There is no disputing the fact that consumer expectations and demands have forever morphed the way in which businesses consider and strategize around brand awareness and corporate identity. After all, just consider the following statistics related to the consumer lifecycle:
These statistics kicked off a riveting discussion about brand strategy and marketing campaigns during an ITEXPO East 2014 session titled “You Should Hear How She Talks about You: What’s in a brand Reputation,” featuring panelists Richard Williams, president of Connect2 Communications, and Kathleen Reed, Director of Marketing Sangoma.
“The challenge has become between brand identity and brand knowledge,” Williams explained to a packed room. “Brand identity is what you want your brand to stand for and brand knowledge is what the outside person understands your brand to be. You want to believe that everything you tell your audience resonates and is understood but the reality is that only a third or half is.”
The panelists discussed the definition of the phrase “brand” and who within the organization owns that term, noting that the phrase has come to mean a lot more than just your image, logo and value proposition.
“It’s everything you are,” contended Reed. “It’s your identity; it’s important that every aspect of your organization understands who you are and that the message is cohesive. It’s important to understand that the brand is increasingly becoming owned by the customer.”
As such, it is becoming exceedingly important for brands to understand the evolving definition of the customer. After all, the customer is no longer just the person who you are hopping buys your product. Conversely, it is the person who can influence action and evangelize on behalf of your brand.
With the customer becoming more and more integral in brand strategy and corporate identity, companies are going to great lengths to make sure best practices are in place for brand management and customer expectations. And it all starts with making sure that everyone at your company is on the same page about your central messaging.
One technique that Connect2 Communications employs is asking different company stakeholders to assemble in a boardroom. The first thing Connect2 Communications asks its client to do is to write on the board a few words that describe what customers are looking for when they buy the client’s products. The second step is for the client to write down three words they feel best describe their company.
“The words never match up,” Williams said. “They all have individualized visions of what will move the company forward.”
But in order for those words to match, everyone in your company needs to be in synch with the key phrases and ideologies surrounding the brand and to make sure that those philosophies reflect the sentiments of consumers as well.
“Anyone who wears the badge for your company has to understand the message,” Williams concluded. “They are not the steward—as that’s the marketing department—but they still need to be a brand advisor.”
The Customer Interaction Solutions Track is just kicking off today. Be sure to check back at ContactCenterSolutions for more news from the exciting panel discussions as the day unfolds!