Annie Hall reveals her top tips to turn your brand strategy into effective campaigns
Annie Hall reveals her top tips to turn brand strategy into effective campaigns
As a strategic agency, we work with clients to support their marketing in various ways; from brand planning and concept ideation, to advertising and activation, right through to understanding performance. However, we’ve noticed that a regular stumbling block occurs whenever it’s time to take the leap from strategy into effective campaigns. The brand has been deconstructed and rebuilt with the most critical audience personas in mind, resulting in a beautifully effective brand line that elegantly summarises the value proposition. And the newly designed website is live and waiting patiently half way down Google search results, just begging to be found. Now what? ‘Activation paralysis’ – no one knows how to activate the brand.
brand is central
The best way to overcome activation paralysis is to start thinking in
commercial terms. Marketing departments have long been under pressure to up their game and demonstrate ROI and business value in every decision. Chris Daly of the CIM argues “marketing now has a wider definition… It’s about representing the customer’s voice within the business and anticipating and satisfying their requirements.” The true value of brand strategy lies in how it’s applied to meet both short-term commercial goals and long-term business objectives. Ask yourself: how can we take this brand to market with a conversation that demonstrates we are satisfying the needs of our most important prospects?
So many brands make the mistake of thinking collateral-first, instead of customer or even content-first. The goal with any marketing campaign is to create a conversation, not to create another e-shot. Content must be fit for purpose. Consider a potential customer’s journey, from the moment they become aware of the need your brand fulfils, right through to the experience after purchase. How do they feel? What information are they looking for? Where are they looking? What alternatives might they encounter?
Focus on experience
The digital marketplace, the information age, the ad-savvy consumer, marketing to millennials – they’re all topics born from the fact that customers simply have more choice on what, when and how they buy a product, as well as who they buy from. The reality this creates, is a need for data. Ensuring your communications are relevant and personal requires a certain level of insight and information about your customers. Personal data is something customers are becoming more reluctant to share so be useful or at least be interesting and make data collection part of the goal – not just sales.
Setting appropriate performance metrics for your campaigns is critical. Is it getting the brand seen and heard in the right places? Is this activity generating leads and/ or enquiries? It is presenting us with more reasons to talk to our audience? Do we understand our audience better as a result? It’s important to expect some degree of trial and error. Learning what works and what doesn’t is key to improving marketing strategy. Answering yes to as many of these questions as possible is likely to be a great start.
Plan your route
Campaigns will fall at the first hurdle if your brand messages aren’t published in the right channels. Intelligent distribution is as important as creating the right content. But you don’t need to invest in expensive or unfamiliar digital platforms just because they feel innovative. Again, distribution strategy should be customer and content-first. Select channels based on where your audience will be most receptive to information and consider a balance of budget and engaging content formats.
Qualify and nurture
Finally, lead generation is one of the most direct ways in which marketing can demonstrate sales support and measurable contribution to commercial pipelines. However, scoring, qualifying and nurturing leads are often afterthoughts. Even FMCG brands with short sale cycles need to invest in building long-term relationships. Investing time in nurture mapping, as part of campaign planning, gives the opportunity to explore how intelligent lead scoring can be applied or improved to ensure the marketing content effectively qualifies leads at each touch-point of a customer’s journey. This ensures that valuable time is only invested by the sales team when a prospect is ready to buy.