10 Brand Tactics For Your 2014 Marketing Plans

Brands Deliver Bottom Line Value [Chart]

Global Brands In Peru-Heidi_Cohen-October_2013Branding positions your offering in your customer’s mind. A strong brand is simultaneously unique, relevant and consistently used. This is more than just empty marketing-speak. It’s an important success factor that delivers real value to your business’s bottom line.

The total value of the BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands grew 7% to $2.6 trillion in 2013,and 77% since 2006, according to Millward Brown. This includes overcoming setbacks experienced during the recent recession. The fastest growing brand markets were China, Russia, India and Africa.

Over the past 8 years, this portfolio of public companies’ brands increased 58%, more than twice the improvement of the S&P 500’s market value of 23% during that same period. (Chart)BrandZ Portfolio Outperforms SandP500-Bloomberg

10 Brand tactics for your 2014 marketing plans

  1. Understand technology is an integral part of our lives. Regardless of where your audience is physically, what type of device they use or when they choose to seek your content, they expect your brand to be present and contextually relevant. Actionable Brand Tactic: Provide useful, relevant branded information that prospects need at every step of the purchase process.
  2. Recognize that personal and professional differences are blurring. Jay Baer highlights the point that how people use devices, social media platforms and information in their personal lives informs their professional activities. Actionable Brand Tactic: Remember your customers (even if you’re a B2B organization) are real people. Big data just helps you reach them more effectively.
  3. Be contextually relevant to your target audience. Physical location matters less when prospects can access your content and that of your competitors on their terms. Therefore, your brands must be available when and where potential customers want to reach you in real life, online or on social media. Actionable Brand Tactic: Deliver the information your audience is seeking. Further, be prepared to respond to consumers’ evolving needs and concerns.
  4. Provide more value than prospects and customers expect. Know that your customers use a broad array of brands and trade up and trade down to meet their personal product needs and budget constraints. Actionable Brand Tactic: Anticipate environmental, technological and marketplace changes. Provide your target audience with the products they need before they realize that they need them.
  5. Present prospects and customers with a clear brand value proposition. Being a me-too brand doesn’t distinguish you in a crowded marketplace. Actionable Brand Tactic: Clearly distinguish your brand by being premium or value priced.
  6. Offer a consistent brand experience across platforms. Your brand must be available and the same where, when and how prospects choose to interact with you. Actionable Brand Tactic: Provide a 360° brand experience including your employees. Benchmark your brand against the top global brands, not just those in your category.
  7. Provide the information prospects and customers want and seek. Use your internal customer data to target appropriate content your audience wants, when, where and how they want the information. Actionable Brand Tactic: Offer products that solve multiple customer needs at the same time. In the process, meet consumers’ increasing expectations for better products and service.
  8. Encourage relationships and engagement with your target audience. Understand that your target audience is probably more sophisticated and knowledgeable about your brand, competitors and near substitutes than you think. Realize that the zero moment of truth (ZMOT) occurs before you’re aware that a prospect is in the market. Actionable Brand Tactic: Continue to invest in your brand.
  9. Build corporate credibility and reputation. This is a critical element of consumer trust. Millward Brown cites the focus on corporate umbrella brands over smaller, targeted brands. Actionable Brand Tactic: Be transparent in your customer interactions. To this end, stand for something greater than your specific offering by striving for higher ideals that help meet your customers’ aspirations.
  10. Be present in high growth markets. To be a global brand, you can’t ignore emerging markets or you’ll hurt your current valuation and future revenue potential. Actionable Brand Tactic: Pay attention to the high growth market dynamics by establishing a presence that’s differentiated and relevant to local marketplaces.

Brands matter to your audience and your bottom line. In today’s contextually relevant world, your audience must be able to recognize your brand regardless of where, when and how it appears. Specifically this means how your brand appears in the context of your audience’s location, device, platform and content.

What other branding tips would you add to this list and why?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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Photo Credit: Global brands in Peru – (c) 2013 Heidi Cohen – Image use granted if linked to this article.

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