decide to mix your marketing campaign up with some tv ads, a newspaper ad, and some social media content. How do you link them all to experience? The goal is to create a new customer base and you are banking on some awesome pants that you got a great deal on.
The newspaper ad is going to need to draw out a visual of who you are so you post a great picture with an ad that shows a bunch of adventurous and happy people, just like those in your store, celebrating a cross-country trip. Maybe they are taking a group selfie on the side of a bridge with the Golden gate bridge in the background. The ad reads “There’s nothing quite like a road trip with your best friends. The sights, the sounds, the scenes, the laughs….those pants. You remember them don’t you?” In a corner of the ad you point out that jeans like the ones in the picture are on sale and list the price by their picture. At the bottom you write something like, “We all have our college trip stories. Come by and tell us yours. And let us get you equipped with the right pants for the ride. Give a coupon code for in-store and/or online and link to your facebook and social media sites.
Use the same group from the photoshoot and incorporate the same conversations. You will likely have rolling footage of the road trip with frequent laughs and some 70s era music playing in the background. At some point it will show the pants and announce the pricing. Close by building up the interaction. Maybe the whole commercial tells one of your roadtrip stories and asks the viewer about theirs. Then it says, “don’t you think it’s about time to make your own story?” BOOM. Then lead into the invitation to come in and save on the clothes they need for the ride. Drop your twitter handle or facebook page and tell them to go like you for additional savings and sales.
Social media will tie it all together. You can personalize messages with your tv and newspaper ad in them. You might ask, “What did you think about our ad in today’s paper?” with a link to the online format. Interact accordingly. You might throw a link to your tv ad from your youtube channel and ask, “You’ve heard our story, what about yours? Share your road trip stories with us for a chance to win a free pair of …..” Again, interact accordingly. Use the lingo. Build the persona. Make your brand real to the reader.
So you probably get the idea. Feel free to adjust as it best suits you. If you want to share your stories or success, shoot me an @ on twitter.com. My twitter handle is @iammikestrong.
For more on Branding, check out our blog series: