Over the last few years we’ve seen some major missteps by large corporations. Facebook fell all over itself apologizing for Russian ads aimed at American voters. Wells Fargo found itself in hot water for allegedly overcharging minority homeowners for mortgage services. Uber got into trouble for, well, pretty much being Uber.
1) Avoid saying “I’m sorry.”
An apology campaign is a brand manager’s nightmare, and something to be avoided at all costs. Many an apology can be avoided simply by sincerely listening to customers and their concerns in a timely manner.
2) Keep your branding consistent
Consistently applied brand guidelines can also prevent mistakes from spiraling out of control and necessitating an apology campaign. Cinnabon’s disastrous “tribute” to the deceased Carrie Fisher, for instance, is a fine example of when a brand gets completely mangled en route to the public.
3) Keep up with tech
A good brand manager stays at the forefront of technology, embracing change as it comes. They’re ahead of the pack, willing to experiment and try new tools for their tech stack, all while defending the integrity of their brand’s core message.
4) Go global with your brand
Your brand can travel through many different hands as it makes its way to your target audience. If any of those hands used poor-quality images, makes unauthorized changes to logos, or otherwise violates your brand guidelines, the message your audience receives may not match the one you wanted to send. Think of off brand messages like a children’s game of telephone gone horribly wrong.
Consistent brand marketing becomes even more challenging if you have a remote workforce. An uninformed office on the other side of the world can do irreparable damage to your brand by altering assets without proper guidelines.
Dynamic content platforms like Brand Connect centralize your approved content and brand guidelines. You gain control over who has the authority to download, use, and modify brand assets, ensuring your brand handlers deliver the right message, using the right strategies.
5) Internal Collaboration is Key
Your core branding message needs to permeate your entire organization – not just the brand management department. Whether they’re dealing with customers, suppliers, shareholders or prospective partners, everyone in the company needs to present the same brand message. A central dynamic brand portal helps to keep your message consistent, but you also need to know employees are communicating correct branding in face-to-face interactions. Using a brand portal that is easy for all employees to access ensures that your brand message is being communicated correctly by all stakeholders.
6) Tell the Truth
Fake news – or the fear of it – has become part of the cultural landscape, with an inevitable blowback on advertising and marketing. Already made suspicious by the whole fake news fiasco, consumers now look at branding efforts with critical eyes, seeking any evidence your message might be insincere or misleading.
The solution? Ensure your core branding reflects your product or service in a truthful, accurate and authentic way. Be sure you’re willing to commit to any claims or promises your brand makes.
7) Gain Authentic Influencers
Influencers are becoming increasing important to brand management; especially as fake news makes consumers wary of corporate messages.
An influencer is someone your target market trusts more than you. Influencers such as bloggers, radio and television personalities are seen as impartial judges of you brand, and therefore less biased and more trustworthy. Marketers call this the third-person effect, and it’s one of the most important branding trends of 2018.
Building relationships with influencers requires a light touch. Communicating with them through social media, webinars, and live events helps you sell influencers on your core branding message, but you need to respect and encourage their impartiality. Any sign you’re trying to influence their opinions makes influencers lose credibility.
8) Keep up with Social Media
Social media is a walk in the park for brand managers, if the park’s landscape changed every few minutes and some of the nicer parts of the park were infested with trolls.
It’s easy to lose control of your brand on social media, either due to the actions of third parties or sudden changes to the social network’s algorithms. When Twitter announced it would no longer display tweets chronologically, for instance, some brands disappeared from their audience’s feeds. Providing partners and influencers with clear brand guidelines and access to authorized assets through social tools like Hootsuite helps you keep up with the speed of social and keep your message on brand.
Ready to modernize your brand? check out Brand Management in the Digital Era for an in-depth look at steps you can make to keep your brand consistent, engaging, and under your control.